Highway 120 is the Northern Gateway to Yosemite. The last major town before reaching the park is Groveland, located about 40 minutes outside the main gate. Groveland’s downtown consists of a half mile stretch of historic buildings, including the Iron Door Saloon and The Groveland Hotel.

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In 2013 the Rim Fire devastated the Stanislaus National Forest which is adjacent to the northwestern part of Yosemite National Park. I ventured down Cherry Lake Road in hopes of getting a better look. There were many forest service roads that I was hoping to ride on, but most were closed with caution of falling rocks. As I continued down the road I saw more and more scorched trees. Since the last time I was here in October, there’s more grass growing and it looks like it’s starting to come back to life.

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Since it was a holiday weekend, the park was packed with visitors. I found a nice spot on the river that gave me a great view of Bridalveil Fall.

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I fit in all that I could for a day trip to Yosemite. I’m looking forward to coming back in the spring to camp, and explore the roads that have been closed all winter.

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Words & Photos: Nick Johnson

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