From Sequoia NP we started our next road trip with destination Yosemite National Park. Our road trip was pretty packed but we decided to stay three nights here. Unfortunately, we booked pretty late and since this is one of the most popular parks we could not get a spot in the best campsites in the park. We stayed at Yosemite Pines a bit outside the valley and after the amazing Sequoia campground, this one was pretty disappointing. It is super dusty, not a nice view and worst of all it has a little petting zoo that stinks and the animals have to live in a tiny space together. We highly recommend booking ahead and choosing a site inside the park.
Another advantage for camping within Yosemite is, that you have the option to take any of the trails. For people that are in shape and like hiking, there are two main trails. The first and most popular is the Half Dome hike (you’ll need a permit). On this hike, you cover between 14 and 16 miles, 4800-foot altitude and you will need 10-12 hours. You need to stay in the park otherwise you won’t be able to start early enough. Make sure you bring sunscreen and a lot of water and wear good footwear. The alternative we chose was the Upper Falls Trail. A 7.2-mile round hike that covers 2700 foot and requires 6-8 hours. It sounds a lot less than the half dome but don’t be fooled. Most of the trail is very steep with little shade which made it pretty tough because we had about 35 degrees Celsius. However, all the pain is worth it when you arrive at the top. We additionally walked 2.5 miles extra to the Yosemite Point where you have a stunning view of the Half Dome and Yosemite Valley. In my opinion, the view over the Half Dome makes this hike my preferred choice. To cool off you can enjoy a splash in the river on the top of the falls.
Since we had some more hikes planned the days after, we decided to take a day off the next day to relax. Close to our campsite, we found the Rainbow Pools. It’s an ideal place to spend a chilled day, especially in the high-temperature summer days. Here you can just float around, climb on rocks, lie down by the riverside or jump from the falls into a natural pool.
If you have time, the park has way more trails, rivers and pools to offer. In case you got only a short time like us, we highly recommend this itinerary.