Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

When I was thinking about what I could write for our 4th of July travel blog post I considered the many places within the US we have already visited.  New York, Washington, Boston, LA, San Francisco, San Diego, Las Vegas and Orlando to name but a few!.  But, none of them appealed to me as depicting the true essence of America. Sure, all of these places have their charm and appeal for different reasons.  But, I want our readers to see that there is so much more to experience than cities.  When planning a holiday that will truly embody the American spirit I would look no further than Yosemite National Park.  In my opinion, a true gem of the United States.  With its awe-inspiring landscapes, majestic waterfalls, and diverse hiking trails, Yosemite offers an unparalleled experience for travellers year-round. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the seasonal highlights, breathtaking vistas, rainbow sightings, hiking adventures, accommodation options, and delightful food choices that make Yosemite National Park an ideal destination for your 4th of July getaway. Exploring Yosemite’s Seasons Yosemite National Park boasts different charms throughout the year, making it a remarkable destination no matter when you visit. Spring (March to May) This season breathes new life into the park as waterfalls gush with melted snow. Witness the grandeur of Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in North America, at its peak flow during this time. Mirror Lake is also a must-visit, as the snowmelt transforms it into a pristine reflecting pool.  Summer (June to August) Summer is the peak tourist season at Yosemite. It is also when most of its famous landmarks will be easily accessible. The waterfalls may have diminished flow, but the warm weather provides excellent conditions for hiking and exploring the park’s trails. Word of advice – don’t expect to see Mirror Lake in the summer. This is what we saw after a long trek in the blazing sun (although we did make up for it by spotting some coyotes along the way.) Fall (September to November) With the arrival of autumn Yosemite’s landscapes transform with beautiful tones of red, orange, and gold.  During this time you will also find that the crowds will lessen.  As with summer, Yosemite Falls and Mirror Lake will have reduced water levels, but the vibrant tones of the foliage will no doubt create a breathtaking atmosphere. Winter (December to February) Yosemite transforms into a winter wonderland, captivating visitors with its snow-covered landscapes and the park offers cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Please do take note however that access to the park may be limited (or closed entirely) due to adverse weather conditions. If visiting Yosemite in mid to late February, you might witness the extraordinary phenomenon known as the “Firefall.” When conditions are just right, the setting sun illuminates the waterfall, creating a breathtaking orange glow that resembles a flowing river of fire.  Unfortunately we have not experienced this in person but it is certainly on our bucket list.  Scenic Hiking Trails Yosemite National Park offers a plethora of hiking trails, catering to adventurers of all skill levels. Here are a few notable hikes to consider: Half Dome Considered one of Yosemite’s most challenging hikes, Half Dome requires a permit and advanced planning due to its steep ascent and cable section. The reward is unparalleled panoramic views from the summit.  For more information about Half Dome check out the park’s website here.  Mist Trail to Vernal and Nevada Falls This popular hike showcases two stunning waterfalls and offers a moderate to strenuous challenge, with steep sections and mist from the falls. The trek involves a 3 mile round trip to Vernal Fall (7 mile round trip to Nevada Fall) and is a hugely popular trail.  To limit the crowds, we recommend that you start your trek in the early morning.  Do take into account that this trek will take around 2-5 hours to complete and if you are planning on heading out later in the afternoon you will need to pack a torch (flashlight). Tuolumne Meadows Located at high elevation, this serene area provides various hiking opportunities amidst beautiful alpine scenery. Explore the stunning Cathedral Lakes or embark on longer backpacking adventures along the Pacific Crest Trail. Please note that there is currently a major project underway at Tuolumne Meadows Campground.  Consequently, no reopen until 2024 or 2025.  No camping will be available at the meadows during this time. For information on all of the trails available at Yosemite National Park click here. Accommodation Options To fully immerse yourself in the Yosemite experience, consider staying within or near the park.  We did and whilst the accommodation was not something we would have normally gone for it was a highly surprising experience. Accommodation within the Park General advice is that you should look to book accommodation for Yosemite six months in advance.  That said, we tried booking ours nine months prior to our trip and we were almost booked out of the park itself. There’s a funny story about our hotel booking but more about that later. For information about lodging within the park, check out this link. Accommodation Outside the Park If accommodations within the park are fully booked or you prefer a wider range of options, nearby towns offer excellent choices. El Portal: Located just outside the park’s western entrance, El Portal offers a range of lodging options, including cosy cabins and lodges nestled in the forested surroundings. Mariposa: Situated near the park’s southern entrance, Mariposa features charming bed and breakfasts, hotels, and vacation rentals, providing a comfortable base for exploration. Groveland: Positioned near the park’s western entrance, Groveland boasts historic inns, rustic lodges, and campgrounds, offering a perfect blend of convenience and tranquillity. Oakhurst: Situated south of the park, Oakhurst provides a range of accommodations, from budget-friendly motels to full-service resorts, along with dining and shopping options. Dining Experiences Whether you prefer dining within the park or exploring nearby towns, Yosemite and its surroundings offer a variety of culinary delights.

Yosemite National Park Read More »