So I know I want to come back here, that’s for sure. And I have a lot of other California parks I need to see for the first time, so that should work out eventually. My visit here was just an overnight, mostly confined to the valley area. We were headed west, so came in via the mono lake area, and saw most of the views from the road while driving, but didn’t have time to stop and do any of the trails or visitor centers. The valley area has tons of places to camp and things to do, so for a limited time trip it’s the place to go. Of course, it’s also the busiest part of the park.
My strong memory of this place is one of a photo up at the campground of a convertible car which a bear had all but dismantled the roof of. Until you realized that the car hadn’t really been a convertible to begin with. And this was their way of illustrating that there is to be NO food left in cars or tents (use the bear proof steel food boxes provided here). Enough said, we used the boxes.
The famous things in the valley include Yellowstone Fall, viewable from a simple trail at the bottom (which I did) or a super strenuous trail with switchbacks that ends up above the falls (which I need to come back to do). There are views of El Capitan and Half Dome (made very famous by the b&w photo with the moon by Ansel Adams). There is a medical center, coutrhouse, visitor center. There are 2 lodges, but the one I would come back to say at is the more out of the way Ahwanee. A quintessential National Park hotel, this is sited right at the base of a dramatic cliff and has knock your socks off architecture, inside and out. I snapped a few photos here, and did a bit of reading in the lobby – but this would be a great base of operations for a longer trip, if one could afford it – of course!
My favorite things to do here
Things I want to come back to do
- Tubing on the Merced River
- More challenging hiking trails
- Bike to Mirror Lake
- One of the few National Parks with a public swimming pool
- My wife often confuses this park with Yellowstone
National Park Service Website: http://www.nps.gov/yose/