We just got back from our very first visit EVER to the Yosemite National Park and now we keep wishing that we could visit there again and again. A visit that we were looking forward to since we first started planning our US trip this year. Yosemite is a place that needs to be seen immediate to be truly appreciated. Immerse up nature’s glory, breathe deep the pine-scented air, Dive into jaw dropping scenes and feel very small among the splendor of Yosemite’s great outdoors.
Yosemite National Park in central California, USA is best known for the amazing breathtaking views, dramatic waterfalls, abundant wildlife, and awe-inspiring cliffs. Millions of people every year journey to this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Whether you’re looking for the adventure vacation of a lifetime, want to immerse yourself in the stillness of nature—or simply hike, backpack or ski in one of the most beautiful places on earth, you’ll find your place in Yosemite.
Yosemite is a true natural jewel, and there’s so much to see that you could spend months taking in everything that the park has to offer. Unfortunately, we just had a day to explore this beauty. Of course, just one day is not enough to explore almost 1200 square miles of Yosemite National Park, in fact it only scrapes the surface but we spent our time wisely & So, here we have jotted down all our favorite sites you must see when heading to Yosemite in one day and make the best of your journey.
— BEST WAY TO GET YOSEMITE–
Start early to explore the most of Yosemite. We booked the day tour, The Extranomical Tours from San Francisco to Yosemite and started the tour around 6am. It’s the perfect tour if you don’t have much time or if it’s your first visit and want to get your bearings before exploring Yosemite in depth.
After about 90 mins of drive, Oakdale was our 1st stop to grab some breakfast and sip a hot coffee at Raley’s store. From here, another 2 hours’ drive to Yosemite Entrance is quite scenic and breathtaking with Valley Views all around. Try and get to Yosemite as early as possible if you’re going on a weekend. You don’t want to spend the beginning of your day in nature waiting in a line of SUVs. When you enter the park, you’ll be surrounded by people from all over the world.
— KNOW THE WEATHER —
- May and June are the best months to see waterfalls.
- July and August could be the best months to hike through the park
- September/October offers great temperatures with fewer visitors.
- Winters offers the Yosemite Ski Area and you might catch a glimpse of the Natural firefall.
— GREAT THINGS TO DO AT YOSEMITE —
There’s a lot to do at Yosemite, and much of it is free after you pay the entrance fee. but Like us, if you only have a day to explore this stunning beauty, Here are the highlights of Yosemite must-dos from our recent day-trip to make the most of it .
HIKE THE TUOLUMNE GROVE OF GIANT SEQUOIAS:
Take a walk to Giant sequoias, the largest known trees living on earth, grow only on the western side of the Sierra Nevada. The Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias is one of three sequoia groves in Yosemite National Park. This trail is less crowded than the larger Mariposa Grove.
We stopped by the Grove on our way from Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley. The initial hike from the parking lot to the trees is steep, however, the actual Grove trail is relatively flat. The two-mile round-trip hike to Tuolumne Grove is the shorter and more popular of the two trails. Be equipped for a vertical downhill walk to the grove, followed by a rigid uphill climb back to reaach your bus/Car.
Engross the greatness of the giant sequoias presence once you reach to the first of these enormous trees. You will be stumbled with the scale of these ancient living trees and make sure to wander through the entire grove. Don’t miss the Dead Giant sequoia (also called the Tunnel Tree), which you can walk through. Make Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias part of your personalized Yosemite National Park itinerary.
- Hiking Shoes
STOP OVER AT TUNNEL VIEW VISTA POINT:
After our hike to the giant trees, we continued our journey in the park and the next must-see stop was Tunnel View Vista Point. Here you will experience one of the most spectacular views of Yosemite Valley, a view that includes Bridalveil Falls, El Capitan and Half Dome. If you are sunset catcher and have time in hand, you should definitely come back here to watch one of the most spectacular sunset.
No matter where you come from and which direction you approach the park from, Tunnel View is a must-do stop. With wide-open skies and bordered by forest of pine trees, this viewpoint is perfect picture location of the most famous panorama of Yosemite Valley. We took time to watch the clouds roll in and out. We watched people from all over the world staring at this supreme view and pampering themselves. The majesty of the Yosemite Valley and its features are worth taking at least ten minutes to just chill and indulge in ourselves.
