Ok so we aren’t travelling today but to keep in theme with the blog that’s the title. In April we went on the most incredible trip and so many people have asked me to share my itinerary so here we go… (Part 1: California)
We flew into San Fransisco, hired a car, crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and started our adventure. Our first stop was meant to be Muir Woods but turns out you need to book way in advance for a parking spot or park and ride! So we found a lovely trial called the Tennesse Valley Trailhead. It’s a fairly easy trial and ends at a beautiful secluded beach. I would recommend this walk to anyone visiting SF for a few days and wanted to head out for a short walk. Next up, we drove to the main attraction… Yosemite.
I spent ages researching Yosemite so to save you all time I’ve summarised it all below.
When to visit?
Yosemite is a super popular tourist location- it get’s busy from late June until late September. Saying that though, this is when the temperatures are super high and there’s high risks of forest fires. If there are forest fires then they close parts of the park.
Again winter in Yosemite is meant to be incredible! But be prepared for snow… they usually warn drivers to carry snow chains and some of the higher hikes may not be open depending on snowfall that year.
Perfect to miss the crowds and avoid high temperatures. Still there are risks of sudden storms so be prepared and check the Yosemite website for up to date info on the roads.
If you haven’t guessed it yet then this is the season we chose… the waterfalls are in full force (and I mean they’re gushing down!) as the snow starts to melt. The temperature isn’t too high which means there is low risk of forest fires but there is still snow around. Unfortunately for us that meant that Tulumn grove was still closed and some of the higher trails were not advised BUT it was amazing to see the valley come to life.
Where to stay?
Ideally in Yosemite as the Valley has everything you could possibly need and you can make the most of your time there. However, most of the places look like they’re from 1970 or were fully booked by the time we were looking (I recommend booking a year in advance).
We stayed just outside Yosemite in Midpines and it took us an hour to reach the Valley everyday. For us this was fine as the drive is BEAUTIFUL and we enjoyed having our own space to cook and relax.
What to do?
There is so much to do in Yosemite and again it depends how much you want to cram into your day and how chilled out you want to take the trip. I would recommend 3 days to make sure you’re not too rushed. I’ve listed some suggestions below:
Yosemite Valley Loop
Bridalveil Falls (be prepared to get wet if you visit in spring)
Yosemite falls trail (easy loop that takes you through the lower Yosemite falls)
Mirror Lake (easy trail that takes you to a beautiful lake)
Cook’s Meadow Loop (easy loop and great place to relax and just enjoy the scenery)
Mist Trail (It’s in the name… it’s wet!) The Mist trail was our favourite hike in Yosemite… it takes you up to Vernal and Nevada Falls but be prepared to be soaked to the bone. I would recommend good hiking shoes and even hiking sticks to help you up the slippery granite steps.
Lunch by Half Dome Village- Enjoy some time to sit and look up at some of the highest points in Yosemite.
Drive to Yosemite Tunnel View. Probably the most iconic viewpoint for Yosemite. We spent a morning here sitting and painting and it was my favourite part of the trip… there’s merit to being slow.
We took the day to explore Maripose Grove, home of some of the massive Sequoia trees. The location is beautiful with a lovely little information kiosk, then a shuttle bus up to the main site. Be warned it’s so much colder up there! But trees are incredible.
It’s a great chilled day to walk through the routes, paint and enjoy a more relaxed day.
On the drive out we visited Hetch Hetchy but sadly didn’t manage to do any hikes as there were a lot of flooded paths and routes but I would definetly recommend it.
However, there are so many more trails and sadly many were not open. We would definitely recommend checking them out using the link here.
So that’s the bulk of our trip, but I’ll leave you with my final tips:
- Take a packed lunch so you can go on longer hikes
- Pack reusable water bottles that you can fill up from most information kiosks
- Have good supportive walking shoes (with good grip- especially if visiting in Spring when trials are wet)
- Pack a light Water proof jacket (for the mist trial)
- Plan your days to make the most of your trip there
- Park as soon as you find a good space as in busy season it can be difficult to find space (there is a shuttle bus you can take around)
- Walking sticks are helpful for the Mist trial but not needed for around the park as it’s very accessible
Finally, Enjoy and let me know how you’re trip is!
Next up, Route 1 Coastal Drive….