Travel Report: Yosemite National Park

Heaven on Earth. I am so biased towards Yosemite because this is where I discovered my love for the outdoors and it's also where I have spent the most time. I've logged the most miles in this park and I am always looking forward to adding more. 

Yosemite is such a treasure, but unfortunately most people spend all of their time on the valley floor. Check out this map for reference. Don't get me wrong, there are great day hikes from the valley floor, but the crowds are almost overwhelming. It feels like a small city during peak season. I encourage everyone to venture outside of the valley at some point. A couple of my favorite spots:

 Half Dome from Clouds Rest

Half Dome from Clouds Rest

Clouds Rest

Half Dome gets all of the hype, and it's well worth the crowds, but I think the view from Clouds Rest is arguably the best in the park. You get a great view of Half Dome with a fraction of the crowds. You can always hit Half Dome on the way back too. This is a 14.5 mile round trip  from the valley floor, but I would try to secure a backcountry permit and set up camp for an unbelievable sunset and sunrise at Clouds Rest.  

 

Tuolumne Meadows

There are great day hikes from Tuolumne Meadows, and while the area is still crowded, it's nothing like the valley floor. I recommend hiking the Cathedral Lake trail, this hike is 7-8 miles round trip depending on whether you hit both lakes, or just one. Other options are Sunrise Lakes, Dog Lake, Lembert Dome, or if you're looking for an easy stroll you can walk through Lyell Canyon. 

 Lyell Canyon 

Lyell Canyon 

Half Dome

 Half Dome chains before the crowds hit

Half Dome chains before the crowds hit

This is one of the main attractions of Yosemite, and if you have never done it I strongly suggest conquering this feat. Permits are difficult to secure, but if you are lucky enough to get one make sure you start this 14 mile round trip as early as possible. The cables can turn into a huge log jam and out of the three times I have hiked this trail I'm always so glad I am passing the crowds going down rather than fighting with them on the way up. 

 

Mono Pass

This hike is done from Tuolumne Meadows, it's the park boundary from Yosemite into Ansel Adams Wilderness. This hike is a top 10 for me, you get beautiful views especially once you are at the summit, especially of Lyell Canyon. There is a small pond that makes for a hell of a campsite if you are trekking this as an overnight trip. Side note, if backcountry permits are full for Yosemite you can start from Ansel Adams and reserve your Yosemite permits that way. Click here for more information

 Can you spot our tents by the pond?

Can you spot our tents by the pond?

There is plenty to see in Yosemite, whether you have a day, or an entire week I strongly recommend spending some time in the park. Some of my best memories are in Yosemite, and even before I leave the park I am already looking forward to going back.