I’m an absolute sucker for weekend trips around San Francisco and the rest of California for that matter. So, when I got the chance to go to Yosemite National Park for my birthday and Memorial Day Weekend I jumped at the chance!
My friends and I were really hoping for some sun and a swim sesh, but when we looked at the weather we realized it was going to snow and hail! Rain, sleet or shine, we still went and had a freaking amazing time. Yosemite is jawdropping and I cannot explain it enough — you’ll just have to go.
Here are some tips for planning your trip + 7 things to do in Yosemite National Park
If you’re going to travel to Yosemite on a holiday weekend like I did, or for any weekend for that matter, remember to PLAN AHEAD! Everything and I mean everything, books up months in advance. Below I talk about where I stayed, how I entered the lottery for climbing Half Dome and other things to do in Yosemite. Here are more tips for planning a spring camping trip to Yosemite.
1. Drive or hike to Glacier Point
Glacier Point is one of the best views in Yosemite. If you do the drive, it’s a windy and long road to the top, but it was incredible! The hike is called 4-Mile Trail and it’s hard but beautiful.
If it’s clear skies when you are in Yosemite, please make it up here! It’s so worth it. Some of my friends got freaked cause it’s so high up, but it’s such a great view.
2. Hike Mist Trail
This is one of the trails up to Half Dome. My friends and I really enjoyed it. It’s very strenuous at times, but worth it! You get to climb right into a waterfall so prepare to get wet. We ate lunch at the top of the second waterfall!
3. Check out Curry Village and Yosemite Village
We did this at the beginning to get our bearings. I wouldn’t recommend hanging out here (especially on a 3 day weekend) because of the crowds. It is one of the only places to order and get food in the park though so if you don’t feel like cooking you can eat great burgers here! While we were there it was so busy it almost felt like Times Square! I would try and avoid as much as possible on big weekends.
4. El Capitan Meadow
You’ll be sure to see this driving through the park, but I recommend stopping and gazing. It feels like the meadow off of Twilight (haha). I pictured myself laying in the meadow glistening 😉 It’s mesmerizing.
5. Tunnel View
Don’t forget to stop here on the drive into the main section of the park. This view is incredible. Here I am with my selfie stick just loving life.
5. Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.
We didn’t end up going to this on this trip, but I’ve been before and it’s incredible! You’ll have great photo opps here.
6. Yosemite Falls.
This is another amazing hike to two different waterfalls. Your view at the top is just as incredible so make sure to make it all the way up!
7. Hike Half-Dome
Please do it and tell me how it is! I’ve heard this is one of the most amazing and scariest experiences. Since I didn’t get in the lottery this time I’m going to continually try to get in! Half Dome also has a lottery system if you’re looking to climb up the face. This is a new thing I found out after living in SF so if you want to hike it you’ll have to apply for the permit. I had 12 of my friends put in the lottery and none of us got it. We were bummed, but they really only let a few people go up because it’s so dangerous! Until next time 😉
Where to Stay:
If you’re more into camping, check out my tips for getting a camping spot in the spring.
We ended up getting a cabin (thank god cause of hail) in the area called Scenic Wonders in Yosemite West. I booked the house at the end of January and they were already booking up for May! The best part of the cabin was that it was inside the park and not too far away from El Capitan, Half Dome lookouts and the hikes we wanted to go on.
If you’re looking to book a campsite I recommend getting on the camping website a few months in advance to make sure you have a spot.
Do you have any tips to add to my list? Would love to hear them for next adventures in Yosemite!