- Start with breakfast at the Awahnee
- Take the hike to Vernal and Nevada Falls. Both falls are still running, and there aren't many people on the trails. You'll get amazing views.
- Take a bike ride through the valley. You can rent comfy SoCal-style cruiser bikes in Curry Village ($24.50 per day; 209/372- 8319; bike rentals also available at Yosemite Lodge, 209/372-1208). Heading north and west from Curry Village, ride along 12 miles of paved bike paths, past the Merced River and Swinging Bridge, taking in the dry, golden meadows and craggy black oaks.
- Check out the Tunnel View Overlook, which just got an upgrade.
- If you're feeling ambitious, and want to devote a half day to a hike, take the park service shuttle up to Glacier Point and then hike the Glacier Point trail back down to the valley. It's the easiest, most spectacular trail in the park I think. Takes about 4 hours.
- Or, visit Mariposa Grove and Wawona. What's nice about the Pioneer Museum in Wawona is its links to the Yosemite history shown in the Ken Burns' series-good stuff about the early days of settlement here and early park life.
- I think the Wawona Hotel is just charming. Not grand like the Ahwahnee, but older and very sweet and 19th century. Gracious glimpse of early California, eating and looking out on its beautiful lawn.
- Drive Tioga Road. The Tioga Pass closes at the end of October, so you have a sense of seeing a beautiful place for the last time until next spring.
- Yosemite's biggest lake, Tenaya, is always chilly, but it's beach is warm and sunny and perfect for an afternoon picnic.
- Finish your trip back at the Awahnee.
Katie Tamony is vice president and editor-in-chief of Sunset, the magazine of Western living. Ms. Tamony joined the company in 1994 as a copy editor, and was named copy chief later that year. In 1995, she helped launch the custom publishing division as editor. Ms. Tamony was named editorial director in 1997 and was promoted to vice president and director of custom publishing in 2000. In May 2001, Ms. Tamony was named VP and editor-in-chief, responsible for all editorial products. Prior to joining Sunset, Ms. Tamony was an associate editor and then managing editor with Northern California Home & Garden. In 1990, she began freelancing for Parenting Magazine and wrote Your Second Pregnancy (Chicago Review Press, 1995), a book that sold more than 30,000 copies. A native of Sebastopol, Calif., Ms. Tamony earned a bachelor's degree in history from the University of California at Berkeley.
Currently, she resides in Belmont, California with her two teenage daughters, Sara and Caitlin.