travel

{VIDEO} Yosemite National Park Travel Recap

September 25, 2015

I honestly can’t believe I’m here writing this post. A part of me is a little depressed that I’m writing a travel recap because I’m realizing that this trip that we had dreamed up is already over. At the same time, having these images and video allows me to see how truly fortunate we are to have had this experience.

A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze.I left a piece of my heart in Yosemite National Park. I’m thrilled I’m able to share that piece with you today.

For those of you who have never heard of Yosemite, it is a U.S. National Park east of San Francisco, California in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It is most famous for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, redwood trees and meadows, and together they create one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.

In my research for this trip I found a lot of information about Yosemite from park websites, but not nearly enough travel guides from bloggers. I personally like reading blogger accounts of their trips because it can give you a better sense of what is actually feasible and also includes helpful tips and feedback. I’m hoping this post will do that for others who are planning trips to Yosemite.

And just for good measure, I included a video so you could see how spectacular the trip truly was as well as a little behind-the-scenes action for some good laughs. C and I were joined by our friends Ben and Steph and I don’t think any of us had ever laughed that hard in our lives. Enjoy!

WHERE TO STAY

The original plan had been to camp (yes like real camping) but we were a little late to the permit game and while we could have rolled the dice and tried a day-off camping permit, we opted not to.

Curry Village

A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze.The next best solution to camping was “glamping” at Curry Village in the Yosemite Valley. To-be-honest I wouldn’t say this was total glamping but it certainly wasn’t sleeping out in the woods in a tent. Curry Village is made up of wood and canvas tents with raised single and double beds that include bedding and towels. There’s a communal shower house and bathrooms. All of us stayed in one tent and it was absolutely perfect. We asked to stay on the other side of camp from the office so it would be a lot quieter (i.e. we wouldn’t get yelled at if we were up late laughing) so I’d recommend that.

The only downside to Curry was that you cannot cook within the camp. You can bring pre-made food and store it in the bear box outside your cabin, but there are no fire pits to cook things yourself. There are several restaurants/cafeteria to eat at so you aren’t short on food but if you’re looking to cook stuff yourself then Curry probably isn’t the place for you.

We stayed there for the first two nights and we were all comfortable but still felt like we were getting the Yosemite wilderness experience.

Housekeeping Camp

A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze.The last night we stayed at Housekeeping Camp, which was just down the road from Curry and also in the valley. We weren’t able to get 3 nights at Curry but it ended up being awesome because we got a totally different sleeping experience at Housekeeping.

I would say that Housekeeping was a bit more rustic (or budget…) compared to Curry but all of the amenities were there. The main difference was having less of a cabin-type feel (more like a walled structure with a tarp on top), bunk-beds and a fire pit so you can cook outside your tent. We also asked for a cabin on the river which wasn’t quite accurate (more like close to the river) but it was better than being in one of the center cabins or next to the bathrooms.

If you want to bring food and cook it over the fire, then housekeeping is a good bet. Don’t expect too much other than a bed frame, fire pit (comes with a cooking grate), bed sheets (no towels) and a bear box.

WHAT TO DO

Most of what we did in Yosemite was hike and eat. It’s also known for its rock climbing but we aren’t THAT crazy or experienced so we didn’t attempt any climbing. We are still a bit crazy though and tackled some serious hiking. In terms of experience, I wouldn’t recommend any of these trails to beginners but if you’re in pretty good shape and up for a challenge, I’d suggest trying every hike we did!

4 mile trail to glacier point

A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze. Don’t let the name fool you, this trail is actually 4.8 miles…not entirely certain why they didn’t round-up to the 5 mile trail. This trail also is not for the faint of heart. It is entirely uphill with tons of switchbacks. It usually takes 3-4 hours but we powered up it in 2.5 with a few short snack/water stops. If you’re not up up for the intensity, you can also take the free shuttle up to glacier point; however the view from this hike of glacier point, half dome and the entire valley is unparalleled.

A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze.Stop and have lunch at Glacier Point before hopping on the next trail…

A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze.Panorama trail

From Glacier Point you can catch the Panorama Trail which is an 8.2 mile trail that takes you all along the ridge of the valley, across two waterfalls (Nevada and Vernal) and then back into the valley. This trail is also quite challenging but more for the steep downhill with short bursts of uphill at one point.

A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze.I have no words for the beauty of this trail. For the classic and majestic views of the granite peaks, this is your trail. But if you’re not too strong on downhill or stairs make sure you bring a walking stick. This trail will also take you along the famous John Muir trail along the waterfalls.

A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze.If you do 4 miles trail and panorama trail together prepare yourself to be hiking over 15 miles (including the time it takes to get to and from the trails) in one day. We were completely shot at the end of the day but it was worth it.

Tenaya Lake

A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze.Day 2 we headed up to Tuolumne Meadows and weren’t too sure what to expect. Along the way we based Tenaya Lake which was so gorgeous and sparkling blue that we had to stop there for lunch. On our way out of the Meadows and back to the valley, we also stopped there for a drink and some apps on the beach.

