Yosemite is an absolute gem. The towering cliffs, colossal trees, and don’t forget that beautiful tunnel view (and also every other view you have everywhere you look). Recently, we took a trip to Yosemite. We spent three days and two nights, which was the perfect amount of time to see some beautiful sights, but left us wanting to come back for more. Check out our favorite highlights:
Drive Through The Tioga Road Entrance
Living in Idaho/Utah, we come to Yosemite from the East entrance. While it’s a long drive into the Valley, it’s not a chore to drive through the beauty of Yosemite. The alpine meadow landscape resembles Yosemite Valley, but it’s distinctly it’s own. You drive past still lakes, bald domes, and beautiful evergreens, but as you lose elevation, you will start to see the vastness of the mountains and valleys.
Have Breakfast In The Valley
No, we don’t mean at one of the restaurants or cafes. One of the most peaceful moments (despite being surrounded by many adventurers getting ready for climbs and hikes) was eating oatmeal and granola next to Nic on a bench looking at the sun rise over the tall stone walls. A cooking stove isn’t required either. PB sandwiches are just as satisfying, but it was colder, so warm food was definitely welcomed. We sat across the parking lot on Ahwahnee Drive on some benches looking into the meadow. We didn’t quite get a great shot, but take a peek at a very blurry screenshot of a video below.
Hike to Taft Point
It seems like every view in Yosemite is a popular view, so might as well look at the sought-after view of Taft Point. Not only is it a pretty quick hike (like 2 miles), it’s also a fantastic shot of the valley. While we didn’t hike it this time around, it was my first interaction with Yosemite a couple years ago, and it was the glimpse of the iconic National Park that made me want to come back.
Make Your Own Trail In The Mariposa Grove
After being closed since Spring of 2015 for restoration projects, Mariposa Grove has finally reopened. Remember before when I said that the landscape on Tioga Road is somewhat different? Well, Mariposa Grove feels like an entirely contrasting place when you compare it to the popular valley views. It is home to the powerful redwood trees.
You take a (FREE!) bus to the main point where many of the trails start. While there are some suggestions of trails, we decided to be creative, as well as hit as many sights as possible while making our way to the top of Wawona Point. The trails connect often, so you can change up your path often when you come to forks in the road. Heading to Wawona, Point, it gets quieter and quieter as you walk the same steps as Native Americans and legends like John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt. Don’t forget to take in the history and read the signs! Find our route on the map below: red was the way up and blue was the way down.
Extra points: hug a tree
Camp in National Forest
In the fine words of Nic: “Do it”. Camping in national forest means that it’s free game. Revel in the fact that you’re camping without the expenses, but don’t expect any amenities and always maintain excellent camping/outdoor habits. Our favorite that we set up camp (aka making a bed in the back of Nic’s Subaru Crosstrek) included a small spot literally outside the Mariposa Grove entrance called the Goat (greatest of all time?) Meadow Camp/Snow play Area. It offers many spots to just pull off with a car, tent, van, or RV. Plus, the best part? It’s two minutes from the Mariposa entrance.
Yosemite is an icon. Even Muir and Roosevelt knew that way back then. But there’s one thing for sure. This trip just solidified that we will be back around again. We took pictures of the saplings at Mariposa Grove, and we can’t wait to compare in the near and distant future. Plus, Half Dome… we’re coming for you.