Alexander Beetle, the Yosemite Audio Adventures Bug has discovered one of those short, close to Groveland, CA easy day hikes that offers some incredible Yosemite views with very little effort and no chains required.
If you're looking for a short adventure, that's not terribly strenuous, visit the Smith Peak Fire Lookout.
Drive up the road from behind the Pines campground or hike the two miles to the top for 360 degree views of the surrounding area. Elevation 3876 '
You can access the road to the lookout (2S16) behind the Pines Campground on Hwy 120 next to the Stanislaus National Forest Information office. The road is good but a little muddy in spots and you can drive most of the way up but you have to hike the last section beyond the locked gate.
The view of the snow covered Hetch Hetchy area and the Yosemite region is awesome.
If you visit during the Summer the tower is staffed but during the quiet of Winter it offers visitors a place to sit, eat and enjoy the view!
Yosemite Audio Adventures is always looking for little gems such as this. This entire adventure only took about 3 hours, surely you can find 3 hours on one of these rare sunny days to escape.
Take the Time, Take a Hike