Reasons to visit:
- Unparalleled natural grandeur: Yosemite National Park is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the world, especially if you are into mountains and waterfalls. John Muir, who is considered the father of the U.S. national parks system, wrote about how he was overwhelmed by Yosemite’s landscapes & lived a number of years in the area. It is due to his efforts as a conservationist that many generations of people enjoy the park’s vistas, hikes & waterfalls.
- Hikes for all levels: Yosemite is spread across 3000 square km making up 1300 km of hiking trails. This is a boon for walkers & hikers of all levels as trails range from the gentle walking along a river to hiking up Half Dome (10-16 hours round trip, needs a permit). We personally did the Upper Yosemite Falls hike (1.5-2 hours each way) & the Vernal Falls hike (1 hour each way). Please wear hiking boots as many hikes near the water are wet & slippery.
- Camping: Thanks to the generosity of one of our good friends, Yosemite was also our 1st camping experience. Even though we had visited in early May, there was still a bunch of snow on the campground we were in resulting in low night time temperatures. We also had clear night sky views which were pretty magical. It was a lot of fun & quite an experience in our 1st camping trip, aided a lot by the scenery we had access to everyday.
Best time to visit: Summer (May-Aug) for hiking, winter for snowshoeing & avoiding tourists. Note that some roads & viewpoints (ex: Glacier point) are open only in the summer.
Food & Drink: If there is 1 thing we want you to know about food at Yosemite, it is that the Yosemite Lodge food court near the Yosemite Falls trailhead has proper hot food (pasta & rotisserie) & was our only hot meal in 3 days of camping. That meal felt like a million dollars after being tired going hiking & not having hot meals for a couple of days.
Tip: Especially if you are camping, keep enough dry food with you. On the trails, keep things like trail mix & enough water on you.
Public transport logistics:
- Getting in: The closest major airport is San Francisco (SFO). Again thanks to the generosity of our friend, we drove to & around Yosemite national park.
- It is possible to get to the centre of the park in summer by getting a Greyhound bus from SF to Merced (3 hr 35 min) at 11 am & transfer to the Yarts bus at 4:30 PM (4 more hours). Full Yarts schedule.
- Getting around: This is the easy bit, there are free electric shuttle buses that take you around the park for free. Full list of schedules.