Forget Disneyland. Have a play around Yosemite in one day.
Yosemite National Park is California’s premier nature theme park, and there is enough to excite any adventure seeker with a set of car keys. Driving around the park is recommended as there is a lot to see and do, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be stretching those legs. Trust me; there is enough respite! Expect to see dramatic waterfalls, serene streams, dome mountains, jagged peaks, towering Godzilla-like trees and valleys that encompass every bit of a fairy tale storybook scenery. Yes, this place is both spectacular in beauty and mixture of nature’s finest.
A trip to Yosemite is a breath of fresh air literally from the bustle of both San Francisco and Los Angeles. With Yosemite being only a four and five hours’ drive from each respective city, there is no excuse to combine to nature play with your city stay.
Here we highlight how you can ace your visit to Yosemite in one day.
So many domes, so little time! Yosemite is beautifully littered with them.
The granite Sentinel Dome peaks at almost 2500 metres above sea level and is one of Yosemite’s most accessible hikes (1 – 2 hours) – just be cautious of altitude sickness. Once on top, you get rewarded with 360′ views of Yosemite’s natural skyscrapers, including the parks’ other domes North, Basket and Half Dome.
It is also within easy reach from Glacier Point Road if you want to kick start the day on a more relaxed note.
Get out the car and give your legs a bit of a work out by hiking up to Taft Point.
The 3.5 km trail from Glacier Point Road is worth the stretch as Taft Point wows with its dramatic vistas of Yosemite Valley, including El Capitan and Yosemite Falls. Before you reach those views worth every bit of your camera SD card storage, you will be stepping onto the mountains’ fissures, vertical incisions in the valley wall.
The hike is both a walk in the woods literally and figuratively, with the hike being suitable for beginners.
Waterfalls never cease to amaze, and Yosemite Falls certainly does not.
Yosemite Falls is the largest in Yosemite, and one of the tallest in the world, with it cascading down at nearly 740 metres. It is made up of three waterfalls; Upper Yosemite, the middle cascades and Lower Yosemite Fall.
Both Lower Yosemite Falls and middle cascades are popular spots for photo opportunities.
It is also possible to check out the falls from afar (check Glacier Point and Taft Point).
See one of Yosemite’s most famous attractions, El Capitan (also known as El Cap).
This granite rock formation is striking for its vertical appearance and is popular with rock climbers eager to take on its 914-metre height. If rock climbing is not your thing, there are plenty of other ways to appreciate El Cap’s splendour.
Choose to have a picnic lunch in its meadow below or take a splash in refreshingly cold mountain waters in a stream nearby – the perfect respite for a hot day! (Remember to pack the swimmers!) Having El Cap as a backdrop for both activities is truly remarkable.
If there is one place in to put your existence in the world into perspective, Mariposa Grove is it. It is home to the world’s oldest and largest trees – sequoias – and they mesmerising in their sheer size and auburn beauty.
It is easy to feel as small as a Lego character walking around the enormous trees. A small car can even fit through the trunk of the trees, and the trees can reach heights up to 76 metres, towering the Sydney Opera House (65 metres) – whoa!
There is also a dead sequoia tree laying down to get a horizontal view of how goliath these trees are. Seeing its intertwining roots is unreal too – they are huge!
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End your grand tour of Yosemite with a climax.
Head to Glacier Peak to get panorama fever with sweeping views of all Yosemite’s natural star attractions – waterfalls, granite peaks and Yosemite Valley – all over 900 metres above the valley floor. Expect to see significant crowds as this place is the pinnacle viewpoint of Yosemite.
Indulge in an extra sweetener to your Yosemite experience by grabbing a sweet (ice-cream, chips or icy cold beverage) from the shop at Glacier Point. You know you have earned it after blitzing Yosemite in one day!
The Pines Resort – Located along Bass Lake, The Pines Resort is the only lakeside resort in the Yosemite region.
54432 Road 432, Bass Lake, California 93604
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Julia travelled as a guest of Visit Yosemite, and all thoughts and opinions are of her own.