Immeasurable beauty. Nature when left alone produces immeasurable beauty.
This was my first time at Yosemite National Park. Actually, it was my first time at a National Park in general, and I’ve really been missing out. Now, I want to see them all.
Yosemite is only a little over 4 hours from Los Angeles, so there’s no excuse not to go. If you need a break from the every day to immerse yourself locally in a space that helps you get life into perspective, Yosemite would be my first suggestion. No words or photos can do it justice; the scenery will take your breath away, and there’s nothing like nature to humble you.
We spent about 2 days here. We left LA, had a delicious Meditteranean lunch at Zatter Zacky around the halfway point in Bakersfield, then arrived and spent the remainder of the day enjoying the park from above at Glacier Point. Here you’ll be able to see how vast the park is, spot the multiple waterfalls, see Half Dome, and view the valley from above.
We met another couple here as we were wandering around; they were visiting for their 60th wedding anniversary. We were headed up to a stone “house” that Dominic kept calling a castle. Turns out they used to come here every year just to take the views in, and they even renewed their vows once here. It’s a special place.
The view from the “castle”
As we were heading back to our car, we decided to find a spot to take a minute to enjoy some quiet time and eat some snacks. This stop really helped us set the pace for our road trip because we had just moved the weekend prior and everything was just… hectic. This was our moment to pause, remind ourselves how small our troubles really are, and reconnect with each other. We took in the views, and we even ended up spotting a bunch of animals! We saw deer, squirrels, chipmunks, blue jays, and even lizards – Dominic was having a blast.
We headed out the first day before the sun was fully setting so that we could have some light on the way down and to our lodge. It’s was quite a traveling morning, so we took the time to relax, get squeaky clean, and enjoy some yummy pizza dinner that Tristan picked up from a local pizza store. It was the perfect way to end the day.
The next day, since we already saw Yosemite from the top we decided to spend this day seeing the Valley. We stopped by a campsite to see the river flowing and ate some goodies at the picnic tables.
Heading down to Yosemite Valley
After going through a really long tunnel through a mountain (seriously, I got anxiety halfway because it was so long), we stopped at this incredible viewpoint called Tunnel View. See, I say nature can be so humbling because when you see views like this, you start to gain a new perspective of how big this planet really is. When one park makes majestic trees look so tiny, you can’t help but see things a little differently.
After driving around, we went to Bridalveil Falls which was a very short and easy hike. You’ll find yourself at the base of the falls and feeling the mist cover you. It’s beautiful and refreshing, and it was a great way to get Dominic happy again because he was a little cranky on the way up 🙂
P.s. Can I have his boots in my size?
Lupines were sprinkled all over the park, and I loved the pops of purple with all of the greenery. Lately, I’ve really been falling in love with California wildflowers.
At one point while we were just enjoying the scenery and driving around, Dominic fell asleep. We bumped into this incredibly meadow with this stunning backdrop, so Tristan and I just took turns taking pictures while standing by the car. Gotta make the most of it, right? Little man deserved a good nap at this point!
Before we headed out for the next part of our road trip, we stopped by The Majestic Yosemite Hotel for some lunch. It is a beautiful hotel in the park, and the restaurant was massive with windows all around. It’s a nice stop if you’re not camping and planning your own meals 🙂
- We stayed at a lodge right outside the park (Yosemite Southgate Hotel). There is a fee to enter the park, so considering we have an annual pass, there was no problem with us leaving and heading back in. If you don’t, however, there’s plenty of lodges inside the park. If you plan to camp, they book VERY early on, so make sure you’re placing your reservations far in advance if you’d like to take advantage of their campsites. Hotels book very early too, but I hear campsites are gold.
- If you’re visiting during the summer, it gets very crowded and there will be traffic to head pretty much anywhere in the park. We went on a Wednesday/Thursday though, and it wasn’t a big issue. I imagine weekends are a different story.
- Bring a sweater. The weather inside the park is a bit cooler than it is outside, so you might be surprised to find some pockets 10 degrees cooler than others
- If you plan on going more than twice or visiting other National Parks in a year, get the annual pass! There a several different America the Beautiful passes, and you can check out the one right for you here.
Got some other tips for when we visit the park again? Or even for other parks? We can’t wait to see more.