Yosemite National Park in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains of California is one of the most popular attractions in the world and with so many accessible options for travelers, it is a destination everyone should visit. It is a place of beauty, history and outdoor physical activity.
The preservation of this world renowned park is due to John Muir and President Roosevelt. On a hike here in Yosemite National Park, John Muir convinced President Roosevelt to protect Yosemite’s natural exquisiteness from ever being developed along with over 200 other areas in the United States.
Planning for the Seasons
When planning a trip to Yosemite there are a couple things to consider. Booking a room is the first objective and many are surprised to know that Yosemite can easily fill up a year in advance, especially for weekends so plan accordingly.
Another thing to consider is the time of year. Being that Yosemite National Park is an international tourist destination, one can expect to find non-English speaking visitors at the park year-round but the height of this season falls between June and September. More people means more crowds at the major attractions and longer lines to get food.
Yosemite offers a variety of activities relating to the greatness that is Yosemite, including free art classes. During the warmer months, lasting up to Labor Day, there are some nighttime activities, like a guided star walk. Reservations are required for most activities and most are free.
One of the best times to visit Yosemite is in later April or May. The snow on the valley floor will be melted (even in March there can be snow), waterfalls will be bountiful, fields filled with wildflowers, and activities in full swing. Late October to early November is the period to experience the leaves changing colors, but water sources tend to be dryer. Nonetheless, every season in Yosemite is beautiful.
Getting Here + Gas
Highway 120, 140 and 41 are the routes that reach Yosemite. Many people drive to Yosemite but public transportation is also an option. Before reaching the gates to Yosemite no matter what route you take, it’s a good idea to fill up gas because attractions are greatly spaced out. Also keep in mind that as you get closer to the Yosemite the price of gas increases. Read more details about getting to Yosemite.
Valley Floor Tours + Shuttle Services
All around the park are stations for the Yosemite Shuttle, which is free and accessible via ramp. If looking for an organized tour you pay for (other than the one described above at Mariposa Grove) then try either the open-air tram or the Grand Tour. The Grand Tours runs once a day and takes visitors around the Yosemite Valley Floor, to Glacier Point and the Mariposa Grove. The Grand Tour operates in an enclosed shuttle with a lift.
The open-air tram takes you around the Yosemite Valley Floor and to either Tuolumne Meadows or Glacier Point. This tour requires an external ramp, so notifying the staff when purchasing the tickets is a must. This tour runs every 2 hours. Both tours depart from the Yosemite Lodge. You can purchase tickets at either the Yosemite Lodge, Curry Village or by calling 209-372-4386.
Where to Eat?
In Yosemite there are not many places to eat. During the day, the Mountain Room Restaurant by the Yosemite Lodge isn’t open; only for dinner and is a one of two fine dining options in Yosemite. The other is the Awhanee Hotel, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is as fine dining as you can get in Yosemite. The food court at the Yosemite Lodge was always an option or there are a few selections at Curry Village from buffets to fresh-baked pizza to Mexican take-out, all within steps of one another.
At the Yosemite Village there are a few choices including getting a premade sandwich, wrap, sushi, salad or tons of snacks at the General Store, something from the Village Grill or Degan’s Deli. A sandwich sounded right on the money and patiently waited in line to be served; there is almost always a line. Degan’s Deli is open in the morning too, serving breakfast items, which is convenient if you want to get a sandwich early to take with you on day trip adventure. It cost about $20 for two sandwiches and two bags of chips. The deli also had to-go breakfast items and snacks.
Where to Stay?
From luxury accommodations to tent camping, Yosemite has all kind of options for travelers. Every single option is also accessible. Here is an article that gives you an overview with links to places to stay. At Curry Village alone you will find different accessible accommodations. Also, see this review for the Yosemite Lodge on the Valley Floor, the Tenaya Lodge right outside the park gate, and Yosemite Bug Resort off Highway 140.