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Road Trip Day 4: Hiking Yosemite National Park | Don't Ever Look Back

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Road Trip Day 4: Hiking Yosemite National Park

Road Trip Day 4: Hiking Yosemite National Park

Our accommodation within Yosemite National Park was the tented camp of Curry Village. We booked Curry Village two months in advance as this was the only lodging available to us within the national park. Apparently accommodations with plumbing sell out as early as a year in advance so if you want to go to Yosemite next summer, get in now!

Curry Village

Our canvas tent cabins at Curry Village.

How would we describe our accommodation? It was pricey and you could hear every noise from the surrounding tents which made sleep difficult, but we were paying for the perfect location inside Yosemite Valley. So we gritted our teeth and got as much sleep as we possibly could before awaking early in the morning for a day of hiking and exploring.

Yosemite Valley Shuttle

Yosemite Valley Shuttle

Yosemite Valley Shuttle.

Although we had our rental car, the free Yosemite Valley Shuttle was the perfect way to explore the Yosemite Valley. The shuttle runs every 10 minutes and picked us up from where we were staying at Curry Village and transported us to the trailhead of the 2 nearby hikes we wanted to do.

Vernal Fall Footbridge

Start of the Vernal Fall Hike

Start of the Vernal Fall Hike.

We decided to start our morning with one of Yosemite’s most popular trails, the 2-mile round-trip hike to the Vernal Fall Footbridge. The shuttle took us right to the trailhead where we commenced the steep walk to the footbridge.

On the hike to Nevada Fall Footbridge

On the hike to Vernal Fall Footbridge.

The Vernal Fall Footbridge hike is rated a moderate hike but there was enough climbing to make us sweat quite a lot. We had plenty of rest stops along the way but the effort was certain worth it, rewarding us with views like the one above. We even spotted a mountain lion (they’re much smaller than we had imagined!) and a tiny California Mountain snake on the hike up.

A view of Vernal Fall from the footbridge.

A view of Vernal Fall from the footbridge.

After about an hour of hiking, we made it to the Vernal Fall footbridge which gave us a beautiful view of Vernal Falls. We would have loved to have kept going along the Mist Trail but we had already used a lot of our energy so opted to turn around and head back to the trailhead and the bus stop. Hiking downhill was a lot easier, thankfully!

Lower Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls Trail Bus Stop

Yosemite Falls Trail Bus Stop.

After the challenging Vernal Fall Footbridge hike, a lighter hike was the next on our list and the Lower Yosemite Falls was our destination. This would give us a view of the lower section of the tallest waterfall in North America without too much physical exertion.

The start of the hike to Lower Yosemite Falls

The start of the quarter-mile hike to Lower Yosemite Falls.

This hike was definitely more our style! Short and with very little elevation gain. The hot midday sun made it a little more difficult than it should have been but before you knew it, we were at the viewing point for Lower Yosemite Falls.

Lower Yosemite Falls

Lower Yosemite Falls.

We kept walking a little further and just off the track was a pretty little rock pool where we got this great photo of the two of us. Satisfied, we got back on the Yosemite Valley Shuttle and now it was time for lunch!

Near the Lower Yosemite Fall trail.

The two of us near the Lower Yosemite Fall trail.

Driving around Yosemite National Park

Driving near Tuolumne Meadows

Driving near Tuolumne Meadows.

After the two morning hikes and lunch, we decided to get in our car for the afternoon and drive out to Tuolumne Meadows on California State Route 120. The best part of having a car was being able to stop wherever we wanted and we had two favorites along the way.

The first was Olmsted Point which offered the view below looking southwest into Yosemite Valley.

Olmsted Point

The view from Olmsted Point.

Less than 2 miles down the road from Olmsted Point was the beautiful Tenaya Lake.

Tenaya Lake

Tenaya Lake.

Yosemite National Park is a destination that just can’t be done in one day – you really could spend a lifetime exploring the national park. With that said, we definitely made the most out of our time in Yosemite and look forward to another visit one day.

We’re currently road tripping through California thanks to the generous help of Fox Rent A Car.


  1. Posted August 30, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Scenery looks amazing guys, as does the weather! Glad you’re having fun 🙂

    • Posted August 31, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      It truly was amazing – we’re having such a fantastic time! 🙂

  2. Posted August 31, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Stunning scenery. I love these photos. I’ve yet to visit California, but people tell me the climate is very similar to the Canary Islands, and I have to say that this reminds me of parts of this island…..but on a much grander scale. I can’t wait to go! I have some of Galen Rowell’s books with so may of the photos taken in Yosemite. I was showing them to a Spanish friend Saturday, and she just couldn’t believe the beauty! Thanks for sharing these!

    • Posted September 2, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      The climate in California is so diverse… over the past month we’ve experienced temperatures in the low 60’s in San Francisco where we were still cold in jeans and had to postpone a visit to Palm Springs because it was 112+ degrees. But if you choose your spots carefully, you’re likely to experience what we would call perfect weather.

  3. Posted September 1, 2011 at 1:23 am | Permalink

    Great post! You documented your visit very well which is nice for people like me who have never been there.

    • Posted September 2, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Lori – definitely recommend a visit if you ever have the chance!

  4. Posted September 2, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Some stunning photos there. I was really eager to visit Yosemite when I was in the States, but I didn’t end up having the time 🙁

    Love your layout by the way. Very clear and easy to read 🙂

    • Posted September 2, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      We missed out on Yosemite the last time we were here in 2009 so made sure to squeeze it in this time, but one day definitely wasn’t enough to see everything we wanted. Hope you get to see it one day and thanks for the nice words.

  5. Posted September 12, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Actually disgusted that I am American and have never been here. Oh well, one day for sure. It is a big country, afterall, right? Awesome pics though guys!

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