Yosemite draws tourists and vacationers from all over the world. It’s no wonder why, because Yosemite truly is one of the most beautiful, awe-inspiring places in the world. A vacation destination fit for adventurers, artists, romantics and adrenaline junkies. Whether you want to take a calming nature stroll and keep a vigilant eye on the unique fauna that thrive in the valley, or strap on some climbing shoes and show some massive granite who’s boss, Yosemite holds a perfect attraction for anyone.
Personally, as someone who loves to take a bazillion pictures, love the photographic quality if the amazing landscape. I love to hike, and there can perhaps be no better, more unique and diverse hiking in one place than at Yosemite. And you better believe I always have my camera with me. Are you a photographer ala Ansel Adams? Prepare for mesmerizing waterfalls that will pound the ground, shaking it beneath your feet and spraying your face and body with a cold mist. And while Yosemite has many challenging hikes and climbs such as Half-dome, I promise there are nature walks for every skill level.
My favorite intro hike for Yosemite Beginners, or even for seasoned Yosemite-lovers that just need a warm up—is the Mist Trail. The hike begins with more of a slowly inclining nature walk that’ll lead to a bridge at the base of Vernal Falls. If you’re not much of a hiker, this might be your photo op and turn around spot.
If you’re feeling like a bit more exercise, continue on and prepare to be amazing. You’ll start an immediate climb, hugging the mountain so that you have constant views of the valley too your left, and towering trees on your right. You catch glimpses of the waterfall you’re hiking toward. Finally, you’ll breach the trees and be treated to the waterfall’s spray. My last hike there was during the most powerful snowmelt in years and I was left drenched. It’s a good idea to bring a rain slicker on this hike!
If you only have enough time for a half-day hike, turn around at the top of the falls, it’s an incredible hike in itself. If you’re feeling like you have a couple more rounds of hiking left in ya, continue on up the mountain in the steps of half-dome hikers toward Nevada falls.
Tip: If you’re on a layover and only have one day, I recommend doing the half-day hike version up to Vernal Falls, and then turn around and take a scenic drive through the valley and up to Glacier Point. Glacier Point and many of the vistas on the way up are iconic and simply not to be missed on a first visit to Yosemite. You’ll have amazing, epic views of Yosemite icons such as Half-dome, el Capitan and even the waterfalls you hiked to on the Mist Trail. If you’re traveling with your other half, this is a spot for some very romantic canoodling pics.❤
Accommodations: Camping can be rough, not because it’s not enjoyable, but because so many people want to do it in Yosemite. Book in advance, or arrive EARLY, we’re talking before the butt crack of dawn for one of the first come first serve camp sites. If you are able to book in advance, there is a great camp site just steps away from the Mist Trail hike. If you decide to stay in town, about twenty minutes from the Yosemite gate is a small town called Groveland with the oldest saloon in California. It’s pretty damn cool and I highly recommend experiencing the tiny town and to stay at the Groveland Inn for a night. Nightowls be warned, nothing is open past five or six pm.
For Flight Crew: Close airports…you have many to choose from! FAT, SMF, SFO, OAK, SJC…you could even do some farther airports such as STS and RNO and make a road trip out of it. I’m closest to the OAK airport and it’s a beautiful three hour drive.
Venture out to California and experience Yosemite and I promise you wont be disappointed. If you only have a day, do the Mist Trail Hike to the top of Vernal Falls, and tour the Yosemite Valley and up to Glacier Point for an unforgettable whirlwind trip. If you have more than a day, make sure to add the famous Sequoia grove to your list and well as Mirror Lake and many of the other incredible sites in this grand national park.
Do you love Yosemite as much as I do? Let me know where your favorite spots are!
XOXO The Luv Aviatrix