Yosemite is one of the best national parks for us. It is so beautiful and you can visit year round. From San Francisco is about 4 hours drive. If you don’t like hike too much still you can see lot of park by car and short stroll and see wonderful falls and rocks. You will see lot of climbers on El Capital, you must see during evening when you will see lights. Other mountain is Half Dome and you can win permit to go to top. Usually lottery is in March and you can go there from May till October when cable are on.
Hikes in Yosemite:
Lower Yosemite Falls
This trail is easy and loop is about 1 mile. It is very popular hike with easy access.
Trail is short about 0.6 mile. It can be crowded during peak season, but worth it for this view.
Yosemite has very interesting hikes and so many option. Our bucket list included Half Dome hike with cables. You need permit and you can get if you will win lottery. You sign in March and lottery happens in April. Cables are only from May till October. This year we won our permit and got ready. Hike is 16-18 miles depends on which trail you choose. We had permit for July so we knew it will be hot. On the way up we chose Mist Trail – more steps up but shorter. On the way back we chose John Muir – 2 miles longer.
Before you go start prepare like long 10-16 miles hike with good gain elevation and go for gym and do exercises for hands. You need be prepared for long hike and then on cables you need strong hands to lift yourself on smooth wall of granite where only you have cables to hold you. For Half Dome if you are in good shape you can do it in 9-10 hours but if not you need to be ready for 10-16 hours hike. It seems crazy and it is. No stairs no steps no holes in wall to keep your feet. Take good shoes with grip and gloves! – it is a must.
Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall
If you would like to have short nice but not too easy hike this is for you. First fall trail has only 1.5 miles (2.4 km) one way but is steep. There can be lot of water so you will be wet on the way. But Vernal Fall is beautiful and is good place to relax and enjoy. You can do just this part of hike and back.
To Nevada fall you have 3.4 miles (5.5 km) more and on the way back you can choose John Muir trail.
Firefall it is a beautiful effect when sun light hit the waterfall for few days in mid February each year. You can always check online when is the perfect time to see fire. This time is lot of people so you will need park your car far.
Yosemite in summer
Yosemite in fall
Yosemite in winter
Yosemite National Park is very good to visit during winter. When you will visit park go to Visitor Center and ask about hikes.