Yosemite National Park in California is a real gem. Think of handsome granite rock formations towering above your head – the largest monoliths in the world. Majestic waterfalls tumble hundreds of meters into pristine pools of perfection. Giant Sequoia trees stand proud amongst pristine forest and exploration and adventure beckon. Yosemite sure is a wonderful place and here are just a selection of the must see highlights for any Yosemite vacation.
Hike out to a Waterfall
The path that takes you to the foot of Yosemite Falls is arguably one of the most iconic and photogenic spots in the whole park. The path is paved which means that it is easily accessible. You can drive into the parking lot and then follow the easy walk along a mossy lagoon to reach the misty bottom. If you are feeling a little more energetic then you can trek a little further get a dramatic view of the serene Verno, Bridalveil or Sentinel Falls. The hike in through the forest is a feast for the senses with deep pine scents which emanate from the Sugar Pines and Incense Cedars.
Immerse Yourself in a Bed of Flowers
If you’re visiting Yosemite National Park in Spring or Fall then you have got to indulge yourself in this wonderful experience. When the crowds have dwindled away and the sweeping valley has developed its seasonal color. From March to May is the wildflower season, so take Highway 140 into the park and keep an eye out for golden yellow poppies and purple spider lupines on the mountainside. Once in the park you can see entire meadows of these flowers along with azaleas, evening primrose, violets and pink redbuds. Take the Cook’s Meadow Loop, Wawona Meadow Loop and the trails which run alongside the Wapama Falls to find your own serene patch of beautiful flowers to lie down in.
Play in a Giant Sequoia
This is a great one for the kids. The Sequoia National Forest borders the south of Yosemite and it is here that you will find trees larger than your wildest expectations. The trees are thought to be around 1,800 to 2,700 years old and these gentle giants stand as tall as a 26-story building. The largest of these, General Sherman, is believed to be the largest living thing in the world. Kids will love trying to wrap their arms around one of these giants and you can walk right inside one too!
Raft in the Merced River Canyon
Taking to the wild waters of Yosemite National Park lets you see the place from a whole new perspective. Spring is the best time to take a rough n’ tumble raft ride through rapids graded 3 and 4. A great buzz for adventurous adults and older kids, it’s a wonderful way to see otherwise hidden parts of the park. In the summertime, the rapids drop to Levels 2 and 3 which almost all ages can enjoy.
Fly High on a Zipline Tour
Yosemite Hipline Tours are a great way to see the park from a totally new perspective and have heaps of fun in the process. Suitable for all the family, the guided zipline tour takes around 1 ½ hour and has six stages. Helmets, harnesses and safety equipment are provided and then the fun begins. Head up into the Polaris range of mountains and enjoy soaring through the air, racing each other on dual lines and take in the stunning view of Downtown Historic Mariposa on the grand finale descent.
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David Wilson is a travel writer finding the best places to live and visit in the U.S.