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How to Travel and Enjoy Yosemite National Park

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 3 4
Giant Sequoia trees at Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in Central California. It is one of the most famous parks that is often visited by international tourists in the United States.

Yosemite's most famous rock climbing site inside the park known as El Capitan is continuously attracting more than a hundred thousand visitors each year even if the journey to the national park can be difficult especially if you're not physically and mentally prepared for a great but challenging outdoor adventure.

The thousand Giant Sequoia trees, known to be the tallest tree species in the world are so spectacular to view. Tourists from all over the world keep coming back to Yosemite National Park to gaze at these magnificent and enormous trees, making their trip an unforgettable experience. This article will show you on how to travel and enjoy beauty of nature at Yosemite National Park.

Things You Will Need

Credit or debit card to book your accommodation

An updated tourist guide map of Yosemite National Park and Northern California

A portable computer (tablet or netbook) with internet access

Portable digital camera

Extra cash

Hiking gear

A durable backpack

Foldable plastic chair/chairs and table

Snacks and drinks

Step 1

Book your accommodations in Yosemite, California by calling the National Park Reservations at 866-875-8456. Check the availability of rooms several months in advance or up to a year before your trip if you want to stay inside the park's hotel. Take note that this is an international resort, very famous and usually a crowded national park especially during the summer season in California.

The guest rooms are decorated with a Native American motif while the main lodge with sturdy woods and beautiful fabrics. You'll be given an option whether you want to have the size of a king bed or two double beds. There are few suites in the hotel that include a parlor and bedroom as well as two large elegant suites.

One of the larger suites features a Jacuzzi tub in one of Yosemite national park hotels. One of these elegant suites is usually referred to as "The Queen's Room" because Queen Elizabeth II had stayed in this beautiful suite during her visit in 1983.

There are also 24 cottages that any tourist can rent aside from the main lodge. These beautiful cottages are well renovated and they have ceiling fans, private baths, televisions, telephones, small refs and stone patios. While you're inside in one of these cottages, you can enjoy the smell of fresh air entering inside and view their unique American Indian décor.

Tourists can also enjoy shopping in the lodge boutiques and relax through the nature's wonderful and refreshing atmosphere inside the national park's property and its grounds. Yosemite provides complimentary valet parking and many visitors with their own vehicles can also park here. They can just take the shuttles to the other areas of Yosemite valley if they want to view the nature's amazing beauty inside the park.

Guests who prefer not stay in Yosemite's hotels can still receive and enjoy some of the parks food services, lobby bar and drinks. Visit other hotels located outside the valley for affordable rates and easier booking. A popular hotel like the Awahnee is good if you have enough budget for your travel especially when you plan to stay for a week or two.

Step 2

Choose the right road leading to Yosemite National Park. There are five roads that will lead you into Yosemite Valley, Central California. You need to check the present conditions of some of these roads for a safer drive because they could be slippery depending on the weather or the time of year of which you will be traveling.

The Mariposa Grove Road is is one of the longest roads and the easiest road if you're coming from the south of Yosemite. You can also choose routes 120 and 140 because these are shorter if you enter from the west although you'll be greeted with a high altitude with minimum protection from the very strong wind.

Step 3

Bring your own food and cooking supplies. Many of the visitors do this and when they are inside the huge areas in Yosemite's National Park, they can just cook their own food. There are also small parks located in this national park and once you'll get hungry on every stop prior reaching Yosemite, you can just eat.

So it's better to be ready with all the things needed for cooking in case you want a hot soup and meal. If you're traveling with kids, this is a very enjoyable time to cook with them. You're not allowed to drive much faster than 35 miles per hour once you get into the foothills so there is a big tendency that you'll get hungry and you may not see some restaurants along the way. When you're planning to cook and camp, just make sure to clean up before leaving the vicinity.

If you want to eat a gourmet meal then you can dine at the Ahwahnee hotel. Men are required to wear long slacks and a collared shirt in the main dining room at night. Just make advance reservations if you want to experience fine dining at these types of hotels like the Yosemite Lodge, Ahwahnee or Wawona Hotel. Their meals are usually served during breakfast and lunch inside the dining area or out by the pool. Most guests love to sit by the pool while enjoying a drink and viewing the green scenery in the park.

