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A Weekend Getaway Guide to Yosemite National Park

A Weekend Getaway Guide: Yosemite National Park

This is a trip for all the outdoor adventurers, hikers and nature lovers. Yosemite National Park is one of my favorite places in the world and it’s such a beautiful, majestic destination that people from all over California come to see.

How to Get There

Yosemite National Park is about a 6 to 7 hour drive from Los Angeles. There are multiple routes to get there but usually I take the 5N to the 99N to the 41E. The reason why it takes so long is because sometimes it’s a smaller highway and winding roads.

On our most recent trip, we drove up with the Chevy Traverse. It was a really comfortable and spacious ride with room for all our hiking gear. But I think the best feature was the in-car WIFI, because we could post all our photos and videos throughout the trip!

Yosemite National Park-Chevy Traverse

When to Go

Yosemite National Park is open year-round and accessible via Highways 41, 140, and 120 from the west. Tioga Pass Entrance (via Highway 120 from the east) is closed from around November through late May or June.

Reservations are not available or required to enter the park. Make sure you plan ahead as camping and lodging reservations can be booked up in advanced.

Yosemite’s rainy season is between October and May, most of that happens between November and March. Most of Yosemite is covered in snow from about November through May.

In my experience, the best times to go are between April and June or in September. The weather is nice and it doesn’t get too crowded until the busy summer season.

Where to Stay

For those of you who want to camp, here are 13 campgrounds in Yosemite National Park and you may make a reservation at www.recreation.gov.

Reservations are required year-round for Yosemite Valley’s car campgrounds and summer through fall for Hodgdon Meadow, Crane Flat, Wawona, and half of Tuolumne Meadows.

Campground reservations are available in blocks of one month at a time, up to five months in advance, on the 15th of each month at 7 am Pacific time. For reservations for the months of May through September, they are usually filled the first day they become available, usually within seconds or minutes after 7 am! So make sure you save the date and set an alarm so you don’t miss out!

You can also reserve a place to stay at Half Dome Village, where you have the option to book a room or tent with a shared or private bathroom. It’s very convenient to stay here as it’s in the middle of the park and close to many hiking trails.

Other places to stay inside of the Yosemite National Park include the Majestic Yosemite hotel, Yosemite Valley Lodge, Big Trees Lodge.

Things to Do

There are literally a million things to do in Yosemite National Park. Besides the walking around and just enjoying being surrounded by nature, here are some recommendations of how to spend your time here.

Hiking

There are endless trails for hikers of all levels. For beginners, there’s Bridalveil Falls, Happy Isles, and Lower Yosemite Falls.

For intermediate hikers, there’s Artist Point, Inspiration Point, and the Mist Trail. The Mist trails includes a visit to Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls.

For those looking for something even more challenging, there’s Upper Yosemite Falls, the Four-Mile Trail and Half Dome.

I’ve hiked Half Dome and gone up the cables twice now and both were amazing experiences! It is required to have a permit, so you can enter the lottery every year on March 1st or take your chances on a walk-in permit. It is a long and strenuous hike, so make sure that you are fully-prepared. It is best to bring gloves for you to use when climbing the cables so that you don’t hurt your hands.

Biking

Rent a bike and explore Yosemite Valley on two wheels! You can avoid the crowds on the shuttles and get to places faster!

Rafting

Rent a raft and enjoy a ride down the Merced River. Rentals are available at Half Dome Village from 10am-4pm.

Swimming

Take a dip and cool off in the Merced River in the eastern of the Yosemite Valley. There are also designated swimming areas at Tuolumne Meadows and the Park’s High Sierra Camps.

Photography

Many come to Yosemite to see the sights and capture moments. Photographers and enthusiasts will not be disappointed with Yosemite’s waterfalls, rock formations, lakes and natural wonders.

Where to Eat

If you’re staying at Half Dome village, you have the option of eating at the pavilion or the pizza patio. They also have a coffee corner serving Peet’s Coffee. There’s also the village bar where you can enjoy cocktails.

For a delicious food court experience, head to Yosemite Valley Lodge’s Basecamp Eatery where you’ll get options such as Italian, American and world flavors. There’s also a Starbucks there if you’re craving your usual.

I haven’t tried it myself, but have heard great things about the Majestic Yosemite Hotel’s weekend brunch. Reservations are required so make sure you plan ahead for this one.

Special thanks to Chevy for providing the Chevy Traverse for use during our trip! Thanks to my amazing sponsors who continue to support The LA Girl!

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