We took a side trip to Hetch Hetchy in June 2010 while visiting the Columbia, California area.
Hetch Hetchy Reservoir (Photo by RSheridan)
Hetch Hetchy is located on the east side of the park. The drive to the reservoir takes about a half-hour and you will drive through Camp Mather (now a San Francisco city park). Your drive will take you along the Tuolumne River curving you above the Poopenaut Valley. You will not be disappointed with the views heading in and coming out of the valley.
We planned for about two hours to visit Hetch Hetchy that included stopping on the way out for a picnic lunch. We found a picnic table along the side of the road that offered great views of the valley.
The parking was a little confusing for us. There are two parking areas – the first before the reservoir and the second at the reservoir. We could not find a place to park at the first location and that led us down the road to the second parking area which is the one we really wanted. I think the first parking area is for visitors who want to take a hike.
You can walk across the O’Shaughnessy Dam and look out to the Reservoir. The dam covers the valley under 300 feet of water and is the drinking water for San Francisco. You will be able to see Wapama Falls from the dam. There is also Tueeulala Falls. You can go hiking in this area too. We decided to skip a hike and get back to wine country for more tasting instead. A good hike to take would be to Wapama Falls.
O’Shaughnessy Dam (Photo by RSheridan)
I enjoyed visiting this part of the park and getting to know its history. If you look hard enough and have seen the Yosemite Valley you may see some similarities.