Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular and beautiful parks in the United States. It’s also one of the busiest in warmer months. It’s an iconic playground for climbers, adventurers, photographers, and families. If you’ve never been there, planning a trip can be a challenge because the park spans over 1,000 square miles and there’s just so much to see. But don’t worry–we’ve got some helpful tips to make your adventure enjoyable.
Important tips prior to your arrival:
- Passes: Beginning May 21, 2021 Yosemite National Park will be implementing passes for entry through September 30, 2021. Don’t let this deter you, it’s very easy to get a pass and this system actually makes your trip more enjoyable. Click here to reserve your pass.
- Lodging/Camping: You can reserve campsites within and outside the park on Recreation.gov There are also several hotels and Airbnb’s available. Make sure to book in advance, places fill up quickly.
- Closures/Chains: Always check ahead of time for road closures and chain restrictions. Snowfall and wildfires cause road closures often.
- Restaurant/Visitor Guide: Yosemite provides a wonderful guide that includes information and hours for the visitor centers and restaurants. We highly suggest you download and read this ahead of time: The Yosemite Guide
A Suggested Weekend Itinerary
We have taken several weekend trips to Yosemite National Park and learned from our experiences. Because of this we wrote this itinerary to help guide you to those epic points of interest with ease. Happy hiking!
Day 1 – Catch an Epic Sunset
Upon arriving in Yosemite, take a drive around the park and familiarize yourself with the area, then focus on catching a sunset.
- Sunset at Glacier Point. The drive is one hour distance from the valley floor. Try and arrive at least 45 minutes prior to sunset for parking. This will be your first epic view of this majestic place that you won’t regret.
- Sunset at Half Dome Meadow/Sentinel Bridge: If you prefer to be closer to the valley floor on day one, catch the sunset at one of these two spots. You will have a great view of Half Dome from either point.
Day 2 – A Full Day of Adventure
Today you have a full day and our biggest tip is to wake up early. The earlier you wake up, the easier it will be to find parking to watch sunrise or hit the trail.
- Sunrise at Wawona Tunnel View. With an incredible view of the valley floor, El Capitan, Half Dome and Bridalveil Falls, this is THE spot to view a sunrise.
After watching the sunrise, head back to the valley floor over towards the Mist Trail. We suggest doing this hike early because of possible warm temperatures and large crowds later in the day.
- Mist Trail Hike. This hike is one of the most epic hikes in the park. It is rated strenuous, however it’s well worth it. You will see Vernal Falls up close with it’s beautiful rainbow and have a memorable experience as the mist cools you off along the way. Make sure and pack a rain jacket, KÜHL’s new The One Shell is perfect and packable.
- Nevada Falls. You can continue up from Vernal Falls on the Mist Trail to Nevada Fall, or you can continue back down the John Muir Trail to the valley floor. Either way, you’ll enjoy the views.
After several hours of hiking, you can enjoy your packed lunch anywhere in the park. Forgot your lunch? That’s ok. There are several spots to grab some food in Curry Village or Yosemite Village. Hint: we love Degnan’s Kitchen, the pizza and sandwiches are great there!
You may have some extra time to explore the valley on your way to your second sunset, just make sure you give yourself some drive time.
- Sunset at Taft Point. The drive is one hour distance from the valley floor. Try and arrive at least one hour prior to sunset for parking and hiking. Taft Point is an easy, short hike for incredible views over the valley floor.
Day 3 – Enjoy the Rest of Yosemite National Park
After a full day, we suggest you leave your final day to cruising along the valley. Enjoy site seeing, taking a dip in the river or napping in the meadow. If you want to be a little more active this day, rent a bike from either village and ride the paved trail.
Points to visit:
- Bridalveil Falls
- Yosemite Falls
- Mirror Lake
And finally, don’t miss:
- El Cap Meadow. Here you can view the climbers on the wall, and you might evenhear them talking to each other. It’s quite the experience to view some of the most skilled climbers up there. Don’t forget to bring binoculars or a telephoto lens.
We hope you enjoy your experience in Yosemite National Park! Let us know how it was, and tag us in your adventures @KÜHL #borninthemountains
In addition to being a KÜHL ambassador, Royce Fonseca is an avid outdoors-woman, professional photographer, world traveler, believer and doer. Follow her on Instagram: @casunshine0508