Before visiting Yosemite I’d never really heard, or learnt much about it. I was one of those Australians that thought Yosemite was pronounced with the ‘mite’ like ‘Vegemite’. I have since learned the correct pronunciation Yoh-sem-i-tee.
Words can’t explain what I experienced on my visit to Yosemite. It’s truely like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.
When you arrive and pass through the tunnel on Wawona road, be sure to stop in at the tunnel view. There is plenty of parking, and you will get to see the most open view of the valley.
I was lucky enough to have a climber friend, who convinced me to visit, so I was able to see Yosemite (almost) from a climbers point of view. He knew where the approach, and retreat routes were for some awesome climbs. This made it an experience I’ll never forget.
How to get there
The best way to experience Yosemite is to hire a car. It’s about 5 hours from LA, and about 3 hours from San Fransisco, and this way you can spend as much time as you like with as much freedom as possible.
Alternatively, you can also book tours from San Francisco or LA.
Book in advance
There are a variety of things that you need to book in advance. Yosemite is extremely popular, so I highly recommend booking your accomodation and hiking permits in advance.
Some accomodation and hikes have a preseason lottery and then a daily lottery for tickets.
Go to recreation.gov to find out more and enter the lottery.
Vernal Fall is only 317 ft (96 m) tall but it’s among the most powerful waterfalls in Yosemite. Unlike Yosemite Fall or Bridalveil Fall, Vernal cannot be viewed from the valley floor by car. To see it you must get on the trail.
In the winter, the trail to the base of Vernal Fall generally remains open and you can walk a mile to the footbridge and enjoy a beautiful view from the base of the falls.
The best time of year for seeing Vernal Fall at peak flow is late April to early May, but this waterfall tends to run almost year round except for in late August and before the first rains of autumn. It can be slippery or icy in winter and some sections of the trail may close.
Four Mile Trail
Yosemite Valley Loop
Best way to see Yosemite’s landmarks such as El Capitan, Half Dome, Bridalveil Falls, Meadows, and the general camping areas is by car around the Valley Loop. This is where you will start your trip, you can park at trailheads to go hiking, climbing or camping.
During peak tourist season there’s a lot of congestion, so the best way to avoid this is by bike around the Valley Loop. The valley is only 7 miles long and 1 mile wide, so you it is definitely do-able by bike.
Glacier Point Road
As well as the walk you can easily drive to Glacier Point look out. It’s accessibly from the valley, however, it is dependant on the time of year and weather permitting.
Wawona Road is how you will find your way into the valley. Through Wawona Road if how you can get to Mariposa Grove, Wawona, Glacier Point Road and Wawona Tunnel. Wawona Tunnel has some of the most beautiful views, which you would have passed through on the way into the valley.
El Portal Road
El Portal Road is a great way to get a nice Valley view. You can access and see the the Merced River Gorge, which runs parallel El Portal Road, and make your way to El Portal (Community).
Along El Portal Road you can also find some crags to climb, like this one, if you’re into climbing.
Check out this short clip of some of the drives through Yosemite.
My Wish List
Half Dome Cable Route
Four Mile Tail
Yosemite National Park Essentials
Approach shoes or hiking shoes
First Aid Kit