15 Local Attractions and Activities at Rush Creek Lodge & Spa at Yosemite

We’re surrounded by the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountain Range that makes for the ultimate hiking, biking, and lodging adventures. At the lodge we’re enjoying a spring for the history books with blooming wildflowers and raging waterfalls. Here’s a list of 15 local attractions and activities that guests are enjoying right now during the waterfall and wildflower season of a lifetime!

1. Carlon Falls

Carlon Falls (Mark F.)

Carlon Falls is a picture perfect waterfall located in the Stanislaus National Forest AND Yosemite National Park. Did you know you actually hike into Yosemite when you do this trail? The falls are formed by the South Fork of the Tuolumne River, and are accessed by a 1.5-mile hiking trail that winds through the forest along the river. This is the perfect morning or afternoon hike!

This picture was taken last week May 8th, 2023 and the falls are absolutely roaring!


2. O’Shaughnessy dam at Hetch HetchyHetch Hetchy Dam (Matt L.)

The perfect stop for people of all ages!

The O’Shaughnessy Dam itself is a fascinating engineering marvel. If you’ve never walked on top of a 400′ tall dam, this opportunity is not to be missed. The true scale of this massive monolith cannot be appreciated until you’ve peered over the dam to the river below (vertigo sufferers beware!). From the Dam you can also see Tallulah and Wapama falls that are at peak flow right now.


3. Wapama Falls at hetch hetchyWild Flowers at Hetch Hetchy (Jamie A.)

From a recent guest: “This was taken on April 11 on the Wapama Falls Trail on the north side of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. There was some kind of red flower in the moss beds that really made this already exquisite setting pop! We only saw a few dozen people the whole time and in the late afternoon felt like we had the whole place to ourselves!! The Adam’s Family (note only one D) can’t wait to go back.” – Jamie A.

Put this on your Yosemite bucket list ASAP so you don’t miss the wildflowers!

We can help you find your way if you want to explore on your own, or you can join one of our professionally guided excursions!


4. Lookout Point hetch HETCHYHetch Hetchy Vista

Lookout Point is another exceptional hike to a 360-degree panoramic vista that few Yosemite visitors ever experience.

Starting from the Hetch Hetchy Ranger Station, it’s a fairly steep 1-2 hour hike with stunning views that will have you feeling on top of the world!  More details…


5. Rainbow PoolsRainbow Pools (Kim Carroll)

Rainbow Pools is a series of natural swimming holes along the South Fork of the Tuolumne River where you can dip your feet, take a plunge or just watch courageous kids jump from the rock lined ledges into the largest of the inviting pools. Just like other natural pools in the Yosemite area, these are sure to be overflowing this year!


6. Middle forkMiddle Fork (Andrea L.)

If your time is limited, consider heading to the Middle Fork of the Tuolumne a short 10 minute drive on Evergreen Road.

Here you can splash around in gorgeous granite pools and enjoy the shade of the pines for a quick nap or a picnic overlooking the river.


7. White water raftingWhite Water Rafting (Lori Larocque)

After the winter we had, you know this is one for the adrenaline junkies!

Experience the exhilaration of the finest whitewater rafting in the state on the beautiful Tuolumne River.  The “T” is known for its rocky, technical drops. Reserve on our website.


8. BIkingFamily Bike Rentals

We have the perfect backyard for your biking adventures, and yes we rent bikes!

Just behind the lodge there’s a quiet forest road which makes for a smooth ride surrounded by Stanislaus National Forest. If you’re looking for something a bit more challenging, our Adventure Trail is the perfect 3 mile loop for mountain biking. Find more about our rentals here.


9. Extended Valley Explorer &Yosemite Valley View (Santino T.)

Range of Light tour

Join our professional tour guides while following the footsteps of John Muir!

Let us be your backstage pass to Yosemite as you visit the Valley’s most famous and impressive wonders and hidden secrets, with plenty of time to stop, relax and enjoy. Book your tour here.


10. Hite CoveHite Cove (Andrea L.)

This hike is the ultimate spot for the best wildflower season yet.  Located off Highway 140, enjoy 6.5 miles of scenery along the southern fork of the Merced River or just a short walk to see blooming wildflowers!

Be sure to bring sunscreen and water because this trail gets a lot of sunlight!

Looking for a different kind of adventure? Try these!

11. Sunset Vista Happy Hour TourSunset Vista Happy Hour (Kim Carroll)

Cheese, wine, and a stunning Sierra Sunset, what better way to end your day?

Join our recreation guides for a short drive into the Sierra Nevadas that brings you to the top of the Tuolumne River Canyon as the sun dips over the ridges. Reserve your tour now on our website! 


12. Off-Road Jeep ToursMiller Brother Jeep Tours

Explore the doorstep of Yosemite National Park during this off road adventure tour through the pristine Stanislaus National Forest where you will experience the breathtaking views and incredible wildlife of the Tuolumne River Canyon! For more information and to book online click here.


13. Yosemite flight toursYosemite Flight Tours

See Yosemite, like never before!

An air tour is a perfect way to explore this remote country quickly and provides unmatched photography perspectives. Choose from a variety of tours soaring over the Emigrant wilderness and Yosemite National Park. For more info click here.


14. Glass blowingGlassblowing with Maggie Bean (Corey M.)

Join our expert glass blower Maggie Bean as she teaches you the art of making colorful and unique glass pieces to take home with you!

Our favorite part of this activity is how satisfying the melted glass looks when you mold it! Click here to book a session with Maggie Bean

15. Stargazing

Rush Creek Stargazing (Kim Carroll 9-17_303 4800)

Experience the night sky like never before! Up close to nature’s light show, you’ll be gazing through our 12″ aperture Dobsonian telescope with go to tracking technology.

Learn about constellations, observe planets, nebulas, galaxies and other celestial wonders. Book now on our website!