The Native Americans -- mostly Miwok but some Paiute -- first inhabited Yosemite over 10,000 years ago. The discovery of gold in California brought the first onslaught of non-native settlers to Yosemite Valley, around 1850. It wasn’t long before word spread of Yosemite’s awe inspiring beauty. In 1855, the first tourists visited the Valley.
As soon as Yosemite was discovered by non-natives, the fight to protect this enchanting bit of nature began. Read more about the history of Yosemite here.
It’s all about when you go!
An awesome time to visit the park! Curry Village was surprisingly sparsely populated with tourists on my weeklong trip.
Badger Pass Ski Area in Yosemite is one of only three lift serviced ski areas operating within a National Park!
Be aware that many parts of the park are closed during the winter, and it’s possible many roads (such as the road leading to Glacier Point) might be snowed in.
Another great time to visit! Slightly busier than fall.
Very busy! For summer trips it’s best to book a year in advance in order to ensure a spot.
Vernal and Nevada Falls
This hike is a great day-venture. It’s comprised of two waterfalls - Varnal and Nevada (as you might have guessed from the name of the hike). You can choose to stop at Vernal if you’re not up for the full hike, but I highly recommend doing both. Pack a lunch and have a rewarding picnic at the top of Nevada Falls, where you’ll have an amazing view of the valley below.
Designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood who also designed the historic Yosemite Post Office and became known for his designs of several National Park Lodges.
Dating from 1927, this historic landmark hotel is set on the valley floor with views of Half Dome, Glacier Point and Yosemite Falls. It was built as a option for the wealthier tourist and does not disappoint with it’s beautiful architecture and stunning setting. This hotel is a must see.
Situated all within convenient walking distance from each other are:
Yosemite Post Office - This historic post office was completed in 1925 and recently renovated. It was designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_Stanley_Underwood) who went on to design the closeby Ahwahnee Hotel.
Yosemite Theater - A tiny theater located right next to the Yosemite Visitor Center, the theater often shows short 20-40 min. long videos on the history of the park. They’re well worth a watch if you can catch a showing.
Wilderness Center - More interactive information about the park and it’s history. Walkthrough!
Visitors Center - This wasn't open during our visit :/
Yosemite Museum - A small museum with adjacent art gallery. This museum has artifacts and information focused on the native american inhabitants of the valley.
Ansel Adams Gallery - More of a Ansel Adams themed gift shop, this gallery is fun for some photography inspiration and a peak at some of Ansel Adam’s best work.
Glacier point - It’s a bit of a drive to get here from the Valley, but WELL worth it. (another option to get here is to take the Four Mile Trail which runs from Curry Village to Glacier Point (http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/fourmiletrail.htm).
The view is spectacular. You can see pretty much the entire valley, and you get an iconic view of Half Dome.
Fun Fact: Glacier Point was once the location of the historic Glacier Point Hotel, which ended up burning down in 1969. It was also the location where the historic Yosemite Firefall occurred. Up till 1969, every night at 9pm, burning coal was pushed over the edge of Glacier Point. It looked like a waterfall of fire, legend has it. The spectacle was eventually shut down, because so many people came to watch that it started negatively affecting the wildlife.
Washburn point - This is a lookout point worth visiting along your drive to Glacier Point. You get stunning views of the valley and a perfect profile view of Half Dome.
Appreciate Yosemite at night! Many people stay inside after dark, but there’s tons to enjoy once night falls. Stars, moon, and other glorious sights make a grand view after sun sets.
We stayed in Camp Curry, so here’s the sitch:
These are affordable tent-cabins, for the mildly outdoorsy-type. You know, the folk who want to feel like they’re one with nature but not roughing it to the extreme. Communal bathrooms and showers, wifi only available in the lounge, and don't count on getting cell reception.
Food - Food options are limited and there’s strict laws on where it’s stored due to bears. The local cafeteria serves very mediocre overpriced food. We recommend bringing snacks and ready made foods, as cooking is not allowed in the camp. There is, however, a microwave in the market, so if you consider that cooking, help yourself. Yosemite isn't a foodie destination. Lets leave it at that.