Yosemite National Park is in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains and is about 320 km from San Francisco (approximately 4 hours of travel).
Day tours depart from San Francisco and you’ll travel in an air-conditioned coach to Yosemite, which includes roughly 3 hours in Yosemite Valley. A free shuttle bus is available get around in if you’re not up for walking to see some of the impressive sights including El Capitan, the largest of the granite formations found in the park.
I had plenty of time to complete three short walks whilst inside the valley as the paths are paved and most are suitable for walkers of any ability. They’re also push bike, wheelchair and pram friendly with bike rental available.
The first walk I completed was the Vernal & Nevada Waterfalls which are two of Yosemite’s most spectacular sites, and both can be spotted from this trail. You can hear the waterfall and feel the mist as you are approaching, the shear pressure and sound coming from the waterfall was amazing.
The second one was Half Dome and let’s be honest, the jaw dropping views of what literally looks like a granite dome cut in half is why many people visit Yosemite. I only trekked along the base, but I could see the more adventurous hikers further up. You’d need to allow a full day to complete the hike as it’s 22.7 km long!
The third walk was Mirror Lake which is an easy and flat hike to the lake and back. It’s extremely lush with gorgeous views of the lake and only takes about an hour but there’s a longer loop if you’re keen. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled as you may be lucky enough to spot some wild deer.
If you are planning on spending some more time, there’s a camping ground and hotel accommodation, although you’ll need to book well in advance as Yosemite National Park is one of America’s most popular and can book out 12 months in advance especially rooms inside the park.
It’s likely that your walk will end up taking longer than expected so be prepared! There are so many opportunities to get that perfect photo and to immerse yourself in nature with trees that are thousands of years old, otherworldly rock formations and cliffs with magnificent waterfalls cascading over the edge.
The Vernal & Nevada Waterfalls walk
Trying to spot the ab climbers across from El Capitan