Published on July 28, 2023

Yosemite calls and you must go. What inspires you to want to take a solo female trip to Yosemite? Whether it’s solitude in nature, meeting new people and trying new things, arts and culture, majestic landscapes, or the challenge of pushing your own physical limits, Yosemite Mariposa County has everything you need to plan your trip according to what you seek for your unique experience.

Located less than four hours east of the San Francisco Bay Area and within a few hours of several international airports, Yosemite National Park covers 1,200 square miles of California’s beautiful Sierra Nevada. Outside of the famous granite cliffs and waterfalls in Yosemite Valley, there are endless opportunities for adventure. Giant Sequoia, alpine lakes, granite peaks, meadows, and winding rivers await.

Planning Your Visit

Due to its size, accessibility, bounty of lodging options and beauty, Yosemite Mariposa County is an ideal destination for solo and group travelers alike.

You’ve already started with the first step. Local tips and resources will help to guide you the rest of the way. As you plan your trip, remember that it’s important not to over plan! Make sure your schedule includes free time for spontaneity and downtime.

Your trip may include highlights of everything in the park, or just Yosemite Valley. Consider coming in Spring or Fall when the park is quieter. Winter in Yosemite is a completely different experience compared to the rest of the year and there are a variety of winter activities to enjoy including skiing at Badger Pass Ski Area in Yosemite.

Cover the basics during your adventure and stay aware when traveling alone. Become familiar with hiking trails and communicate your plans and expected return with someone before you go. Carry a whistle and pepper spray. Many areas in the park lack cell service. Printed or downloaded digital maps are recommended when hiking alone. In Yosemite, the weather varies and can change on a dime. Visit the park’s website and stay current with alerts, conditions, and camping information.

Where to Stay

Yosemite RV road trip

Yosemite Mariposa County lodging options provide a traditional experience, with full-service housekeeping, convenient dining rooms and more. Sometimes the best place to stay is the one closest to nature. Campgrounds in Yosemite National Park are the most in-demand campgrounds in the region, with good reason. However, and that makes getting a reservation a formidable task.

In the Park:

Curry Village tent cabins with autumn foliage
Curry Village offers rustic tent cabins, hard-sided cabins and motel-style accommodations, all nestled below Glacier Point and Half Dome.

There are several lodging options located within the park. Decide where to stay once you’ve explored the activities that most interest you. The Yosemite Valley Lodge is located near Yosemite Falls, and  a shuttle stop is nearby. To experience all the grandeur of Yosemite, book a room at the famous Ahwahnee. Tenaya at Yosemite is just outside of the park and close to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia.

For the glamping experience complete with showers and restaurants nearby, treat yourself to a tent cabin at Curry Village.

Be aware that Yosemite’s campgrounds are in high demand during the summer season and should be reserved online well in advance. Camp 4 is a walk-in campground only available by online lottery during summer.

Outside of the park:

The spa / hot tub at the Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort.
Settle into vacation mode in the spa at Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort.

Expand your experience by staying in one of Yosemite’s charming gateway towns. Stay at a bed and breakfast or book a room at one of the many hotels located in Mariposa County. Most shops and dining in downtown Mariposa are within walking distance of the River Rock Inn, which has an onsite café, Sticks, where you can sip small-batch roasted coffee while you read or check your email before heading out for the day.

The Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort in Midpines is a local favorite that can meet all of your solo female travel needs. Accommodations range from shared hostel rooms to cabins. The June Bug Café has something for everyone including gluten-free and vegan options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as outstanding desserts served nightly. The sauna and hot tub at the spa downstairs are perfect for anyone after a long day of hiking in Yosemite Mariposa County.

Getting to the Park:

YARTS bus provides regional transportation to Yosemite
Take public transportation options like YARTS (Yosemite Area Regional Transportation Service) and then connect to free in-park shuttles for your visit.

Leave your car in town and take the YARTS Bus from Mariposa into Yosemite to avoid finding parking and long lines during peak season. The pass includes entry into the park, where free shuttles circle the park throughout the day. Whether you take the bus or decide to drive, it is advisable to arrive early.

