If there is one thing you should definitely do while visiting California, it’s the Yosemite National Park. Last April, I went on an amazing adventure in San Francisco and I just couldn’t leave San Francisco without doing a detour to Yosemite National Park.
The park itself is massive, just a bit more than 3,000 square meters. It’s part of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains and home to incredible views, stunning colours at all seasons and amazing wildlife. You could spend a day or a week in Yosemite, there will always be something to discover.
So if you are hesitating to take a detour to Yosemite National Park (and believe me you shouldn’t), well take a look at my top reasons to go there and don’t tell me you don’t want to go after reading this!
1. American Nature & National Parks at its best
The United States counts 58 national parks. Some are very famous, some are less visited but all have something unique. “No temple made with human hands can compete with Yosemite”, that’s what John Muir, American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher, and glaciologist, said of the park.
Well I guess many people agree with this because Yosemite welcomes more than 5 million visitors every year. Quite an impressive number but an equally impressive park!
2. The waterfalls – especially in April
This is something I had no idea before doing a bit of reading before my trip to Yosemite: April and Spring in general are the best months to visit the park. Why? Because of the heavy rains previously and mostly the snow melting, the waterfalls are just flowing!
And not just flowing, they are just pouring, lashing all of the water onto earth. You’ll definitely understand when trying to get closer. You’re not even close that you can feel a light mist to downpouring rain! Beware for your cameras.
3. The views
You know those green screens where you put some incredible landscape and make it feel like it’s real? Well it’s quite the feeling when you get to Tunnel View in Yosemite Park.
I was just stunned by the beauty of the landscape, the light, the trees, the sky… All looked almost fake as it was so beautiful. Like if someone painted it or just took a picture and put it in front of me.
But no, it was very real! And the view keep delivering all along the park. Tunnel View, Half-dome, El Capitan during hikes… There’s enough for you to be amazed! I only wish I could go to Glacier Point but it’s open only during Summer months.
4. Feeling tiny among nature
That’s another surprising feeling I had when getting to Yosemite: among all those huge trees, big spaces and massive rocks, I felt just… tiny. But in a good way, nature is so majestuous there that I just felt as a little part of this world and it kind of felt good to just go back to basics and just appreciate the moment and surroundings.
5. Many incredible hikes for all levels
Yosemite National Park has over 800 miles of trails so as many options to go around for any levels. I’ve seen many different types of visitors in the park, families, young, old, couples, singles… But all hikes are very accessible and some are very easy to do and still deliver for the views.
You can’t go to Yosemite without at least one leading to a fall! One of my favourite ones was the Mirror Lake Hike very early in the morning with no one around. I loved the wild track and observing the valley from the end of the hike.
6. There’s something for everyone there
Kind of linked to my previous point, everyone will be satisfied at Yosemite National Park. There is a lot of choice on where you want to stay: hostel, luxurious hotel, camping, lodge… More choice for food: restaurants, cafeteria. And lots of choice to visit around: organised tours, adventure tours, by yourself, etc.
7. The wildlife
Yosemite National Park is home to approximately 90 species. There you’ll easily see birds, squirrels, mammals like deers and mice, fishes. You can also see bears although not as easily. Funny fact, there’s been 68 human-bear incidents in 2016.
Well funny, maybe not as this isn’t the best situation! Wherever you stay in the park, you’ll be reminded to absolutely not feed the wildlife and stay away from it to not get animals used to humans and hence avoid dangerous situations.
8. Not far from big cities like SF, LA , San Jose, Sacramento
Yosemite National Park is “only” about 4-5 hours drive from San Francisco, even closer from San Jose and Sacramento. Even from Las Vegas or Los Angeles, it’s not that far if you are already on a road trip or have a few extra days.
You can rent a car and drive or you can research a bit if there are any tours leaving from where you are staying.
Should I give any more reasons or are my pictures enough to convince you :)? Congrats if you are going! Here are a few tips for you:
- Plan well in advance and research a lot. Research can really go a long way for your trip!
- Check weather conditions, especially for Winter and Spring.
- Decide how you want to go there: car, tour, transportation. There are some really good shuttles in Yosemite Valley but I’d to have a car next time I go there to see more!
- Choose what kind of visit you want to have: adventurous hikes, photography discovery, relaxing stay.
- Don’t go without a camera, you’ll regret not capturing the views!
- Have all kind of clothes, it can get hot or cold quickly.
Tips once there:
- Go stargazing! The sky is incredible and not that polluted so amazing to observe and even spot shooting stars.
- Don’t feed the wildlife! Don’t go close to it either. Many mice carry diseases that are quite serious.
- Check the shuttle schedule before you go on hikes, you don’t want to miss the last one and walk back.
- Spend at least 2-3 days in the valley. One day is not enough to see everything.
- Bring plenty of water and snacks + sunscreen.
If you'd like to see more pictures of my Yosemite trips, head over here to see more in my gallery!
And you, have you been to Yosemite? Let me know your story!