We left San Francisco feeling pretty excited for our first National Park on this side of the trip. It was only a couple of hours drive and we stopped to do a hike which broke the day up nicely.
*On May 29th 2019, I travelled with Trek America on their Grand Trek tour for six weeks around the USA. We began in New York, travelling south to the West Coast, then North back to the East Coast. I am not affiliated with Trek America. Read all my Trek America posts here. *
Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias
This 2.5 mile trail was a great introduction to Yosemite. If you are looking for something that isn’t too intense, this would be perfect for you. We even saw bears on our way back up the trail.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, a number of big trees had tunnels dug through them to allow tourists to drive, bike, or walk through. This practice has long passed due to the damaging effects to the trees.
Our next stop was our first look at Yosemite Valley. Even now, looking at this picture, I cannot believe I was stood there. It is beautiful and needs to be appreciated with your own eyes.
Indian Flats Campground
The campsite here was pretty standard. Showers and toilets pretty close to our site and a good shop nearby, it also had a pool. However, no WiFi but we were used to this by now, it adds to the experience of being out in the national parks.
If you are planning on staying here, check out the distance from where it is that you are heading to. It seemed to be a long drive wherever we went. I’m guessing, however, it is a very cost effective alternative.
Yosemite Valley Sunrise
It was an early start the next morning, 3.45AM to be precise. This was so that we could watch sunset in Yosemite Valley and then we would be dropped off, ready to hike!
Yosemite Vernal Falls
I had researched various trails before this trip, however, I didn’t get my hopes set on any just in case they weren’t possible. When we had the option to hike Vernal Falls, I already knew that was the trail I was going for. I loved Zion National Park, but this trail was my favourite, without a doubt.
What I enjoyed about this trail was that the view gradually unfolds as you are hiking. You never know whats going to be around the corner. We saw bears and a snake near the path on this trail!
If you want an easy hike you can stop at this footbridge, still a really beautiful view, just before the hike begins to get more difficult. If you are considering going further, do it. You will not regret it.
Mist Trail – Vernal Falls Yosemite
You reach this steep, granite stairway (consisting of over 600 steps) and Vernal Falls begins to come into sight. I really underestimated the mist here, we were all soaked! Also, you have to be really careful not to slip on the stairs, just take your time, if anyone needs to pass you they can go around.
At the top of the stairs, you then walk along a narrow passage next to the edge. You can then walk right up to the waterfall – this was an absolute dream. It’s crazy seeing how fast the water flows up here.
Our leader suggested heading back down via Clark Point, to make the trail more interesting and see something different. However, we managed to forget that it was called Clark Point and somehow carried on walking in the wrong direction. Luckily it wasn’t too long before we realised, if we had continued it would have been a long old hike.
On the plus side, by going the wrong way we saw this rainbow. I don’t think I have ever seen one right in front of me like this!
The best things happen unexpectedly…
We managed to find our way back to the right path that would take us back down the trail via Clark Point. Walking for a little while, we suddenly turned a corner and I could see straight down over the edge. There was a gap in the trees a little further along so I walked to this point and then just stopped, thinking ….WOW.
I immediately turned around and said guys you have to see this. If I return to Yosemite, which I hope to, I would hike this trail again just for this view.
We made our way back to Half Dome Village, where there are some shops & restaurants. There was even some WiFi we managed to connect to!
Later on, we all went back to the campsite for the afternoon. The next day would be a long drive to Lake Tahoe.
Let me know if you have any questions regarding Trek America or the places we visited 🙂