The real swinging bridge
By Austin Explorer on 10/11/2018
Distance: 2.38 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 14 minutes
We'd seen a sign in Yosemite Valley about a "swinging bridge" that we were told was inaccurate. Turns out that bridge no longer swings.This one, though. This one is the real deal.
Since we were in the area, having just finished our Marisposa Grove hike and the threat of rain seemed to be going away we decided to drive deeper into Wawona and look for this trail. A large parking area was largely barren of cars and we would soon be the only people on the trail in short order,
The trail follows the South Fork of the Merced River, not to be confused with the North Fork that runs through Yosemite Valley. After perhaps a half mile at most the famous bridge appeared. It's not much to look at but it features two important characteristics. First, it crosses the river and second it does indeed swing.
We stopped for lunch on the opposite bank and listed to water rushing downstream. We saw one couple come to visit the bridge then turn back and then we really didn't see anyone else until we neared the trailhead on our way back later in the day. Of all the trails we hiked all week in Yosemite, this one strangely felt more isolated than any of the others.
The trail continues in the direction of the trailhead but on this opposite bank and we decided to see how far it would go. The terrain here is relatively flat and not terribly difficult. One has to admit that it's not the most picturesque part of the park. There were numerous piles of logs and brush that were collected for a prescribed burn dotting the landscape and it's obvious there had already been some fire through part of the terrain in the past.
On this opposite shore the gnats, or whatever they were, were fairly annoying. We strangely hadn't encountered them from the trailhead to the bridge. The time of year one visits certainly factors into one's experience here.
The trail ended at a dirt road with a few houses, the edge of North Wawona. We doubled from whence we came and headed back to our rental.