It has been a dream of ours to travel to Yosemite National Park for years. We had it on multiple bucket lists of places we wanted to see. So when we decided to move out of California, it was bumped up to the top of the list of places we had to visit before we move.
We wanted to provide you with an Ultimate Guide to a short visit to Yosemite National Park. We wanted to answer any questions you have for what to do in Yosemite, or how to acquire Yosemite Reservations, etc. This is our personal experience, and we really hope that it blesses you for if/when you make the trip up the mountain to Yosemite Valley.
Stefanie got up one morning and said, “Do you want to drive up to Yosemite today?”
**We took our dog Honey Bear with us. Dogs are not allowed in certain parts of the park so make sure to keep an eye out for signs and you can always ask rangers questions if needed.
**If you happen to run into any wildlife while in the park make sure to keep your distance. Bears and deer might be friendly, but interacting with them can be detrimental to you and the life of the animal. Plus, you will be fined heavily for that interaction.
Yosemite National Park Reservations
One of the things that you have to remember to do before you book your trip is going to the Yosemite National Park Reservation website and book a time for you and your family/friends to visit the park. We happened to get lucky and visit before the reservation system started (literally two days before). Make sure that you don’t book your hotel until you have done this. They are booked solid for at least a month and a half out, so keep that in mind when trying to plan your trip.
Best Hikes In Yosemite National Park
We love hiking. However, we are not necessarily inclined to do the 15-18 mile hikes that some people are willing to do (ya’ll are savage!) but we love a 2-6 mile hike that gets us to an awesome destination. For us, we had a few favorites.
Sentinel & Cook’s Meadows: EASY
Sentinel and Cook’s Meadows in Yosemite are a clear favorite of ours when coming into the park. You have views of Lower Yosemite Falls as well as El Capitan and Half Dome. With panoramic views of the scaling walls of the valley, this is an absolute must-see and could very well take an entire day of exploring to fully take it all in. We had fun picnicking by the water, then heading up towards Lower Yosemite Falls. The meadow is peaceful, tranquil, and quite breath-taking. We highly recommend!
We had fun picnicking by the water, then heading up towards Lower Yosemite Falls.
How to find it:
Once you reach the one way loop in the park, you have to pass swimming bridge before you reach parking for the meadow which will be on the left hand side. A good marker for knowing if you are in the right place is the chapel which will be towards the end of the meadow on the right hand side.
Lower Yosemite Falls: EASY
Lower Yosemite Falls is a great short hike if you are looking to view a beautiful waterfall and if you don’t mind crowds. With parking along the side of the road, or if you parked at Cook’s meadow, it is a short walk over. The falls are very epic, and can be seen from many of the meadows in the valley. This short hike is well worth the short walk if you are trying to get close to a waterfall without having to put in a multi-mile day.
Glacier Point: EASY
Making the trip to Glacier Point is an absolute must if you are staying near the valley. The drive is around 45 minutes from the main area, but it is so worth it. Make sure you check the weather because the road will be closed if there's a chance of snow. You will get panoramic views of the entire park and all of the major peaks. A breath-taking and magic experience and totally doable for anyone of any ability. For us, (we went in may) The parking was open, and we could walk around with ease to take in all of the beauty. On your way out from Glacier Point, make sure to stop by Taft Point if you are looking for a short 2 mile round trip hike.
These are easy to couple together, so if you are planning to go up to Glacier Point, make sure to plan to stop by Taft as well.