Monday , July 26 2021

14 Epic Issues to do in Yosemite Nationwide Park, California

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Towering sequoias. Raging waterfalls. Hovering granite cliffs. Yosemite is likely one of the oldest Nationwide Parks within the nation, and in our very biased opinion as Yosemite’s Bay Space-based neighbors, it’s additionally the very best. And essentially the most lovely. However hey, don’t take our phrase for it – simply ask John Muir or Ansel Adams.

On this put up, we’re laying out 14 really epic issues to do in Yosemite Nationwide Park. Whether or not you wish to summit Half Dome, hike by means of an historic Big Sequoia forest, climb up a sheer granite cliff face with absolutely no supports (lookin’ at you, Alex Honnold, who I sometimes see at my mountain climbing fitness center however have by no means really met), or perhaps simply spend a pleasant stress-free day portray after which going for a dip in a crystalline lake (I’ll see you there), Yosemite is a wonderland.

We tapped Suzie Dundas, a northern California-based journey author and a frequent Yosemite customer, to offer us the inside track on the very best issues to do in Yosemite Nationwide Park. Take it away, Suzie!

Yosemite Nationwide Park At-a-Look ✍

Right here’s a bite-sized snapshot of the whole lot you have to know to plan your journey!

  • When to Go: Summer season is hottest …& most crowded. Go to throughout fall and winter to see a a lot quieter aspect of Yosemite!
  • The place to Keep: Rush Creek Lodge is our #1 decide for the place to remain close to Yosemite Nationwide Park, simply minutes from the Large Oak Flat entrance.
  • Find out how to Get Round: You may get to and round Yosemite on public transit, however we suggest having your individual automotive. Use Kayak to browse rental car offers, or rent an RV on RVShare.
  • High 3 Highlights: Watching the sundown at Glacier Level, mountaineering across the perimeter of Yosemite Valley, and taking a dip in Mirror Lake. This tour is a superb introduction to Yosemite, and this tour hits all the main landmarks and highlights and departs from El Portal or Oakhurst.
  • Earlier than You Go: Remember to guide your day use pass prematurely. We additionally suggest the Annual Parks Pass. And should you’re low-key morbid, learn this guide on Deaths in Yosemite to know what NOT to do throughout your journey!

Psst: Exploring Northern California? We now have a ton of journey guides for our house! Browse them all or check out these:

We now have even have a number of USA Nationwide Parks journey guides! Browse them all or check out these:


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The Tioga Pass entrance station in Yosemite, CA.
The high-elevation Tioga Go entrance station is one of the best ways to enter the park coming from the east, like from Lake Tahoe or Nevada. Nevertheless it’s closed within the winter attributable to snow! Photo Credit

Yosemite Nationwide Park FAQ’s

Right here are some things it is best to know earlier than planning your journey to Yosemite Nationwide Park!

2021 Replace: Observe that COVID-19 well being and security laws will impression a lot of the park programming and choices in 2021. Park shuttles will not be operating in 2021 and plenty of occasions are canceled or working occasionally. Check the park website prematurely of your journey for essentially the most present COVID-19 laws. Most necessary to know is that reservations are required to enter the park.

How do I get to Yosemite Nationwide Park?

Yosemite isn’t exhausting to achieve – so long as you’ve a automotive, and relying on the season (and the quantity of snow within the Sierra Nevadas). Yosemite is about 3 hours east of San Francisco and about 4.5 hours north of Los Angeles by automotive – assuming you don’t hit any site visitors.

Yosemite has four major entrances. Should you’re coming from San Francisco, the Large Oak Flat entrance would be the closest. Guests coming from Los Angeles and Southern California will enter through the Southern entrance.

Should you’re coming from the east, like from Reno or Lake Tahoe, you’ll enter through the high-elevation Tioga Go, which is about an hour above Yosemite Valley. (Observe that Tioga Pass Road closes within the winter across the finish of November by means of late Could, relying on snowfall.) 

Should you don’t have a automotive, you’ll be able to take the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation Shuttles (YARTS), which brings friends to the park from close by cities like Mammoth Lakes, Fresno, and Merced. However due to Yosemite’s dimension and windy, scenic roads, practically everybody who visits the park has their very own automotive and makes use of the shuttles whereas within the park.

Should you don’t have a automotive otherwise you solely have someday within the park, a unbelievable possibility is to take a guided tour from El Portal. You may sit again and loosen up as you’re pushed to a lot of the main websites in someday, together with Tunnel View, Glacier Level, and Yosemite Falls, plus lunch and a hike.

You too can select to go to the park on a guided tour with transportation supplied from San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and even Los Angeles (this option even consists of 2 nights of tenting within the park!). Should you’re involved about transportation, wanting so as to add Yosemite to an present California journey, or don’t wish to mess with the trouble of planning, these excursions are a unbelievable possibility.

