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Given all the area’s natural beauty, it’s not hard to find great free things to do in Tahoe and Yosemite. While you’re there, don’t miss the opportunity to take advantage of these five attractions:
1. Hike the abundant trails that crisscross the region. Some of the Pacific Northwest’s most stunning scenery and enjoyable ambles are here, and you’d be sorry to miss the opportunity to see it.
2. Check out the waterfalls. If you’re in Yosemite in spring or summer, also don’t conclude your visit without seeing the park’s legendary waterfalls, which are at their most stunning during these seasons.
3. Drive through the breathtaking Tioga Pass, which winds across some of the Sierra Nevada’s most unbelievable geographic areas. This historic path through the mountains isn’t open all year, though, so be sure to check the Yosemite park website to make sure before you decide to tackle the drive.
4. Hop on a shuttle. Take any of the free national park shuttles around Yosemite or Lake Tahoe. You’ll have the chance to see bears, deer and a host of other park wildlife from the comfort of the roomy, temperature-controlled shuttles, and they’ll chauffer you to tons of gorgeous locations in the area, from Tahoe’s gold-sand beach to Yosemite’s legendary Bridal Veil Falls.
5. Visit the Tallac Historic Site. If you’ve ever wanted to know what being a character in The Great Gatsby would really be like, do make sure and visit the Tallac Historic Site, which is home to three enormous estates dating from the early 1900s through 1920s. The mansions, built with casino money, still feel as swank as they did a century ago, and just being there makes you want a sidecar and some spats.
Here are five great things to do for free near Château du Sureau in Tahoe and Yosemite:
1. Hike the Lewis Creek Trail to the small settlement of Sugar Pine. Approximately a 15-minute drive from Château du Sureau on Route 41, the hike itself will take two to three hours, depending on your constitution.
2. Drive to Shaver Lake to enjoy a swim in its crystal clear waters, and then explore the small town (approximately a two-hour drive each way).
3. Tour the Blossom Trail in the spring. All the fruit plantations near Fresno are in full bloom, so you will be able to drive almost a whole day through acres of blossoms in different colors.
4. Drive the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway, which meanders through an area of massive granite domes, majestic peaks and sheer canyon walls formed by the San Joaquin River with high mountain meadows (the length 82.7 miles; please allow five to six hours for this drive).
5. Evidence of glaciation is present at sites along the Byway at Arch Rock, Jackass Rock, Globe Rock and more. A mild, half-mile walk takes visitors to the top of Fresno Dome, where glaciation can be observed up close and boundless views of the Sierra Nevada, rolling foothills and the San Joaquin Valley are spectacular.
Bonus: Any hiking variety in Yosemite National Park, such as Sentinel Dome and Taft Point near Glacier Point, The Mist Trail along Nevada and Vernal Fall, and Yosemite Fall.