Throughout our road trip, Colton and I have fallen in love with National Parks. Each one is better and better. This did not change in Yosemite. In fact, Yosemite became Colton’s favorite spot on Earth. We planned on spending two full days exploring Yosemite, but Maeve had other plans for us. Our first tow of the trip was the day we were supposed to leave for Yosemite. She decided not to start, because part of the condenser melted from the heat. Instead of Yosemite, that day was spent at the mechanic.
Yosemite National Park is located in the Sierra Mountain Range in northern California. There are valleys, rivers, meadows, giant sequoias, wilderness, and beautiful waterfalls that make up the 1,200 square miles of this park. It’s open 24 hours a day and extremely busy in the summer. Be sure to check out the website to verify road conditions before your visit. Many of the north roads close between November and June.
Where to stay
Ideally, book your stay well in advance (up to 5 months) through the National Park Service website to insure a camping spot in Yosemite. However, if you are one of the many people who can’t sit at your computer at exactly 7am PST and book it within seconds, there are other options just outside the park.
There are many adorable lodges, inns, and bed and breakfast driving in to the park. However, if you insist on camping, there are other options
High Sierra RV Park
We stayed at High Sierra RV Park the first night. It’s an RV park with clean showers and a great recreation room. Many campsites run along the river too. The ladies who work there are accommodating and helped us tremendously when we were having van issues. Although we were only here one night, it’s a great place to stay since it’s only an hour and a half drive to the Yosemite Valley visitor center.
Bass Lake Lupin campground
Since we were unable to prebook any spots in Yosemite, we looked in to grabbing a first come, first serve spot. None of the campgrounds that allowed first come were open , so we found a spot on Bass Lake at the Lupin campground.
This was a great spot to set up and spend a couple of nights. Each campsite has a lot of space. Although it is still an hour and half drive in to the park, the campsites are right next to the lake. You can rent a variety of water activities (jet skies, floats, tubes, boats, etc.) and spend some time out on the lake.
Grab a bite to eat at The Forks Restaurant and enjoy a slice of delicious pie. There are 3 other restaurants at Bass Lake conveniently located by the campsites.
What to do
Although camping and backpacking are huge in Yosemite, there are plenty of other things to do.
My favorite part of our entire trip was hiking in Yosemite. Colton and I took several trails and really got to see and experience Yosemite. Although it was a bit brutal, the mist hike is completely worth it. We got to the top, soaked and freezing, but quickly dried off in the sun and enjoyed the rest of the hike. Many of the trails intersect and split off to give you a variety of options and levels.
Yosemite is home to some of the best climbing in the world. Colton and I didn’t do it this time, but would love to our next time back.
Ride the free shuttle to each of the stops, and get out to explore. You don’t have to hike all of the trails to see everything. Enjoy the visitor center and gift shop, and grab a bite to eat on the large patio beneath the trees.
As with all parks, take photos. You will see a variety of animals, plants, and trees and have plenty of backdrops for gorgeous photos. Yosemite is truly a place where you can choose your own adventure or sit back and enjoy.
Pack a lunch or grab one from the visitor center and have a picnic. Set up camp at one of the many picnic tables throughout the park, or take it with you on a hike and set up on a rock or by a waterfall. There are plenty of beautiful places to enjoy a quiet lunch with a view.
Although many of the rivers are off limits for swimming right now due to high rapids and poor conditions, most bodies of water at Yosemite are swimmable. Mirror Lake is a great place to get a quick dip, since the hike from the shuttle stop to the lake is 1 mile with 100 ft. elevation.
Have you been to Yosemite National Park? Will you visit? Leave me a comment below!