Have you ever walked into an art gallery and felt captivated by the works in front of you? Or viewed a movie that’s set in the most picturesque of locales and found yourself staring in awe? That’s a glimmer of what you’ll experience amid the bounds of Yosemite National Park, except you’ll actually be live amongst the grand scapes and seemingly unreal land features. Whichever direction you avert your gaze will appear like an optical illusion due to the overwhelming beauty that surrounds. Whatever the reason, whichever the season, pack your bags and make the time to visit this nationally-protected haven for the wild.
The drive alone is a trip!
You know how the ‘getting there’ tends to be a somewhat daunting or irksome process? Not so the closer you get to the park’s boundaries. It’s twofold once you reach the park entrance; you’ll still have a bit of a drive within the park before you get to your campsite or final destination. For instance, on our latest trip we had about a 90-minute drive to the campgrounds we had selected, following entering the park. However, it was the quickest 90 minutes I’ve ever driven, because of how scenic the route was. From mountain ranges, to tall trees upon tall trees as far as the eyes can see, there’s plenty of sights to take in once inside the park. Also, having a drive of that length to reach a landmark within the park is a testament to just how large this locale really is!
Park fees and choosing a site
If you’re not sure which campsite to choose, it’s a good idea to start with checking the park’s website for the best seasonal campgrounds. Some sites are open, or highly recommended, during certain seasons. During the wintertime, many of the sites operate on a first come, first served basis, so a reservation is not always needed. When you enter the park, you’ll be greeted by helpful park attendants who can give you advice on the most popular campgrounds for your purpose. We ended up at Upper Pines Campground, which was the perfect location for optimal hiking, exploring and cross-country skiing. Park entry fees are 25 USD per car, and campsites are typically 25 USD per night. While there are places within the park to purchase firewood and supplies, you’ll want to come equipped with your own tents and / or camp-out gear.
Pick a site and set up camp
Once you’ve settled on a site and reached your destination, it’s time to set up camp! Each campsite is equipped with a fire pit, picnic table and nearby bathrooms. Campgrounds and campsites are easy to find due to the plethora of signs and numbers in plain sight. Also, there’s plenty of room at each site for you and your camping buddies to spread out and set up your tents, chairs, RVs and the like! Keep an eye out for wildlife around the sites. A curious coyote stayed close to our campground for the majority of our stay. You’ll find that the animals within the park are much more people-friendly, likely due to how well looked-after they are by the park rangers and staff.
Time to explore!
Whether you’re an avid hiker, mountain climber, photographer, skier (during the winter months), or just someone who loves the outdoors, there’s an abundance of nature-loving activities to partake in! Among the sights you won’t want to miss are the breathtaking Yosemite Falls and picturesque Mirror Lake. There is a trail that allows you to walk the ascent up the mountain to Yosemite Falls (Yosemite Falls Trail). The higher you climb, the closer you get to the falls, but you can catch a beautiful view of them after only a mile or two of hiking. Hikers of all skill levels can enjoy the exquisite scenery! Mirror Lake, a pristine clear body of water with a backdrop of snow capped trees and mountains, was only about a mile (1.6 kilometers) walk from Upper Pines campground. A stone’s throw for such a glorious destination!
Turns out Yosemite National Park is all it’s cracked up to be!
If you’re not scouring your calendar to schedule your next camping trip to Yosemite then it’s safe to say you haven’t yet visited this national park. There is so much to take in at this lush destination, with each corner and every season offering unique experiences. Beware: once you do venture to this pristine protected land, you’ll find yourself coming back for more adventures and expeditions!
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