Yosemite National Park should be on top of everyone the places they need to visit, the magical peaks facing granite, the continent's highest waterfall, the vast Sequoia forests and everything in between. This unique park is located just two hours from San Francisco, and is also very accessible to people looking for a weekend to reconnect to nature and recharge their batteries.
While you can enjoy Yosemite by driving across hundreds of miles of traversing parks, hiking shoes and hitting lanes are by far the best choice for a true taste of everything Yosemite has to offer. In this short article, we will provide five quick tips to help you get ready for a walk in Yosemite National Park.
1. Choose the best time of the year
Imagine rounding a curve in a lane to find a beautiful meadow full of elk grazing quietly. As the camera arrives to capture this perfect moment, a family of hikers comes with many noisy kids around the curve as well and scores dozens of elk destroying the perfect moment and the perfect picture. If you choose to visit Yosemite during the extreme summer months, you will likely meet a large crowd as well.
According to the National Park Service, approximately 1.7 million people visit the park every year during the summer months in June, July, and August. This is a lot of visitors in a short period of time. If you have scheduling flexibility, consider visiting Yosemite earlier in the year. The spring months, especially from mid to late April, are a unique experience as melting snow transforms the entire park into a dark green color. Only 6% of Yosemite visitors go in April, so you'll likely have a lot of time to sit and think about grazing elk in the meadow.
2. Exit from Yosemite Valley
Yosemite is a huge area, but the vast majority of visitors reside within the Yosemite Valley which accounts for less than 1% of the total land area of the National Park. While the valley is definitely beautiful and offers stunning views of some of the most famous pictures of the park, there are certainly other places worth exploring for the park in Yosemite.
Over 95% of the park is designated wild, so consider exploring some of the best paths outside of Yosemite Valley. Check out this site for some quality recommendations for hiking options around the park.
3. Choose wisely between one-day trips and backcountry trips
While some people long for long periods away from any sign of civilization, others prefer a quick trip into the wildlife offered by mountain hikers. Fortunately, Yosemite National Park offers the best of both worlds. For families and people who don't want to carry a 50-pound bag with the essentials to survive the night in the bears country, there are dozens of daily trips that can be taken around the park. In fact, one of Yosemite's most amazing features, Half Dome, can be reached in a day if you have a lot of stamina.
Other good day trips include trips to places like Yosemite Falls, Mariposa Grove of Sequoia Forest, Taft Point and Lake Ostrander. Even if you are not in the best physical condition, the park also provides short nature tours for people who want to experience the beauty of the park but who are physically unable to attract up to 17 miles of narrow paths.
If you want to head into the wilderness on a one-day or several-day afternoon backpacking trip, there are actually an infinite number of ways you can weave together across thousands of miles of hiking trails that intersect the park. Make sure to apply early for your backcountry permit and it's free. You can find more information about obtaining this permit on the National Park Service website here.
4. Bring the camera
When you plan a trip to Yosemite, you also want to bring a high-quality camera. There are unlimited opportunities to take the perfect shot. From beautiful views of foggy valleys, and gorgeous sunset shots as the sun's rays shine on the granite faces of the massive mountains, to the serenity and mystery of the giant Sequoia forests, one of the best ways to hike through Yosemite is to find the perfect place for that once in a photo opportunity age .
Tunnel View Lookout Point is a great place to start as it offers the best panoramic view of Yosemite Valley and all the most famous features in the park. Also consider taking a trip outside the valley to Tuolomne Meadows. This less visited part of the park is awash with natural beauty waiting for your lenses to pick it up.
5. Pack the bags
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you want to get the right equipment. Nothing is worse than not being able to fully enjoy the wonder and beauty of walking up to Yosemite Falls because your back pack rubs a blister on your shoulder or because the cheap bezel bundle pushes you crazy with a squeaky, squeaking sound with every step you take.
Before planning your trip to Yosemite, be sure to do your research about the bag that best suits your type of walking. For starters, check out the comparison of these backpacks from LiveOnceLiveWild.
Hiking in Yosemite, whether you take a one-hour stroll through a natural lane or face the hiking challenge hundreds of miles across the Yosemite Wilderness, it will leave you with memories for life. By planning your trip at the right time of the year, getting out of Yosemite Valley, planning the best increases for your skill level, and bringing the right camera and bag with you, your trip will definitely be epic.