I've never been considered a 'nature girl', but here I am trying something new and finally checking off this national park off my bucket list. I've been to Yosemite when I was a baby with family, but I don't remember it so I don't count it! I've been wanting to go for a couple of years now so when my best friend Stettson asked if I wanted to go, I definitely did not hesitate with my answer, yes!
My family lived not too far from the national park so we stopped there for a night before heading to Yosemite at 5 am the next morning. It wasn't too hard for us to get up because we were just so excited to go! Here's a wrap up of what we did at Yosemite National Park.
We left at 5 am and it took us two hours to drive put there through the windy roads. The view was gorgeous once we were getting into the mountains and we were in awe of the nature. As you first get into the park, you first see a main attraction, Tunnel View. It is a large view of some major sights, like Bridal Veil water fall, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls. There weren't a lot of people there when we got there at around 8 am, but it does get crowded as the day goes on. Also, I heard that it is gorgeous early in the morning for sunrise and for sunset.
Then, we drove to Bridal Veil water fall and it was so so pretty! There's a trail along the water fall that was really pretty as well and peaceful. It's a popular location to go to because it's right after Tunnel View. There's a creek by the falls too and can be by it.
Next, we walked along a path by a river kind of in the middle of park, where you can see El Capitan, Half Dome, and Bridal Veil. The best part of this walk was there were so many dogs walking around and it just made my day!
We then followed the road to the famous Yosemite Falls and we made it there by 10:50 A.M.! This has to be my favorite spot at the park, I've always loved watching water falls, they're gorgeous! We climbed up on the rocks to get really close to Lower Yosemite Falls and it wasn't too hard to climb on the rocks, just a little slippery. There's a trail by the falls too where there's lots of tall trees, creeks, and logs to walk on. Very pretty and silent!
Yosemite Falls is higher than the Lower one and you can climb up on top of it, but the hike takes longer and the trail head starts at a different point. I bet the view is unbelievable though.
After we drove to Taft Point and Sentinel Dome where it is before the national park, high in the mountains. We heard these places had incredible views of the whole park and valley.
The hike to Sentinel Dome was 2.2 miles and took us abut an hour to complete. The trail was mainly a dirt path and easy to do, until you have to hike up a large dome rock, but it's manageable. The view is an INCREDIBLE 360 degree view of the entire park and it was breath taking. I honestly couldn't believe the view.
For a surprise, there's a small patch of colorful flowers growing on a rock and log and it was so pretty to see on top of the dome!
After walking down Sentinel Dome, you can walk towards the opposite way towards the trail head for Taft Point. Taft Point is 2 miles at the start of the trail head sign so we hiked so much during the two hikes! I wish I wore my Fitbit watch back when we went to Yosemite so I could see how many miles we hiked this day! The trail was easy and just going through a forest mainly. Then, you go up a couple hills to get up there and then you can tell that you are definitely really high once you see the cliffs up ahead. My heart started to race when I saw the cliffs ahead of us and couldn't believe we were approaching them! This was my best friend's top place she was looking forward to. Stettson couldn't wait to get to the spot! I was excited too, just nervous. There were about two ledges to go by, one had a fence around it for safety and the other one does not. People mainly took picture from the fenced area of the other ledge, like we did. The view was spectacular!! Couldn't believe how high we were up and how we could see everything so clear. The Yosemite Falls was in the distant and I kept saying how it looked like the water was going down in slow motion and looked so cool!
I built up the courage too take pictures by the ledge and I feel like I was conquering my fear of heights! It was accelerating and I really felt alive! Sorry mom and dad!
By the time we were done and after getting lost to the car, we drove back into the valley to go to one popular spot, Glacier Point. Glacier Point has a few trails to do, but we came specially to watch the sunset and stargaze! We heard so many good things about doing that so we got there in plenty of time to find a spot and watch the sun slowly go down. You get a view of half dome right in front of you and some water falls to the right and left of it. Sunset started around 8 P.M. and it was so so pretty and orange! There were lots of people around and a park ranger was outside talking about facts about Half Dome and Glacier Point and also asking where everyone was from. So many people were from outside of the country like Italy, France, and China! So crazy that anyone comes to Yosemite for adventures, nature, and the amazing views in Central California.
Finally for the first day there, we stargazed at the same spot and layed down on the rocks we were on and it was incredible. You can barely see the stars in the city at home, so seeing a clear sky with a bunch of stars was just insane! Never have seen so many stars out, even witnessed a couple of shooting stars and mistaking planes as shooting stars.
We left early the second day at a our hotel, Best Western, in Oakhurst right outside of the park. We went to the visiting center and store to get souvineers. Then we looked at The Majestic Yosemite Hotel and it's really nice and has a cabin, cozy feel. It's also right in the park too, so it's super convenient for visitors.
Our next stop that afternoon was the Yosemite Falls again...I told you it was my favorite!!
Later, we made our way to Vernal Falls, which is a 2.4 mile uphill and steps hike. It takes you first to a bridge looking at the falls and then takes to you more up hill, then slick but way cool stairway to the very top of the falls. my anxiety was going up because of the slickness and incline of the stairs, but it was very accelerating and misty! SO MUCH MIST! The scenery literally reminded us of waterfalls in Hawaii, so so gorgeous and we even saw a rainbow beside the waterfall in the mist. Funny thing, I did see a couple of pregnant women and kids doing this hike and that made me not quit this hard hike!! Those people kicked ass at it!
It takes you to the very top where there is a large amount of flatness and a gate over the gorgeous water fall. It over looks the river beneath the water fall and so many trees and mountains surrounding it! Never have seen anything like that before. Right behind the falls is a lake and a bunch of rocks that make small tide pools for people to relax in. It leads into the waterfall so there is a cut off of where to be and not to be. Super pretty and way cool to be in. Stettson and I took a dip and relaxed for our break before heading back down.
By the way, we used these sites to help us plan our trip and hikes!! They're very helpful!
From there you can if you want head up to Nevada Falls which is another 3.4 miles from there, but we decided not to do that and go back down before it got dark. The way down was I could say worse for me, my anxiety was going up before I was scared of falling down on the slick rocks, so Stettson helped me a lot the way down. We stopped for more pictures and Stettson took incredible pictures that I have to post here. She said this was her favorite hike ever! This hike is a must do when coming to Yosemite, but just be prepared for the slickness of the ground and the incline and decline of the hike.
We ended our time at Yosemite by how we ended to, at Tunnel View for sunset and it was so pretty! everything turned a rustic orange color when the sun set. We took tons of pictures and ridiculously funny (some may say dumb) photos as well! I loved my best friend pushing me to get out of my comfort zone and getting me to go to Yosemite. The views were incredible and the hikes were outrageous. I can't wait to go on my next outdoor adventure.
Here's some bonus photos from the app, Huji that we love!
'til next time Yosemite.
I'm Mariah Garcia, writer of blog, Mariahmooo. Visit my blog to view daily snapshots of my personal style, Disney parks, lifestyle, & travel spots