Dreaming California

This spring, we had a wonderful couple of days in Yosemite Valley. We camped in the Upper Pines and took the free shuttle around the valley to different hikes and lookout spots. We packed many adventures into our short trip, but I imagine it’s a wonderful place to be if you have a longer time to spend exploring and admiring the natural wonders of the park.

If you're planning a trip to Yosemite, these are the things I would recommend doing while you're there:

  1. The Mist Trail. We didn’t even hike the entire trail, but the first half of it was breathtaking. You climb steep, slippery rock stairs to the top of Vernal Falls. It is a little intense physically, and you should wear a rain coat and sturdy shoes.
  2. The Ahwahnee Hotel. We camped while we were in Yosemite, but we made a trip to the Ahwahnee just to see it. The hotel is gorgeous, and it was built to highlight its natural surroundings. You can eat at the cafe and browse the beautiful art in the hotel shop.
  3. Mirror Lake. We had a great dusk walk to Mirror Lake, which really was as clear as a mirror. It’s an easy walk for the end of the day after hiking and riding the shuttle bus from camp to all your adventures.
  4. Lower Yosemite Falls Trail. A highlight of Yosemite Valley, the train was rather crowded, but you get a wonderful view of both Lower and Upper Yosemite Falls. I didn’t realize the number and scale of the waterfalls throughout Yosemite, and you really get a good idea of it here.

Yosemite is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, and I would love to go back during the summer when you can raft in the river and camp when the weather is warm. Be sure to book your campsite as far in the future as possible, because like most California parks, spots fill up quickly.