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Seven Top Tips For Visiting Yosemite National Park

Seven Top Tips For Visiting Yosemite National Park main image

“No temple made with human hands can compete with Yosemite” - John Muir, American naturalist and author

While there might be national parks all over the world, it's hard to argue with the sentiments of famed naturalist John Muir. Quite simply, California's Yosemite National Park is one of the best national parks in the United States, capable of inspiring a sense of divine awe.

The park itself is massive, covering slightly more than 3,000 square meters, and it's part of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains which ensure it provides incredible views, as well as stunning colors in all seasons and amazing wildlife.

Here are seven things to bear in mind before your first visit.

There's a reason El Capitan was a Macbook screensaver

Obviously, most people go to national parks for their views, but the scenes Yosemite has to offer are something else. Picture stunning waterfalls, huge rock formations, giant trees and towering mountains. There is something to marvel at every time you turn around. The two most famous, and most spectacular, views are El Capitan and Half Dome. These two are seriously not to be missed - El Capitan may be familiar as a screensaver/desktop background for Macbooks. That’s how impressive it is.

The waterfalls are at their fiercest in May and June

Yosemite's waterfalls are some of the highest in America so they're spectacular all year round. However, they reach peak flow during late spring, specifically May and June when most of the snowmelt occurs, so this can be a great time to visit.

Or, come in February when Horsetail Fall, commonly known as Yosemite Firefall, glows as if it's on fire due to the reflection of the sunset. The beautiful amber glow is really to be seen to be believed.

Visit Half Dome at sunset

Half Dome is the focal point of Yosemite National Park and is best visited at sunset, when you can enjoy epic, breathtaking views of Half Dome as the sun sets, and watch it glow pink as it reflects the sun. The sight will stick with you forever and make you want to go back to visit again and again.

Everything here is super-sized

Yosemite is giant - and it makes you realize how small you truly are. It's super sized in every way - from the trees, to the rocks, to the giant spaces and the waterfalls - everything is bigger in Yosemite. It makes you appreciate how incredible nature is - and makes you fall in love with it even more.

There are over 800 hiking trails to explore

Or, in other words, there are far too many hiking trails to do in one visit! Yosemite is particularly wonderful as there are hikes suitable for every level of ability and experience. All you need to have is plenty of enthusiasm to explore this incredible national park.

You can camp overnight

When we went, my friends and I slept under the stars within the national park and it was magical. The stargazing is incredible out here because there is next to no light pollution. Just watch out for the bears!

Take your time

This is important. Don’t rush you way through Yosemite as you'll only come to regret it. Take two to three days to fully explore all corners and go on a range of hikes. This way, you'll check out as much as you can. Doing everything in one visit won't ever be feasible, but remember you can always come back to this beautiful place in the future.

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Written by Meg D.

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