Yosemite National Park is in Sierra Nevada mountains, California. It has amazing vista of towering Bridalveil Fall and the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome. In our California trip we visited Yosemite National Park along with Sequoia National park & Kings Canyon Park. I have a separate blog which covers itinerary of the later. Please click here to navigate to that blog. From Kings Canyon, it was approximately 2 hours drive to Yosemite park. But on that day, there was wildfire going on and the roads were closed so we had to take a detour and reached Yosemite park very late than what we expected. Anyways because of this unfortunate incident we had only one day to spend in Yosemite, but somehow, we managed to see all the important destinations in the park.
We stayed at Yosemite Valley lodge which is in the park itself and our room had all the basic amenities. Views from the lodge were spectacular. Also, all the trails were close.
I booked a Glacier Point bus tour online which is a 4 hours round trip that covers all the important points but because of the wildfire bus tour was canceled. ☹ So we decided to take the car and see everything by ourselves.
If you are interested in doing a bus tour; there are few options to select. You can find that information here.
I personally like to do bus tours whenever possible as the tour guide gives very useful information about the park and we don’t have to worry about finding parking places.
While in Yosemite park we admired below points:
Bridalveil Fall is one of Yosemite’s most iconic waterfalls. It is an easy hike through a paved trail which takes you to the base of the falls. During spring and summer, it has good amount of water to flow. We visited it in the month of September and the falls were not exactly in its glory but we enjoyed the views.
Yosemite Falls in Yosemite Valley
The Yosemite Falls are visible from many vantage points when walking through the valley. It is very close from Yosemite Lodge. Falls are also an important stop of the hop-on/hop-off visitors’ bus. When we visited this place; there was very little force of water, but we enjoyed the views.
El Capitan is 3,000 vertical feet of sheer rock granite which you won’t be able to help but notice while your stay in valley. I remember when we were driving towards Yosemite at night; seeing these gigantic mountains at night left us awestruck.
We enjoyed views of the Half Dome from the valley; we didn’t hike but it was still most impressive. Its unique shape is easy to spot and is definitely “the” most well-known landmark in the park.
This spot is a great opportunity to take classic pictures of the views Yosemite has to offer. You will encounter the Yosemite Tunnel Viewpoint immediately upon exiting the Yosemite Tunnel. There are pullover car-parks on both sides of the road but its hard to find parking spot in busy season.
We accidentally stumbled upon this majestic beauty when we were heading to the Lake Tahoe from Yosemite park. The meadows stretch for miles and you can wander to your hearts content. Follow the river for a while and sit quietly away from the crowds and dive into the great views of the surrounding mountains.
Let me tell you; as much as we enjoyed Yosemite park itself, we enjoyed the drive from Yosemite to Lake Tahoe even more. We passed so many mountains, lakes, valleys; till date whenever I remember this drive, I get goosebumps. There was one spot where we were on a narrow road with 13,000 ft deep valley on both the side and a giant mountain was in front of us. But we definitely enjoyed all the thrills.
I was fascinated after seeing so many beautiful pictures of this gorgeous lake that I decided that trip to California would not be completed without visiting this lake. While we visited Lake Tahoe in September; it is more popular for winter activities when entire lake freezes and snow-covered mountains calls for ski lovers.
We enjoyed 3 days of our stay here leisurely, soaking in all the beauty around us. Last few days were very exhausting being constantly driving from park to park; we decided to take a break in this surreal place before heading to fun packed SFO.
We stayed in beautiful cottage of Cedar Glen Lodge. It’s a family owned business and I cannot stop talking about their hospitality. Breakfast was included in our stay and we really enjoyed their yummy breakfast every day. There was hot pool, and everything was clean and neat. There were couple of good restaurants close to this place.
We did biking in Flume trail. There are few shops offering bike rentals. When we visited Emerald Bay State Park, we took the long hike down to the bottom for Vikingsholm. We rented a kayak there and did rove around Fannette Island and then made a stop on the island; hiked up to the tea house. It’s a great spot to take pictures.
There is very limited parking at Emerald Bay State Park so go early.
We also visited Inspiration Point Vista which gives amazing views of the lake.
And now last but not the least a little secret 😛 “Secret beach” This beach gives the breathtaking views of the beach and good thing is its not very crowded place; kind of hidden gem. We went there before sunset and what we experienced was beyond words. Total surrender to the nature. You can see it in below picture.