Step 4

Enjoy various activities when visiting Yosemite National Park. This place can offer many fun and challenging activities that can be enjoyed by groups of people or families. Yosemite National Park covers more than 1,000 square miles of the western Sierra Nevada mountains. The hiking trails, climbing sites and biking routes are just some of them. You can also take a refreshing swim in the clear water that Yosemite can offer.

Drive your car to Curry Village or ask for an internal Yosemite shuttle bus to take you there. You can rent rafts at the Curry Village Recreation Center and one raft can provide four to six adult passengers. The raft rentals in Yosemite National Park include life jackets for all raft passengers and two paddles. Rafters should weigh at least fifty pounds. You'll also be invited to attend a short orientation for safety purposes before you can enjoy your river rafting journey.

Yosemite is a national park home to a wide variety of animal species. Some of the animals that can be found in the expansive park are the "California Golden Bears", deer, Bobcat, Marmot, "American Black Bears" and various types of snakes.

Yosemite National Park is popularly known for its rock climbing site famous for the name "El Capitan" and the thousand Giant Sequoia trees which are known to be the tallest tree species in the whole world. The park spans an area of about 761,266 acres which is really challenging for adventurous people who love the great outdoors. Hiking tours are often done by tourists once they visit this very popular place.

Tips & Warnings


Bring cash because you need to pay for the cost of your vehicle to enter Yosemite National Park.

Check if raft rentals are available during your trip. Raft season generally starts in late month of May and runs up until July. If the water in the river at Sentinel Bridge is lower than six and a half feet, rafting will be allowed.

You can also choose the tent cabins at Curry Village that are readily available for small groups or couples visiting Yosemite.

If you love to cook, check the Chefs' Holidays that are held on the months of January and February which will usually feature well-known chefs where they provide kitchen tours, cooking classes and demonstrations.

Park your vehicle and take one of those shuttle buses to many of the Valley attractions because you'll be limited to the roads that are allowed to be driven in Yosemite, Central Valley, California.

Parking your vehicle at the Ahwahnee hotel is free so you can try to do this. When you plan to try to park there, enter and view the beauty of the hotel as well as the well-maintained lawns and grounds.

Yosemite National Park has a Mediterranean type of climate where the rest of the seasons are extremely dry, winters has more precipitation and are usually mild. Temperatures and precipitation will differ and this will depend mostly on the elevation. Humidity is low in most parts of Yosemite park but thunderstorms could be frequent too.


Fill up your vehicle's gas tank at neighboring towns because it's so difficult to find one once you're already in the valley.

If you can't fill up your gas tank, be very patient because it can take long for you to wait for the Emergency Fuel Service to pull and remove your vehicle out of a bind.

Prepare for bears and other wild animals once you'll arrive at Yosemite. Eat your food once you'll finish cooking or preparing them because bears and other wild animals will go for your food even those junk foods that you have inside your vehicle.

Avoid leaving any kind of food inside your vehicle. The bears can even destroy your car once you leave any strong smelling food. Be observant and read the signs about bears and wildcats for your own safety and protection.

Contact Yosemite's National Park Service for more information with the rules and regulations about climbing, hiking, biking and camping in Yosemite National Park, Central California. Confirm the reservations that you had made for Yosemite prior leaving home so that you can save time and money.



May 22, 2010 4:20pm
Great article! I have heared about this Yosemite National Park in Central California before but I haven't got as detailed as the info you provided in one article. Thanks for sharing this! Seems like a great place to go camping, etc.! :-)
May 23, 2010 2:52am
I haven't been to Yosemite since I was about 3 years old (a few years ago). Nice article, full of great information.
May 24, 2010 2:24am
Liked your complete travel experience explained very well. The package is full of good tips. Another thumbs up article.
May 24, 2010 9:13pm
Thank you for the wonderful article on Yosemite. My husband and I traveled there often when we were young, and now our children and grandchildren are making the trip. It is a wonderful place. Great article!
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