A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze.Prepare yourself for at least an hour drive from the valley up to the meadows. There is a free shuttle if you don’t have a car but it definitely takes up a good part of your day.

Gaylor Lakes Trail and Peak

A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze.Originally our plan was to hike Lemberts Dome but we missed the turn-off for it and ended up at the Gaylor Lakes trailhead just before the Tioga Pass. We were all so happy we did because this hike felt absolutely surreal. It’s definitely challenging getting up to the ridge but once you reach it, you have a gorgeous view over the meadows and Gaylor Lakes. You can also walk down to the lakes and walk between and around them. The water is freezing but if you’re crazy like my friends, try jumping in!

A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze.We also went somewhat off the beaten path and hiked up to the top of Gaylor Peak. I’m not sure if it was a legit trail or not (there definitely wasn’t a path) but if you’re a bit of a risk taker, have A LOT of stamina and want an unreal view, turn right at the ridge and attempt to climb the peak. Please don’t sue me if something happens though.

WHERE TO EAT

We showed up at the park with quite a bit of food and I’m glad we came prepared. I brought energy balls, trail mix nut butters and oatmeal packs, which helped with easy (and cheap!) breakfasts and hiking snacks and Steph basically brought a grocery store from San Francisco. We also stopped at a grocery store in Groveland (the last town before entering the park) to pick up booze, some cured meats, bread and a few other random goodies since food gets substantially more expensive in the park. The only downside is having to store it all in a bear box but that’s better than getting eaten by a bear.

A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze.We did purchase a few meals and ingredients in the park too. After hiking 15 miles we went to the Curry cafeteria and got a surprisingly healthy meal. It’s a bit pricey $15 for an entree with 2 sides but the turkey, rice and veggie medley I got were delicious. C and Ben got pizzas which looked good and apparently tasted good for $20. Curry has the cafeteria, which also serves breakfast ($10) and Peets Coffee (so key!), the pizza place as well as a burger joint. Curry as well as Housekeeping camp both have mini grocery stores (you can get essentials) and there’s also another store and restaurant in the Yosemite Valley Village. It isn’t an issue if you show up without food, but expect to pay a pretty penny.

A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze. For our last night we just paid up and bought groceries from the store up in Tuolumne Meadows. We spent $80 on dinner and breakfast for four, which we cooked over the fire at Housekeeping Camp.

WHAT TO PACK

I figured I’d include a list of things to pack that may not be so obvious. One thing you learn out in the woods is that you can pretty much improvise anything, but certain things would have been helpful or were complete life-savers for us.

1. Sleeping Bag – both camps had bedding but it definitely got cool at night and a sleeping bag was key.

2. Flashlight/Headlamp – if you go camping without either of these…good luck.

3. Reusable plates, silverware and cups- we were good on cups but used some interesting things for plates.

4. A good knife and small cutting board – came in serious handy

5. Tongs – if you’re cooking on a fire you’re going to want tongs to flip and turn food. We used chopsticks (don’t ask why we had chopsticks and not tongs…) but it would have been a lot easier with tongs.

6. Wipes or disinfectant – accidents happen in the woods…

7. Waterbottle – There are places to fill your waterbottle in the camps and at a trailheads so make sure you bring a reusable waterbottle.

8. Lip chap – Because of the elevation it is very dry. Try to get one with SPF in it so you don’t burn your lips like I did.

9. Down vest or jacket – it gets very cool at night and as you hike towards peaks so you’ll want one or both to keep warm (same goes for a hat)

10. Large beach blanket – We bunked up at couple of places to sit and enjoy the view and our large beach blanket was so key.

11. Beach chairs or portable chairs – If you’re staying at Housekeeping Camp, you’re going to want chairs so you can sit around the fire. We pulled a bench-table over but chairs would have been nice.

Despite all of the info and the video above, I still couldn’t narrow down all of my pictures so like my Banff post, I’m including a photo dump with some of my favourites. I hope these inspire you to go see the beauty that is Yosemite with your own eyes!

A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze. A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze. A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze.A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze.A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze.A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze.A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze.A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze.A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze.A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze.A complete travel guide to travelling in Yosemite National Park. From where to stay, go and eat this Yosemite National Park Travel Guide will make your trip a breeze.Have you ever been to Yosemite? What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever visited?

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  • Reply
    Lexi @ Lexi's Clean Kitchen
    September 25, 2015 at 8:31 am

    Looks like a trip of a lifetime! You can see how relaxed C is in the part when you talk about making breakfast. Love it 🙂 XOXO.
    Lexi @ Lexi’s Clean Kitchen recently posted…Seared Scallops with Zucchini, King Oyster Mushroom, and Summer Squash Spaghetti with Shaved Garlic and White Truffle Emulsion

  • Reply
    Megan @ Straight From The Jar
    September 25, 2015 at 8:33 am

    Such a great recap! Definitely looked like an amazing trip!

