Last summer we finally ventured to Yosemite National Park! It was at the top of our California bucket list and we were so happy to make it out. While we still want to make it back for the Half Dome lottery someday, we managed to experience the park in all it’s glory.
If you’re planning a trip to Yosemite, here’s three hikes we loved:
- Upper Yosemite Falls
Distance: 7.2 miles round-trip
Elevation: 2,700 ft
Time: 6-8 hours round trip
I’m not going to lie, there was moments I thought I was going to die. OK, it was 100 degrees. But this hike is strenuous – I lost count of all the breaks I had to take. But I will tell you it is gorgeous every step of the way and worth every second of pain you suffer. You literally climb to the very top of the waterfall and the views are breathtaking. Be prepared for switchback after switchback and several miles of no shade from the sun. Pack a lot of sunscreen, water and a hearty lunch to enjoy at the top. My only regret was not packing a hammock and staying at the top longer.
- Top of Vernal Falls
Distance: 2.4 mi round trip
Elevation Gain: 1,000 ft.
Time: 3 hours
This hike was so much fun! All of the websites I can find mark this as “strenuous,” but I wouldn’t say it was that bad. This was one of the most popular trails while we visited, so be ready for foot traffic. The hike is a nice mix of uphill/downhill, with plenty of spots for breaks for anyone who needs it. Be prepared to get drenched as you near the waterfall (my favorite part)! Make sure you have a waterproof pack, adequate hiking boots and poles for the slippery rocks. The top is magnificent.
- Bridalveil Fall Trail
Distance: .5 mi round trip
Elevation Gain: 80 ft.
Time: 20 minutes
If you’re spending a few days hiking at Yosemite, you’ll need a break at some point. This trail was such a relief but still beautiful in its own right. The trail is very accessible from a nearby parking lot and paved the entire way. You can hear the roar of the waterfall and as you get closer to the base the mist will cover you from head to toe. This hike is a great way to experience the beautiful Yosemite waterfalls without hiking your heart out. The trail is very family-friendly, and we even witnessed a wedding party! Wedding dress-friendly, I’m not so sure…
Yosemite was one of our fondest memories while living in California. If any of you can make it out there, we highly recommend it! For more information about the park, visit www.nps.gov/yose.