EXPERIENCE THUNDERING BRIDALVEIL FALLS
A short walk from Tunnel View point will lead you to the base of Bridalveil Fall, allowing you to get an up-close view of this often-desolate waterfall.When you’re looking out from Tunnel View in Yosemite National Park, you get to see so much beauty including these Bridalveil Falls at the right side.
These are the first waterfall you’ll see when entering Yosemite Valley. You can easily hike the paved trail up to the base of Bridalveil Fall and in peak flow you’ll enjoy the drenching mists that swirl at the base of the falls.
VIEW ROCK CLIMBERS AT EI CAPITAN
El Capitan is 3,000 vertical feet of sheer rock granite is an ideal for visitors, a ponder for photographers and one of the world’s ultimate challenges for climbers. It’s the Nose wall was first climbed in 1958 in 47 days using “siege” tactics: climbing in an expedition style using fixed ropes along the length of the route, linking established camps along the way.
While in the Park we did see some mountaineers on the face of the rock and it was so inspiring. Taking binoculars with you is advisable.
GET DRENCHED AT YOSEMITE FALLS
Perhaps one of the most breathtaking sights in Yosemite National Park is Yosemite Falls. Yosemite Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in the world at 2425 feet (780 m), and is most impressive during the spring months. Yosemite Falls is comprised of three sections: the upper falls, the middle cascades and the lower falls.
Lower Yosemite Fall is easily accessible from the Valley. The top of Upper Yosemite Fall may be reached via a steep, strenuous, and usually crowded 3.5 miles (5.6 km) hike, leading to an observation deck with fantastic views atop. It may also be reached via several routes from the Tioga Road to the north. The great thing about the sheer size of Yosemite Falls is that it can be exhibited throughout different regions and viewpoints in the Yosemite Valley.
IMMERSE IN THE SCENIC EXQUISITENESS AT YOSEMITE VALLEY VIEW
Here you’ll see a beautiful portrait of the Merced River skirted by massive El Capitan on the left and the towering twin Cathedral Rocks and Spires. Be sure to stop off at this roadside lookout as you leave the Yosemite Valley down to mariposa grove. The lovely and serene Merced River polishes the foreground between these two icons providing some beautiful texture to nature. This is the perfect picture to get soaked yourself in the nature and of course get some wonderful hands on photography here.
Valley View is a must stop viewpoint in Yosemite National Park.
- Bug spray
- Warm clothes
TAKE A DIP AT TENAYA LAKE
Enjoy its remarkable scenic qualities, its inviting blue water, and its proximity to Tioga Road, Tenaya Lake is one of the most popular destinations for summer visitors in Yosemite. Tenaya Lake is another beautiful stopover in Yosemite National Park, located between Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows. It is a magnificent High Sierra lake surrounded by granite domes, lodgepole forests, and Yosemite’s vast wilderness.
And it is quite a popular spot for kayaking, boating, swimming and even sunbathing. The Tenaya Lake is one of Yosemite’s quite impressive lakes and you don’t even need to hike to it because it sits right off the Tioga Pass road. This is a perfect spot to stop and maybe catch some lunch, there’s picnic tables located on the eastern shore of this lake, along with a small parking lot.
— FOOD BITES AT YOSEMITE —
The Ahwahnee (now named The Majestic Yosemite) dining room is the park’s most famous place to eat, but there are plenty of other options. Lovely dining room with Serving a Sunday brunch featuring nine buffet stations, but it’s so popular that reservations are a must during busy times.
You can also choose to grab a bite at the food court near the Yosemite Lodge where they serve Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian food options. We loved grabbing a Pizza bites here.
— BEST PHOTO SPOTS IN YOSEMITE —
- Tunnel View
- Glacier point
- Yosemite falls & Half dome
- Vernal and Nevada Fall,
- Valley View
- Olmsted Point
- Tuolumne Meadows
— TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOSEMITE —
- If you plan on visiting Yosemite Valley, please arrive in the valley no later than 8 am to avoid traffic and to be able to get a parking spot if you are driving your car.
- Take a guided Yosemite tour – Ride with an experience tour guide who will show you all the iconic spots and give you insider information.
- It is advisable to carry Yosemite National Park’s map along with you on your journey.
- Know the weather before you plan to visit.
- Fuel up before you get there
- Stay well, healthy and hydrated to hike trails in the park.
Allow yourself to surrender to the natural wonders, modern marvels and glorious views of Yosemite. Yosemite is the place where memories are made and talked about for years to come.
Have you been to Yosemite? What was your favorite sight? Share with us in the comments.