Sunday, June 9, 2019

How to cover the real California in 7 days - Day 4

Explorer Lens

Finally, it was time to explore the most awaited destination of our California trip, Yosemite National Park. It is counted as the best national park of USA. Magnificent granite rocks, mesmerizing waterfalls, one of the oldest and largest Sequoia trees, world famous trails and nice camping grounds, this natural wonder has it all.

As the national park was 4 hours drive from Airbnb, we started a little early than normal, around 7 a.m. from our place. Yosemite is at an elevation range of 2,127 to 13,114 feet and during few months of the year, there is even snow on the entrance roads, hence it is always suggested to check on the road conditions and carry snow chains with you.

We took the below route -:
US-101 S -> CA-152 E -> CA-140 E
I think it is the most scenic route from San Jose to Yosemite. On CA-152 E, do watch for the scenic views along the Upper Cotton Creak Wildlife area and Pacheco State Park. In addition, the route from Mariposa until the entrance of Yosemite is quite spectacular/stunning. Huge mountains on one side with variety of fauna and river flowing in the valley on the other, is just phenomenal.

Yosemite National Park
Although Yosemite National Park is spread across 3000+ sq km, but the main attractions/natural wonders of the park lie in the 8 mile of the Yosemite Valley.

Here is the list of the main attractions:
Credit - Here

1. Bridalveil falls – It is a 620 feet fall tumbling down a granite face beneath the Cathedral rocks. If you want to propose someone special, this is the place to do it and hence the name too.

Credit : Kirk Lougheed

2. El Captain –
It is the world's tallest granite monolith and one of the world's top rock climbing destinations. Just for FYI, it is more than 3500+ foot tall.

3. Yosemite Village – It is the human hub of the valley and home to park’s visitor center. In addition, you will also find grocery store, gas station, Yosemite museum and Yosemite Wilderness Center.

Credit : UIG via Getty Images

4. Yosemite Falls – It is the highest fall in North America and sixth in the world. It is divided into 3 sections, The Upper Yosemite Fall, Middle Cascade and Lower Yosemite fall. The total height of the fall is 2425 ft.

5. Half Dome – Hiking to the top of Half Dome is one of the most difficult hikes in the world. It is every serious rock climber/hiker dream to hike up to the Half Dome. You need to have a permit to do this world famous hike and it is lottery based.
6. Mirror Lake – This Lake reflects half dome and other monoliths.

Credit : Here

7. Vernal Fall – It is a 317 foot waterfall on the Merced River. Trails to both the foot and top of the falls are accessible. Mist trail is the famous one, which takes you to the top of this waterfall. It is a 2.4 mile round trip with strenuous difficulty level.

8. Nevada Fall – Nevada Fall is present in the little Yosemite Valley. This 594 feet waterfall got its name because it is nearest to Sierra Nevada. You can take the Mist trail to reach at the top of Nevada falls too. It is a 5.4 mile roundtrip trail with strenuous difficulty level.

Credit : Rakesh Kumar Rakshit

9. Tunnel View – The best place to get a glimpse of the Yosemite Valley is Tunnel Point. It offers breathtaking views of the Valley and several of its attractions -- El Capitan, Half Dome and the Bridalveil Fall. 

10. Glacier Point – It is one of the highest and best viewpoints of the Yosemite Valley. Rising to an elevation of 7000 ft, it offers stunning views of Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall.

Covering all the attractions require atleast 1.5 days, hence it is a wise decision to stay in the camping grounds of Yosemite Valley. During night star gazing from Glacier point is highly suggested.
Out of the 10 attractions, except for Vernal and Nevada Fall, cover everything on Day 1.

Finally coming to the cost of entering the park, it is $35 per vehicle.

Total hours of commute           : 4 hours
Total hours at the attractions    : 9 hours
Food and other break                : 1 hour
Start time from San Jose          : 7:00 a.m.

Explorer Lens / Author & Editor

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