Hidden away in northwest corner of Yosemite National Park, Hetch Hechy Valley is one place you’ll probably never hear of but while visiting the park it’s worth a visit. The valley is home to O’Shaughnessy Dam which holds back the 117 billion gallon reservoir supplying fresh clean drinking water to the San Francisco Bay area residents.
In the early 1900s the dam was a highly debated subject with preservationists wanting the valley to remain untouched but after the 1906 great San Francisco earthquake and fire the city won and the Raker Act of 1913 allowed the flooding of the valley. The Sierra Club continues to advocate for the removal of the dam to this day and there was even a study ordered by the one and only Governor Schwarzenegger to determine the costs of removing it.
But history aside there are many reasons to take the 40 mile drive up from Yosemite Valley including the drive itself. Heading out of Yosemite Valley on Hwy 120 you climb up and up with amazing views of the deep green valley below you surrounded by the snow tipped Sierra Nevada mountains. Once you reach the Hetch Hetchy Valley entrance it’s a fun twisty drive down to the dam with very few turn out points so make sure to stop at the first one about a mile in from the gates for the best view of the dam and valley.
At the end of the road you loop around to the day time parking lot which is right beside the top of the dam so if you’re not a big hiker then it’s a great spot to see both the reservoir and valley. If you’re visiting in the spring or early summer you’ll also be able to see the Tueeulala falls from the dam. For the more adventurous there are a number of hikes ranging from 2 miles up to 13 mile day trips and a multi-day, 29 mile hike. The 13 mile hike takes you up to Smith Peak at 7751 feet it is the highest point in the area and from what I read offers outstanding views of the area.
Find some interesting tour – Yosemite National Park
Repost from: bstravel.ca
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