I had two more days in California and I wanted to get up to the Sierra Nevadas. So two friends and I took the suggestion of my mom's coworker and opted to hike here (we'd considered Hetch Hetchy but were concerned it'd be too cold). The trail is located about seven miles west of El Portal (20 miles east of Mariposa) right off Highway 140 at Savage's Trading Post just past where there was the rock slide. There were about a dozen cars across the street from the trailhead, by the river, when we arrived at about 12:30 p.m.
None of us had ever been here before and we were pleasantly surprised. We didn't go the whole 4.5 miles because we wanted to visit Yosemite Valley before it was dark. Most of the first 2-3 miles of the trail is along one fork of the Merced River. The trail undulates along, from up high overlooking the water to running alongside the bank. Overall, it's more down hiking than up going in. The trail is relatively free of debris and for the most part a soft dirt trail that's easy to follow. An easy hike.
We were lucky and there when the wildflowers were still showing. The colors (yellows, greens, pops of purple, orange, and pink) were vibrant and I felt my attention drawn every which way to different textures and shapes. I thought this made a nice complement to what you see in Yosemite Valley.
A campfire must be extinguished by drowning it with water, stirring with a shovel, and repeating that process until the campfire is cold to the touch. A campfire is still a danger if it has any trace of heat, and must not be left or abandoned. Wildfires can begin by abandoned campfires that rebuild heat on windy days and then blowing embers ignite surrounding grasses and brush.