Choose your own adventure: A Guided Hike or Rock Climb

Yosemite Mountaineering School climbing guide, Miranda Oakley with Half Dome in the background.
Yosemite Mountaineering School climbing guide, Miranda Oakley with Half Dome in the background. Photo: Yosemite Hospitality by Marta Czajkowska

For a guided experience geared towards your specific needs, contact Balanced Rock. Many of their scheduled programs are designed with women in mind and include group events with other solo female travelers. Make it a perfect day by booking a private guided hike with a yoga session in the wilderness, complete with a packed lunch suited to your needs. Pricing and options are available on their website. Their mission is to help you feel supported, confident, and comfortable outside, as well as to make the outdoors accessible for all, so contact them with any budgetary concerns.

Contact the Yosemite Mountaineering School and Guide Service to try rock climbing in one of the most iconic destinations in the world. The only authorized climbing guide service in the park, they also offer guided hiking and backpacking excursions.

Bike or Hike the Valley Floor while you explore Yosemite History

Rent a bike at Curry Village for the best way to get around Yosemite Valley. Biking (or hiking) the Valley is a perfect hybrid adventure of scenic wonder and historic sites to explore. Day hikes with access to most major sights to see in Yosemite are usually well-populated and there are also hikes for those who prefer solitude.

Preparation is key. Expect mosquitos!  You may encounter bears and other wildlife. They are not usually a threat to humans. Avoid these human behaviors while visiting and learn how to interact responsibly with the animals native to the area. A prepared hiker is a happy one. Fortunately, there is no shortage of information about hiking in Yosemite.

Explore History and Culture in Yosemite

Walk through a timeline at the Valley Visitor Center. Discover how millions of years of geologic uplift, erosion, and glacial activity finally gave way to form the valley of “Ahwahnee” now known as Yosemite. Learn more about its original inhabitants, the Ahwahneechee when you visit the Yosemite Museum next door. See examples of basketry made by some of the most renowned indigenous basket weavers in the world.

Adventures in the Sierra Foothills

Trails at Stockton Creek Preserve above Mariposa, CA
Enjoy an easy and convenient hike through Stockton Creek Preserve which borders downtown Mariposa, CA.

Hike one of several easy-to-moderate trails at the Stockton Creek Preserve, or take a guided hike with the Sierra Foothill Conservancy on one of their managed preserves. For a more adventurous hiking experience, contact Mariposa Trails to explore more hiking trails in the Sierra Foothills.

Yosemite E-Biking

A guided tour with Yosemite E-Biking through scenic Mariposa County could include a trip to the airport, where you can take off with Yosemite Skydive to really get a bird’s eye view and leap out of an airplane over the Sierra Nevada.

Explore Mariposa County Arts and Culture

Historic exhibits inside the Mariposa History Center
Enrich your Yosemite Mariposa County visit with a trip to one of the many fascinating museums in the area. From rare minerals, to rock climbing, and gold rush exhibits to gorgeous native basketry, you’ll find something to capture your imagination. (Pictured: Mariposa History Museum)

Get to know the locals at shops and museums. Ridgeline Gallery and Gifts is just one of the shops in town that features an array of local art and unique gifts. The friendly docents and staff at the Mariposa Museum will share the amazing history of Mariposa, including Native American (featured in a brand-new permanent exhibit) and California Gold Rush history. Visit the Yosemite Climbing Association Museum and Gallery and learn about the history of rock climbing in Yosemite.

At night, you’ll have no shortage of entertainment. Mariposa’s growing music scene is largely thanks to organizations like the Mariposa Arts Council, who host Music on the Green every Friday and Saturday at the Mariposa Arts Park during summer. Try a local brew and catch a show at the Grove House with their friendly staff and steady stream of well-known and up-and-coming local artists scheduled year-round.

Yosemite Mariposa County invites you to explore, enjoy solitude, find empowerment, shop, dine, socialize, or simply just…relax. Nothing compares to the sense of freedom and independence that a solo female trip can bring. What better place to experience adventure than Yosemite Mariposa County?

Categories: General Travel Tips, Travel and Transportation