EXPLORE: Yosemite National Park
WOAH! Where to begin! We’ve been dying to go to Yosemite for a few years now. Finally! We had the time to go up & explore for a few days during the beautiful fall season (Our favorite time of year). We choose #Vanlife, because we thought it was the best way to truly enjoy the beautiful scenery. We decided to go during the week, we thought it would be less crowded, and we were right! Yosemite lived up to our expectations. It’s a beautiful National Park, we were surprised how big it was and how developed it was compared to other National Parks we’ve been to. It has grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, hospital, and lodges. We were amazed to say the least.
The first thing we notice when we got to campsite was signs of BEARS! (BEWARE OF BEARS IN AREA). We really almost peed ourselves. Once we pulled into the Campsite to get our Lot # we see a photo of a Bear inside a car sitting in the passenger side. We were like wait what… Bears can get into cars? YES After watching YouTube videos for 10mins we believed that Bears can get inside your car. WARNING YOU, MUST USE YOUR BEAR BOX located at your campsite. Bear Box is to store ALL of your food and any other personal items that you think a BEAR would like….. For instance, WINE, BACON, BROWNIES, CHEESE. Basically all of our favorite things!! *FYI we saw NO sign of bears the whole 2 days we were there…. Sometimes I think they HYPE it up. So they make you buy more bear stuff in their gift shops. But really its better to be SAFE than SORRY. So just be cautious at all times friends - 'Cars are like cookie jars for bears'!
We made sure to book the campsites ahead of time, just to be safe. While others are first come first served and we didn’t want to risk not having a place to park our van throughout the night. There are many to choose from depending on what you want and where you want to be located in the park.
We chose the Lower Pines Campground. We both thought it was in a great location and surprisingly very clean. The bathrooms were heated so that was a plus! Also we thought it was very spacious, you didn’t feel like you were on top of one another. We had great access to get to Mirror Lake, Vernal Falls, Nevada Falls, and a bunch of other great sightseeing spots inside the park.
OTHER STAY OPTIONS
The Majestic Yosemite Hotel - we decided to go check it out, it was gorgeous! Beyond COZY! Huge fireplace, and great little bar, and a huge restaurant which was very rustic and beautiful with amazing food. (Make sure to order the FRENCH ONION SOUP).
Yosemite Valley Lodge - Great views and open all year long!
Big Trees Lodge - If you want a more elegant stay.
FALL FOR YOSEMITE
Well unfortunately, the water wasn’t flowing as much as we expected. Spring time is the best time of year to see the water falls in full blast, since it’s after winter and all of the snow melts. But it’s still a beautiful sight to go see in person when you have the opportunity to go!
Bridalveil Falls- Worth stopping and seeing, you can see it from the main road, but you must stop and walk closer to take a picture.
Vernal Falls- You can get there by taking the 3 mile trail (Mist Trail). Really Beautiful and 100% worth walking up those steps! Make sure to go off the path & walk down to get closer and climb a few rocks to get good views and angles of the beautiful fall.
Nevada Falls- You can also get there by taking the (Mist Trail) however it’s about 7 miles round trip. Very uphill, but worth it at the end.
Yosemite Falls- One of the tallest waterfalls in North America. More advance hike, approximately 8 hours.
Horsetail Falls- Smaller waterfall about a 3.3 Mile Hike (Horsetail Falls Trail).
Chilnualna Falls- Made up of 5 different Tiers.
Wapama Falls- One of the most powerful waterfalls in Yosemite. For best View park at the O’Shaughnessy Dam.
TAKE A HIKE
There are a bunch of trails / hikes located in the park. Some of them are moderate and others are advanced. Depending on what you really enjoy doing. You can still see a lot of sights along many trails, most of them are day hikes. You don’t really need to do advanced hikes unless you really enjoy being out in the wilderness and want to look deeper into the park and be on your own.
Mist Trail- Moderate 7- miles
Happy Isles Trail- 2.5 Miles Follow the cobble stone, it’s really pretty during the fall season.
Mirror Lake Loop- Easy 2 Miles
Valley Loop Trail- 11 Miles
Half Dope Trail- 15.6 Miles and you need a permit to do this hike. Make sure you are well prepared beforehand especially for the elevation increase.
Four Mile Trail- 4.6 Miles Good if you want to see a little of everything.
Yosemite Falls Trail- 7.2 Miles
Panorama Trail- 1 way 8.5 Miles near glacier point.
Cathedral Lakes- 8 Miles
Make sure to pull over to get a nice photo of all these must see sights!
Mariposa Grove Great Sequoias
Yosemite has a lot to offer when it comes to being a well-known National Park. It’s full of beautiful nature and verity of different things to do. Make sure you get a chance to go once in your lifetime! We are so happy we got the chance to see it in person finally! Time to cross another park off our National Parks List! We hope you do too!
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