How do I get round Yosemite Nationwide Park?

Your finest wager is to drive – the park is gigantic and the roads operating by means of the park are extremely scenic!

However should you’d somewhat not fear about parking or don’t have a automotive, Yosemite NP does have just a few free shuttles. Which to take relies on what a part of the park you wish to see. That mentioned, transferring between Yosemite’s various regions on free park transportation is troublesome and sluggish, so plan to spend an entire day in every spot. 

Inside the park, you may get round utilizing the free Yosemite Valley Shuttle, which makes 20 stops all through the Yosemite Valley. The free shuttle runs year-round throughout daytime hours. The shuttle’s schedule adjustments all year long – as do the stops – relying on the climate and crowds, so make sure to have a look at the bus schedule each visitor is given when getting into the park.

There’s additionally a free shuttle within the Tuolumne meadows space which strikes guests between Tioga Pass and Olmsted Point, and runs from early June to mid-September.  

How lengthy ought to my journey to Yosemite be?

I like to recommend a minimum of two nights per go to. Should you’re mountaineering, you’ll recognize waking up close to the park to get an early begin on the paths and having a brief commute again to your tent or lodge at evening. 

What’s the very best time of the yr to go to Yosemite Nationwide Park?

Although most individuals go to throughout the summer time months (which suggests crowds), Yosemite is completely attractive throughout all 4 seasons.

Most individuals go to in late spring and early summer time, when higher-elevation trails are freed from snow and it’s nonetheless heat sufficient at evening to camp. The park’s waterfalls peak in late spring as snow melts, and summer time presents essentially the most enticing climate for backpacking (in addition to essentially the most hours of daylight). However crowds shall be at an all-time excessive at the moment.

Whereas I’ve visited in all seasons, fall is my favourite. There’s one thing concerning the leaves erupting with shades of orange and pink within the Valley, the crisp autumn air, and a roaring campfire (and perhaps a small bottle of whiskey from the Yosemite Camp retailer) that simply screams “excellent autumn weekend” to me. Simply be aware that it may possibly dip beneath freezing temperatures at evening and snow can fall at increased elevations as early as October. 

Within the winter, count on practically the whole lot within the park to be coated in snow, in addition to smaller crowds. It’s arguably the very best time for photographers, although most trails and Tioga Go shall be inaccessible. There’s something magical concerning the stillness of the park throughout this season, and it virtually looks like a wholly completely different world.


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Is Yosemite Nationwide Park crowded?

It’s best to count on giant crowds in peak season, between Could to late September. Throughout these months, campsite and lodge reservations can refill a yr prematurely, so make your plans as quickly as potential.

To keep away from crowds within the Valley and extra well-liked areas of the park, go to within the low season, between October and April. Throughout Yosemite’s fall and winter, parking is less complicated to search out, resorts are extra inexpensive, and you could even discover house completely to your self – particularly when you get just a few miles previous the trailheads.

The rest I ought to know earlier than visiting Yosemite Nationwide Park?

Listed here are just a few key issues to know earlier than you propose your journey to Yosemite NP:

  • Yosemite Nationwide Park is big. The park covers 1,189 sq. miles, making it the identical dimension as Rhode Island. The Valley alone is 8 miles lengthy! For comparability, the park is twice as giant as Zion National Park and greater than 20 occasions the dimensions of Manhattan. It’s huge. Plan ample time to drive from part to part – count on it to take a number of hours to drive from one a part of the park to a different, and attempt to plan your actions inside the similar park areas as a lot as potential.
  • The important thing to visiting Yosemite is one mantra: “go away it higher than you discovered it.” Heavy foot site visitors damages pure landscapes, so educated guests must do their half. Yosemite even has a volunteer park-wide clean-up day every September. Should you see trash, decide it up. Don’t step on small crops off-trail. And at all times comply with Leave No Trace principles. 
  • By no means go away meals or something with a scent (like lip balm) in your automotive. Bears are good and are greater than able to opening automotive doorways and smashing home windows. Bears that affiliate people with meals can grow to be harmful to people, and bears which might be harmful to people are sometimes euthanized. It’s each guests’ duty to maintain wildlife wild. Each campground and parking zone could have dozens of steel bear bins – outside lockers the place friends can safely retailer their meals for the day as an alternative of leaving it of their automotive. They’re free and unlocked, so simply discover one with house and toss something with a scent inside somewhat than leaving it in your automotive. 
  • Re-think that selfie. Yosemite has no scarcity of lovely vistas, however there are a number of deaths within the park every year from individuals getting too near cliffs to seize a photograph. Be extraordinarily cautious, particularly round well-liked lookout factors like Taft Point and Vernal Falls
  • Decelerate. Every thing from bears to squirrels to deer and even the occasional mountain lion could run in entrance of your automotive with out warning. Don’t let your negligence trigger an animal’s loss of life.


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