1. Did you know that you could stay in a cabin right in the park? We rented a cabin from The Redwoods of Yosemite and it was one of the best experiences of my life. We visited the park all day and when we returned to our rooms at night we were still all together. That is a trick with ten of us on this journey. We cooked our meals there, we played horseshoes in the yard and we laughed and enjoyed each others company in a private but spacious home. This has definitely changed my ideas about the ideal ways to stay in national parks. We never had to leave the magic until we were on our way home. It does help if you think that your fellow adventure buddies are the most incredible people ever like we do.
2. Yosemite is a popular place. By popular I mean there will be a lot of people. Parking can be tricky to locate, camp spots fill up early and have your patience handy. One day we were there we attempted to go to the Yosemite Valley Visitors Center and after two loops by we gave up. The parking was so full they closed the lot off. Be an early bird and beat the crowds or use their free shuttle system.
3. Yosemite is filled with history. Yosemite is a beautiful place. If you go just for the beauty you will not be disappointed. If you go with a love for history you will be overjoyed. The Yosemite Valley Visitors Center is full of things I never knew about this park. It covers the animals you might find in the area and the pioneer history of the early park days. I learned some of the cultural history of the native Miwok and Paiute people who lived in Yosemite in the Yosemite Museum tucked next to the visitors center. Behind it hides a replica village that on the day we were there was being used in a traditional ceremony. Out of respect for the sacred practices photography was discouraged. Across the street is a cemetery dedicated to casual park visitors, Native Americans and people who played an important roll in the park. Behind the visitors center is a theater. Go see a film and it can take you places you might not see unless you plan to backpack the park for an extended time. I could write a whole book on the history of this place but I think its best left to be discovered.
4. Yosemite has giant trees! I mean giant like in the biggest I have ever been around in my life. While we were able to see a few of these giant trees the biggest and best of them are closed until the summer of 2017. The Mariposa Grove is the home of Giant Sequoias. Like drive your car through size. Its a trip we will be taking after this section opens up. There are other places in the park to see these huge trees but this place is supposed to be the best. If you choose to go before the summer of 2017 just know that you will miss out on this local gem. Here is a picture of an example the kids are standing next to. You can count the rings to learn the age of the tree, or you can just be amazed at the size of the thing. Either way really cool right?
5.While you are waiting for the the Mariposa Grove to open up Id suggest you wait a little longer and go in the spring instead. Yosemite is home to a ton of waterfalls that are fed by the melting snow. We went to the park in August and the falls were nearly dried up. Peak run off occurs around May to June. Planning your trip around then would make for the best waterfall viewing experience. Check out THIS link to see the falls as they might be when you visit.
We loved the scenery as we drove through the park, but I'm sure you don't want to watch hours of film out our front window. We compromised. You can take a super quick trip through the roads of Yosemite in our video A Zip Through Yosemite below with our time lapsed adventure. While we're at it, thank you for watching our little adventure videos. If you want to know when these are posted you can subscribe to our YouTube channel and you will be notified as soon as we upload them.
Thank you for being a part of our adventures. The best part of the memories is in the making of them. Get out there and find your adventure. When your done, send us an email. We'd love to hear all about it.