Travel Tips - Visiting Yosemite National Park, California USA

"None can escape its charms. Its natural beauty cleans and warms like a fire, and you will be willing to stay forever in one place like a tree" said John Muir about Yosemite Park. Wander around for a day or stay overnight and you shall find out why. One of the most popular national parks in America, Yosemite Park is huge with an area that covers a total of 3,027 km². Located in the central Sierra Nevada of California, Yosemite Park is full of wonders like the highest waterfall in North America, beautiful meadows, hiking trails, forests, mountains and stunning valleys, a giant sequoia tree and much more.

Though a day is not enough to cover the park, depending on your interests you can still make the most of your one day visit.



How Do I Get To Yosemite:
We booked a car for our one day visit to Yosemite from San Francisco that took us approximately 3 hours and also found it very convenient to move within the various points of interests in the park. If you want to use public transport, which may be a doable but time consuming option, take a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to Richmond station and cross over to the Amtrak side and travel till Merced station on the on the San Joaquin line. From the station get on the YARTS bus to Yosemite that will drop you in a center point of the park. From here use the free shuttle service run by the Park that connects all the main attractions and hotels in the main part of Yosemite Valley. Alternatively there are tours operators that design a variety of tours from many destinations like SFO, Las Vegas, Los Angeles  and more to Yosemite Park.

Picture Perfect Moments En-route Yosemite



Best Time To Visit:
Though Yosemite National Park can be visited the entire year, the best time to visit is springtime between March and May. The park is more greener and the snow melts, boosting the various waterfalls. The park also is devoid of summer rush and more peaceful.  If you like colder weather, travel between December and March, just like many winter sports lovers. Summertime- June till August are the most crowded times. Fall i.e between October-November is a quieter time to soak in the spectacular scenery of Yosemite in some peace and quiet. The waterfalls may have less water during this time but you get to see some good colors of fall as deciduous trees like big-leaf maples and black oaks tend to be showy around mid-October. Do check the National Park Service website as snowfall may result in closure of some approach roads and roads within the park. 

The Beautiful Yosemite Valley



What To Do:
I found this as the most difficult question to answer to eager friends and family. There is just so much to do at Yosemite. But depending on your interests, make an itinerary in advance. Start with Yosemite Valley that offers views of stunning waterfalls (good flow of water during spring) like and famous rock formations like the Cathedral Rocks and El Capitan best viewed from El Capitan Meadow located along one-way North-side Drive of the valley. Stop at Tunnel View which provides one of the most famous views of Yosemite Valley for unforgettable pictures. Sentinel Bridge offers stunning views of  Half Dome (Yosemite's most famous rock formation) reflected in the Merced River. Drive to Glacier Point accessible by car from late May through October/November, located on the south wall of Yosemite Valley offers breathtaking views of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome and Yosemite waterfalls. Mariposa Grove has many giant sequoia trees for ideal for a picnic lunch. The Yosemite Museum, located next to the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center displays the rich cultural history of Yosemite's native Miwok and Paiute people from 1850 to the present.

One Of The Many Stunning Rock Formations At Yosemite




Rest Besides A Lake At Yosemite National Park

Bidding Adieu To Yosemite With A Picturesque Sunset

Where To Sleep And Eat: 
Yosemite National Park has as many as 13 camp grounds out of which some can be reserved in advance. Additionally there are park lodging and private hotels too that offer a comfortable stay. There are a number of restaurants and dining options available all year round in Yosemite Valley and a few other sites. Check this site to know more about lodging options. Groceries are also easily available at various points of interest. Settle down in one of the many picnic areas to enjoy a quiet meal in wilderness.



What To Pack:
This mainly depends on the time and duration of your visit but here is a comprehensive list. Comfortable shoes or sneakers, Hat, Sun protection, Umbrella/Raincoat for showers, Camera, Phone and Chargers, Power Bank, Change of clothes, Wet Wipes, Water bottle, Fleece/ Wool lined Warm Clothing, Gloves, long wool socks during winters and a bag to keep this all safely.

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