Swinging Bridge picnic area is the third of the three excellent spot to stop to snack or play as you enter Yosemite Valley. Many people arriving in Yosemite have been driving for the last four or more hours and are ready for some food. If you brought a picnic this is one of the best places to stop.
My one hesitation with recommending Swinging Bridge is that it is far too popular. The parking area is right next to the Yosemite Loop Drive and therefore everyone spots it. It is far too obvious. Unlike Cathedral Beach and Sentinel Beach that are only marked by small signs and a narrow dirt road you simply can’t miss Swinging Bridge.
Swinging Bridge Doesn’t Swing
The actual foot bridge is a very sturdy construction and I have no idea when it might have been a “swinging” bridge. The little research I have done hasn’t turned up a history of the bridge so if anyone can enlighten me I would appreciate it.[sam id=1 codes=’false’]
The first nice thing about Swinging Bridge is that the picnic spot is in a fine grove of evergreens with tables as well as chemical toilets just off the road so if you can find a parking spot in the small parking area, and have your picnic you should stop.
The second nice thing about this spot is that once you cross the foot bridge over the Merced River you will find yourself in one of the largest, finest and most accessible valley meadows in the Park. You will enjoy a nearly unobstructed view of the valley walls and some of the most famous waterfalls.
Swinging Bridge for Swimming
The broad sandy beach and slow moving, crystal clear water are ideal for swimming. The cold mountain water is perfect for cooling off on a hot summer day. Jumping fromthe bridge is not permitted but happens from time to time anyway.
Another thing to know about Swinging Bridge is that it is one of a handful of popular locations in the Park where you are allowed to have a Yosemite wedding. If your dream is to get hitched in the middle of nature Swinging Bridge might fit the bill very nicely.