Thursday, June 17, 2021

Yosemite National Park in a Day! 5/31/21

Yosemite National Park in a Day

Hubby was lucky to get a reservation for Yosemite National Park on Memorial day this year. But what can we do in one day in a park with so many interesting hikes and things to see? It was hard to choose with the short amount of time but we came up with a fun itinerary and I was happy with how the day turned out.

With only one day in the park, we chose to stay the night before in a hotel outside of the park (Best Western Plus Yosemite Gateway Inn) in Oakhurst. It is about a half hour drive to the south park entrance. That way we could get an early start. We would have liked to stay some place in the park, but everything was already booked. The hotel was nice and the boys really enjoyed the outdoor pool. We even did a fun short hike near Bass Lake (Angel Falls via Willow Creek Trail) after we checked into the hotel. 

Our plan for the day in Yosemite was to hit these spots:

1. Glacier Point

2. Sentinel Dome

3. The Valley 

We have been to the National Park before, but it is always a treat to see the amazing views. We headed out early Monday morning but on the way up our 10 year old was having problems with motion sickness. 

After multiple stops along the roadway, we finally got to our first destination, Glacier Point.

From the parking lot, it is a short walk to get to the incredible views at Glacier Point. From multiple points, you can get views of Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, Vernal Falls, Nevada Falls, and Clouds Rest.

Glacier Point views
Half dome from Glacier Point
Yosemite falls from Glacier Point

We hung out at Glacier Point for over an hour. There is a nice gift shop up there where you can buy souvenirs, snacks, sandwiches, and even ice cream bars.  

Next up, was our hike up Sentinel Dome. The drive from Glacier Point to the trailhead was less than 10 minutes. Sentinel Dome is a nice short hike with 360 degree views at the top. According to my Garmin it was 2.7 miles roundtrip from where we parked. We had to park on the side of the road, since the lot was already full when we got there (close to 10am). We had done the hike 5 years ago and you can see the post here. The last bit to the top is a little challenging but the views are definitely worth it.

Hiking Sentinel Dome
We ate some snacks at the top and enjoyed the scenery.
Yosemite falls from Sentinel Dome
Taft Point and El Capitan on the left, Yosemite Falls on the right. 
Taft point and El Capitan from Sentinel DomeYosemite Falls from Sentinel Dome
Family shot. We spent a little over 2 hours total at Sentinel Dome. This includes the hike - there and back.
Lastly, we hit Yosemite Valley. The drive from Sentinel Dome trailhead to the valley is about 45 minutes. On the way to the valley, don't forget to stop at Tunnel View to get a nice picture. We didn't take a shot this time, but if it's your first time there, definitely stop to snap a picture.

In the valley, there are stops you can make on the road to take shots. Here is a shot I got on the way to Curry Village. 
boardwalk and yosemite falls
In Curry Village we had a late lunch at one of their eateries. Yes, there are restaurants in the valley which is nice and convenient. After lunch, we went for a walk to lower Yosemite falls.
Yosemite Falls
Hubby and the boys at the base of Lower Yosemite Falls.
Lower Yosemite falls
After hitting Lower Yosemite Falls, we headed back to our car and pretty much called it a day. With about a 3.5 hour drive back to Davis, we figured it was time to say goodbye to Yosemite. On the drive out however we did stop one more time to get a picture by El Capitan. We couldn't resist. It is one amazing rock.
There you have it, our day in Yosemite National Park. I must say that having needing a reservation to enter the park (due to COVID) was great. It was so nice to not have the normal traffic jam in the valley. The park in general not being so crowded made for a more pleasant experience. I actually think it would be nice if they kept the reservation system so it's not the usual madhouse in peak season. I guess either way it's always a memorable experience when we visit Yosemite! :)

Happy hiking!

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