After a long time of no vacationing, my boyfriend and I decided to go wild and take a 2-month vacation across the United States.
It was his first time in the country, so he was excited to see all the popular spots like the ever-recognizable Hollywood and the streets of New York City.
And for me? Well, I was all about nature. On prior trips to the US, I only visited cities so this time, I wanted to see the natural beauty the country had to offer.
We created a full trip combining cities, towns and natural parks. The whole trip was a blast!!! We ate delicious food, experienced different facets of the US, and met wonderful people at every step of the way.
I’m going to go piece-by-piece through all the wonderful places we visited, but I wanted to start with the most special location of our trip: Yosemite Valley.
Beyond being absolutely breathtaking and our favorite part of the trip, it was also where my boyfriend proposed! So now Yosemite is even more special in our hearts. 💍💕
Here’s a bit about our experience and thoughts on Yosemite.
Is Yosemite National Park really that stunning in real life?
Yes, and more so!!!
We are so happy we decided to include Yosemite in our trip.
It was like looking at a massively intricate painting. The more we saw, the more we were astounded by the absolute, pure beauty of our surroundings.
The Yosemite Valley really blew our breath away, especially as we hiked up and got to see more and more of it at a distance.
Plus, we got to see these beautiful deer, careless to the fact that tourists were staring at their every move.
We only saw a minor part of Yosemite Park. After all, it’s over 3000 km² in size (1169 mi²) and it’s not easy to get around.
Because we were already in low tourist season and due to fires in the region, we weren’t able to see more of Yosemite.
However, that just gives us an excuse to go back at some point. 🙂
Yosemite Hiking: Amazing Views, but Challenging
If there’s one thing that Yosemite isn’t lacking, it’s hiking options.
There are a variety of hikes available at Yosemite depending on what you want to see and how big a challenge you can handle
We made the big mistake of overestimating our physical abilities and took one of the most challenging trails: the Four-Mile Trail, which is a strenuous hike up to Glacier Point.
We didn’t expect it to be so challenging and for the weather to change so radically… when we started the hike it was nice and sunny, but by the time we reached the top, it was snowing and freezing. (Although, it was my first time seeing snow, so I was too excited to mind the cold!)
After a tiring 5 hours and hiking up almost 8km, we thought we could take the bus back down…
Well guess what? There is no bus back down for hikers in the fall! :p That service ends with the summer heat.
Even through the exhaustion, the scenarios were well-worth the hike up. We were in awe at every corner. Photos do no justice to the beauty we saw up-close.
So if you’re going to Yosemite and can handle the hikes, do it!
Be prepared for the more difficult hikes by taking:
- Lots of water
- Proper attire for the weather at base and peak
- Good hiking shoes
If you can’t hike up, go by car. It’s about a 30 min drive to Glacier Point from the Visitor’s Center and the view there is incomparable. You can see the span of the area and the stunning domes domes and valleys.
Sleeping by Yosemite
There are a few small communities by Yosemite that depend solely on tourists, but like any national park, the activity goes up and down depending on the time of year.
The price is not cheap – they were actually the most expensive sleeping arrangements we had throughout the entire 2-month trip and unfortunately, the lowest quality at that.
You pay for proximity – we stayed an hour away from Yosemite during the low season and paid $75 for a cabin with a shared bathroom. It had the worst mattress I’ve ever had the misfortune to sleep on.
Similar cabins within Yosemite were going for $150 during low season, but there’s the extra benefit of not having to drive an hour each way. You’re smack in the midst of the beauty of the national park.
Final thoughts – It’s All About Nature
If you’re heading to Yosemite, you’re definitely not going for the food or accommodation. In both cases, it’s low quality for high prices.
The real treasure is the national park itself. It’s a glory that we never imagined could be so stunning in real life.
For this alone, it was worth the detour on our trip.
We would go back in a heartbeat to see other parts of the massive park… we only saw a small section of it and we have so much more to explore!
Yosemite – you are beautiful. ❤
Have you visited Yosemite Park? What did you think?