Yosemite 3 Day Itinerary

Yosemite National Park is a natural wonderland that beckons adventurers and nature lovers alike. Maximize your time in the park and your stay at Rush Creek Lodge with this Yosemite 3 day itinerary. 

Pre-Trip Planning

Rush Creek Lodge is conveniently located off Highway 120, the main route into Yosemite from the west. Most visitors drive into the area. 

Rush Creek Lodge also serves seasonally as a YARTS stop, a shuttle service available from May 15 through September 29. YARTS passengers are exempt from any seasonal park reservation restrictions and park entry fees. The buses are clean and comfortable motorcoaches that afford you excellent views on the scenic ride into Yosemite Valley. Adult fares are just $16 round trip, and an accompanying child 5 years or younger rides along for free!

If you prefer to drive your own vehicle, Yosemite National Park charges an entry fee. Additionally, you’ll need a Peak Hour day-use reservation to drive your own vehicle into the park during peak seasons. Always check the National Park Service’s website while you plan your trip and frequently before you visit for the most up-to-date information about passes and fees, temporary road closures, and more.

Best Time to Visit Yosemite

Each season in Yosemite offers a unique charm. Check our detailed guide about the best times to visit Yosemite depending on your desired itinerary and bucket list activities. 

Yosemite Packing Essentials

Depending on when you visit Yosemite National Park, your essential Yosemite gear will vary, aside from the basics like comfortable hiking boots/shoes, sunscreen, a reusable water bottle, and reliable navigation methods.  

Day 1: Yosemite Valley Immersion

Family Exploring Yosemite Valley


Fuel up with a delicious breakfast at Rush Creek Lodge Restaurant.

Join the Yosemite Valley Explorer excursion (ages 4 and up), a guided tour that takes you to the valley’s iconic landmarks, including Yosemite Falls, El Capitan, and Half Dome.

Afternoon and Evening: 

Return to Rush Creek Lodge to refresh by the pool or relax your muscles in the hot tub.

Savor dinner at the Restaurant or Tavern with your group and rehash your favorite parts of your first day in Yosemite.

After dark, join a guided stargazing tour (weather permitting) or gather around the campfire at Rush Creek to enjoy nightly complimentary s’mores (even tastier with no hidden resort fees!).

Day 2: Glacier Point Tour

Glacier Point tour offered by Rush Creek Lodge in Yosemite.


Embark on a guided Glacier Point tour (ages 8 and up).

Marvel at panoramic views of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and the High Sierra with a guided tour from Rush Creek Lodge, or strike out on your own. Be sure to visit the Rec Desk in the Guest Lounge for free planning advice and local insights on the best options for your party’s interests and abilities.

Afternoon and Evening: 

Gather around the fire pit at Rush Creek Lodge for complimentary s’mores after a refreshing shower in your Lodge Room.

Pamper yourself with Spa Day Use, a massage or other wellness treatment at our Yosemite-inspired spa

Day 3: Hetch Valley Valley

Hetch Hetchy Friends Hiking (Kim Carroll)


Explore lesser-traveled Hetch Hetchy Valley, which is about half the size of Yosemite Valley. Just 9 miles from Rush Creek, this is a perfect day trip in Yosemite. Home to Wapama Falls and Tueeulala Falls, and the famous O’Shaughnessy Dam, Hetch Hetchy Valley is a hidden gem in Yosemite worth the time in your 3 day trip. 


Enjoy a farewell dinner at Rush Creek Lodge’s Restaurant or Tavern, savoring the flavors of Yosemite’s bounty with seasonal specialties. 

Grab travel essentials for your trip home at our General Store and stop for a selfie at the famous tree ring sculpture

Reflect on the incredible memories you’ve made with your group in Yosemite National Park! 

Yosemite National Park offers a lifetime of exploration and wonder. With Rush Creek Lodge as your home base, you’ll have everything you need for an unforgettable 3-day adventure. Book your stay today!