If you are looking for a place that combines beauty, adventure, spectacular views, fine dining, and everything in between, Yosemite National Park is the place for you.
As one of the oldest national parks in the country and also one of the most ecologically diverse and geographically astounding, Yosemite offers something for everyone. In this quick guide to Yosemite National Park, we´ll look at the top attractions for every type of tourist.
Undoubtedly, one of the biggest attractions of Yosemite is hitting the trails. From the highest waterfall in North America to massive granite peaks to beautiful mountain lakes, the hundreds of miles of trails that wander through this northern California park are one of its biggest draws.
If you have the stamina and are not afraid of heights, make it a priority to climb Half Dome, a massive granite peak. While the more adventurous and adrenaline seekers do mountain climb the sheer rock face, you can also take a 17 mile hike up to the top that will reward with you breathtaking views.
Another great option for hiking is to make it up to the top of Yosemite Falls. The 2,425 foot drop makes Yosemite Falls the highest waterfall in North America. You can hike all the way to the top and, if you´re brave enough, look over the edge towards the massive fall.
Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias:
A shorter hike that is just as awe inspiring is to make it through the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. The massive trees that fill this forest will make you feel small in comparison. The California Tunnel Tree is one of the most iconic trees along the path that you´ll want to check out.
What Else to Do?
If hiking isn’t your thing, there are still a number of different activities to get involved in. There are a number of beautiful scenic drives throughout Yosemite. Consider driving up to Tioga Pass, a mountain pass situated at close to 10,000 feet. On a clear day (and there are plenty of them at Yosemite) you can get fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and countryside.
Yosemite also offers some quality fine dining options. If you don´t mind spending a little bit more money, take your family out to The Majestic Yosemite Dining Room. The size of the dining room itself is enough to make it worth the money as it does stand up to it’s name.
For a more rustic dining experience, the Mountain Room Restaurant and Lodge is a great steakhouse that combines great flavor and great views. Pretty much every table in this restaurant will give you some of the best views of the park. Make it a priority to get there around sunset to enjoy a sunset while sipping a glass of California wine.
If you are looking for activities to do with the whole family, consider taking your children gold mining. As a sort of hands-on history lesson, your kids can learn about the various California gold rushes and how people tried their luck and bet their futures on hitting it big.
The Main Fork of the Merced River is one of the best places to go gold panning. The tranquil waters of this river still have plenty of gold floating in them, and there are several guided tours that will give you the historic vantage point.
Yosemite: Unending Wonders
You and your family could spend days on end exploring Yosemite. While most tourists never venture out of Yosemite Valley, the central part of the park, Yosemite is a huge place that is over 95% wilderness thus providing you with virtually endless places to explore. For a more complete guide to the diverse wonders of Yosemite National Park, check out this link from the Live Once Live Wild blog.