    (Can you and C be any cuter???)
    Megan @ Straight From The Jar recently posted…Pumpkin Spice Rice Pudding

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      September 27, 2015 at 9:03 am

      Oh staaaaaaap. Double date next time you two are in T.O.?!

  • Reply
    Auntie Helene
    September 25, 2015 at 9:59 am

    What a great video, photos and information packed blog. Seeing all your happy faces certainly makes people want to go there and see that magnificence for themselves.

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      September 27, 2015 at 9:03 am

      Aw thank you Aunt Helene! It was truly one of the more spectacular places I have visited!

  • Reply
    Stella @ Stellicious Life
    September 25, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Gorgeous photos and I bet the scenery is even more breathtaking in person!

    OMG that photo with you and C standing at the edge of the cliff!! Looks like you are stepping into nothing!
    Stella @ Stellicious Life recently posted…Gorgonzola Peach and Blueberries Crostini

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      September 27, 2015 at 9:02 am

      It felt like we were on top of the world! Thanks so much, lovely!

  • Reply
    Sahar
    September 25, 2015 at 10:31 am

    I love the video and this place looks amazing!!! xoxo
    Sahar recently posted…Glazed Banana Bread

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      September 27, 2015 at 9:02 am

      Thank you, lovebug!!! Still recovering from such a fab trip 🙂

  • Reply
    Sara Giboney @Sweet Success
    September 25, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Your trip sounds amazing!! The photos are absolutely beautiful!!

    My boyfriend and I, and his family, went to Yellowstone over the summer. It was so incredible. I highly recommend camping and hiking there! http://sweetsuccessbysara.com/blog/2015/07/02/yellowstone-national-park-trip-recap

    Yosemite is definitely on our list!!

  • Reply
    Suzanne
    September 25, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Truly spectacular! I’ve found an intense love for hiking up here in Eastern Ontario. Frontenac Park is a gem, and le gacon and I are taking on the ‘Frontenac Challenge’; 160km of trails in two months! Yosemite is calling for me!!!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      September 27, 2015 at 9:01 am

      That sounds AMAZING. I need to explore more of the hiking scene in Ontario! Thanks, lovey. Hope all is well xoxo

  • Reply
    hayley @healthyregards
    September 26, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    I love Yosemite! It is hard to not leave a piece of your heart there. I have also stayed in Curry Village which was great but you make a good point about not being able to cook! Either way though the hikes are what make Yosemite so amazing. Happy you had such a great time!
    hayley @healthyregards recently posted…Pumpkin Kale Pesto

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      September 27, 2015 at 9:00 am

      So true! We would have eaten twigs if that’s all there was and been happy about it! Such a special place <3

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Eat the Gains
    September 27, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    Looks like you had an amazing vacation! Loved the video!
    Kelly @ Eat the Gains recently posted…Spiced Chicken Tropical Salad with Mango Coconut Dressing

  • Reply
    Ashley @ Fit Mitten Kitchen
    October 1, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Ahhh I finally just watched your video on YouTube, it was amazing! So so cool. Those tents remind me of the summer camp tents at Mi-A-Kon-Da (in Dundas) 🙂
    I’ve never been to Yosemite but this certainly makes me want to!
    Ashley @ Fit Mitten Kitchen recently posted…WEIGHT TRAINING WORKOUT #4 [Super Slow Sets]

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      October 1, 2015 at 3:33 pm

      I think I had friends who went to Mi-A-Kon-Da! Definitely felt like going back to camp again and made me miss it so much. If you get the chance to visit Yosemite, you totally should! xo

  • Reply
    Athina
    December 10, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    I LOVE this post! I am going to be visiting Cali in 2 weeks and am looking for ideas of fun things to do in the sun! Your blog is great, I just stumbled across it! Keep adventuring!

  • Reply
    Briana
    December 29, 2015 at 11:54 am

    Great post!! We’re planning our trip there in the beginning of March. What time of the year did y’all go? How was the weather?

    • Reply
      The Healthy Maven
      December 30, 2015 at 8:07 am

      We went in September and the weather was flawless! The only downside was that some of the waterfalls didn’t have any water, but that’s also partially because of the draught. I hear May/June is spectacular for the waterfalls but still a bit chilly. No matter what you will have an incredible time. Enjoy your trip!!

  • Reply
    Pilot Mark
    February 28, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    I loved my time in Yosemite National Park! I stayed in Curry Village and loved how easy it was to get around, the park’s attractions were so easily accessible! I particularly loved the view of Half Dome from almost every viewpoint throughout the park. I very much enjoyed watching the sun rise over Half Dome’s rugged shoulder and illuminate the surrounding valley in a golden glow. I often find that writing about my experiences on my site helps me to look back on all these incredible destinations and remember them clearly.

  • Reply
    shirley
    July 12, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Um, Yosemite is EAST of San Francisco, not WEST. West is the Pacific Ocean 🙂

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