5 Things You Have To Do When You Visit Yosemite #70DayRoadTrip #Travel6:00 AM
Yosemite National Park was one of the stops that I was looking forward to the most on our 70 day road trip. This was our ninth stop of the trip, and on our three days here we did not even begin to scratch the surface of what Yosemite has to offer, I was able to make a list of 5 things you should consider doing if you ever visit though. My recommendation, camp outside of the Valley, and spend as much time away from there as possible. It is filled with people, and highly commercialized. Riding in the Yosemite buses, we felt a bit like we were at Disney World instead of exploring nature.
1. See Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls
1. See Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls
I know I just said that you should stay out of the Valley, but sometimes it is necessary to go there. Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls is one reason you would want to visit the Valley. Go early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the crowds that are on this trail. You can get on a bus from the visitor's parking lot and take it to stop number 6 to walk the trail out to see these falls.
Some times of the year they dry up and are not able to be seen, so if they are still flowing, be sure to take the trail and catch a peek. Views of the falls can also be seen from the meadow in the valley as well.
2. Challenge Yourself on the Vernal Falls Trail
Most average visitors to Yosemite are not going to scale half dome, so instead, try a challenging hike, like the one up to Vernal Falls. The Vernal Falls Footbridge trail is listed as a moderate hike, but the entire first mile is all vertical, and I do mean vertical. Going down is not bad unless you have bad knees like myself, then you'll wish you were still going uphill instead. It is a gorgeous hike with a rewarding view, so if you are up to it, take this hike when you visit.
3. Stroll Through Mariposa Grove
This grove of giant sequoia trees is located just South of Wawona at the southernmost end of the park. We were staying in Wawona so it was a short drive for us, but if you are staying elsewhere in the park, it is worth the trek. You can park at the Wawona store and take a Yosemite bus to the grove if parking in that area is full.
This is my 10 year old laying on the stump of a giant sequoia, it gives you an idea of their size!
At the grove, you can walk a trail to see trees that are hundreds of years old and towering up to 19 stories in the air, like the famed Grizzly, that is taller than the Statue of Liberty. Kids will love the sheer size of the trees, and if you walk past the Grizzly, crowds significantly clear out, and it appears you have the forest to yourself.
4. Drive to Glacier Point
If you leave Yosemite Valley headed to the South end of the park, you will see the turnoff for Glacier Point. If you have some time to spare, take the drive through this twisting turning pass all the way to Glacier Point. There are plenty of pull-offs and meadow trails along the way that are worth a stop too, but Glacier Point provides an exceptional view of Yosemite Valley, half dome, thundering water falls and so much more!
5. Explore Nature
Not all of the best things in Yosemite are huge attractions. One of our best memories of our visit there was when we took a detour to a small creek that runs along the Bridal Veil Falls trail. The kids played in that creek for at least an hour while I let my feet dangle in the cold crystal clear water. Peaceful and enjoyable places like that lurk all over Yosemite.
The meadows strewn throughout the park are a great place to catch a glimpse of wildlife, enjoy a peaceful stroll or even catch a different angle of a popular attraction in the park. If you dare to brave the chilly water, there are different spots where you can take a dip too.
Yosemite is a beautiful and historic national park. Since it was dedicated by Abraham Lincoln in 1864, people have been coming from near and far to explore and enjoy its natural wonders. While the Valley is very touristy, there is plenty to see, explore and enjoy when you venture to other areas of this vast park. I would plan at least a week to truly enjoy what this park has to offer when you plan your visit.
Have you been to Yosemite? What was your favorite sight?