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!
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
Driving around Yosemite National Park
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.
Less than 2 miles down the road from Olmsted Point was the beautiful 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.