"Yosemite Is A Big National Park" Yosemite National Park by mikehanneman
Yosemite National Park Travel Guide: 1,485 reviews and 3,365 photos
A friend of mine in Waterloo, IA said all I needed to do at Yosemite was "drive there and look at Bridalveil Falls and stay 2 or 3 hours and then leave." He and I aren't too much alike when it comes to National Parks.
I fly into SFO airport and drove to Yosemite National Park. I thought it was kind of a "tough" drive. I liked the fresh fruit stands, where we bought some peaches and other great tasting products.
I have read other VT's members comments about the winding roads. They weren't kidding! Curve after curve. I stayed at Fish Camp, which is 2 miles outside the South entrance to Yosemite. Everyday it took me at least 45 minutes to drive 25 miles to the Village.
Be careful at Yosemite. 12 people die on the average in the Park every year. The number of people climbing Half Dome has increased by at least 30% over the last decade, resulting in congestion and death. Most visitors are not prepared to scale the Dome, therefore making it much more risky for seasoned climbers. A Japanese man lost his footing and fell to his death just a month ago on Half Dome.
There is a lot to see in Yosemite due to its size and the variety it offers.
Everyone should go to Glacier Point Road. What people miss are two great "short" hikes. They drive right by them!
If you stop at the Sentinel Dome and Taft Point parking area, you will be in for a real treat! The trail head sign will indicate to the left for Taft Point, only 1.1 miles one way and to the right 1.1 miles (one way) to Sentinel Dome.
My wife and I headed toward Taft Point first. It wasn't crowded and we enjoyed a peaceful walk through the forest. Someone had just seen a bear along the trail a few minutes before we started to hike. As we approached the view point I noticed the signs warning people about the large fissures in the area. Don't get too close. The view was outstanding of Yosemite Falls, El Capitan and the Valley. With very little effort you can enjoy a great hike and Yosemite first hand.
We headed back to the trail head and then began hiking to Sentinel Dome. It was sunny and I wish we had brought some sun screen. We were burnt by the end of the day!
I didn't know what to expect from Sentinel Dome. I was having a hard time finding much information. Wow, I was impressed! You do just a tiny bit of scrambling up the side of the dome. Once you reach the top (2 or 3 minutes later) you can look at Yosemite with a 360 degree view. I noticed one guy who was going off what I thought might be the wrong side. He stood there for a few minutes and then came over and asked where he had come up from. If he had continued ahead he would have fallen to his death. Not a lot of signs for directions. Remember, if you hear thunder, DON'T CLIMB THE DOME! It can get slippery if it is wet too. I had to sit there for 20 to 30 minutes just trying to absorb and remember the great scenery. Thank God for cameras!
We cruised down Glacier Point Road to where all the other tourists were. 97% of them missed a great opportunity to see Yosemite from two great vantage points.
You can drive to TaftPoint and Sentinel Dome or hike. If you want to hike you have several choices. Hike up from the Valley and back, or take the hiker's bus one way. I think the cost is around @25.00 per person.
It hasn't rained for the last 2 1/2 months at Yosemite except for the next day we went to Tioga Road. The rain changed to snow and a Ranger said they might have to close the road. I was probably 10 miles from the Pass, but I decided to head back to the Valley. It was foggy and hard to see much of the Alpine area. It looked like there were some beautiful lakes with shore line covered with trees. It was still a nice drive and it didn't take very long to drive either. I would recommend if you have an extra day to make the drive.
One good thing came out of a snow shortened day. I noticed a few cars along the road and knew it had to be a bear sighting. The was a California Black bear about 100 yards in a meadow. The Park Ranger was getting ticked that people were just stopping their cars on the road and taking pictures.
I had to move to a gas station across the road or face a $250.00 fine he said! A few minutes later (1/4 to 1/2 a mile down the road) I noticed a couple of people looking into the forest and meadow. A sow and a young bear cub were hanging out 200 yards or so from the road. That was cool to see. It didn't make the Ranger's day though. Never approach a bear, especially a sow with her cubs.
Most people who visit Yosemite never see a bear. We felt fortunate!
Take the time to stop at a pull out below El Capitan. I wish I had brought my binoculars. I was able to see some rock climbers making their way up the granite slope through a photographer's lens.
Do your homework before coming to Yosemite. It is a big area with a variety of things to do and see. I find the National Park Service's website very useful. NPS.GOV - If they don't know the Parks inside and out who would?
- Pros:Great scenery, wildlife and something for everyone
- Cons:A lot of winding roads loaded with curves to get there
- In a nutshell:One more thing off my list
Be careful at Yosemite. 12 people die on the average in the Park every year. The number of people climbing Half Dome has... more travel advice
For shuttle information, check the NPS.GOV website or ask the Ranger when you enter the Park. more travel advice
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