Yosemite National Park is located in Northern California in the Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s known for its giant sequoia trees and for iconic structures such as El Capitan and Half Dome as well as the beautiful Bridalveil Falls.
The park was first protected in 1864 but it was famed photographer Ansel Adams, who used Yosemite National Park as his main inspiration, that increased its popularity. In 1919 Adams joined the Sierra Club and he spent 6 summers as the tour groups official photographer. He also helped place the Half Dome cable system up each season, which allows hikers to ascend the steep granite slope. In 1927, Adams received critical acclaim for his “Monolith, the Face of Half Dome” photograph which is still well known today.
To stay inside the park there are many options from VRBOs & Airbnb’s to campgrounds & lodges. However, due to Covid, most of the lodges & campgrounds are closed this season. The closest resort outside the park from the west ( Highway 120) is Rush Creek Lodge, which is gorgeous and has a restaurant, general store, pool & fire pit. It can be a bit pricey and must be reserved far in advance of the season. Another option is Yosemite Westgate Lodge, which has a small pool & a restaurant next door but is quite conveniently located.
Due to Covid, the park attendance is being controlled so reservations are required to gain access & this must be done weeks prior to your visit. I am not sure how long this is going to last. It was nice to have smaller groups at the popular sites though, so I was ok with that “inconvenience”. Additionally, if you intend to hike up several popular trails you may need a permit so refer to their website for regulations.
There is much to see in Yosemite and breathtaking views around every bend. However, I was a bit disappointed in the lack of wildlife, even going at 5:30am when they opened. We only saw deer and a golden bellied marmot but I would go back again in a second!
Suggestion: bring water and snacks as currently there are no visitor centers open. Wear hiking boots and dress in layers as it can be quite cold in the morning and evening. Keep your map as Wi-Fi is virtually non existent in the park.
Don’t miss this National Treasure!