All About Yosemite!

As someone who loves rockclimbing and nature, visiting Yosemite National Park has always been a dream of mine. I decided, what better time to cross it off my bucket list than for my birthday?!

Not far from Sequoia National Park is the legendary Yosemite National Park. Stretching over 748,436 acres across the Sierra Nevada, Yosemite offers some of the most breathtaking views I’ve seen to date. If you like to really get out into nature, over 94% of the park is made up of wilderness.

If you’re heading into the park from the south, you’ll likely pass through Mariposa Grove first. This section of Yosemite is home to over 500 mature sequoia trees, with two of them holding records within the top 30 largest sequoia trees in the world.

As you head into the Grove, you will pass by the Fallen Monarch tree. This massive sequoia tree fell centuries ago, but is still preserved enough for us to admire it's impressive size today. Pictures really don't do these trees justice, but I did my best!

As you keep hiking through the grove, you’ll come across the Bachelor and Three Graces trees. Their roots have become so intertwined over the years that if one falls, they may all fall. You can see how they got their name though...

Next you’ll come across the star of the show. The Grizzly Giant tree is the oldest tree in the Grove at an estimated 2,400 years in age. It is the 25th largest tree on the planet at 34,000 cubic feet. It stands over the Grove at over 210 feet tall and has an impressive base of 30 feet in diameter.

After you pass by the Grizzly Giant tree you’ll see the California Tunnel Tree. This one you don’t drive through, but you can walk through it! The California Tree is one of two living sequoia trees in Mariposa Grove that have been tunneled through. This tree was cut through all the way back in 1895!!!

The grove is full of huge trees like this! All with their own story. You can see the map above to get an idea of what trees you'll see there. The Grove consists of many miles to hike of unforgettable views. You definitely want to make time for this area of Yosemite.

Not far from Mariposa Grove is the Wawona Hotel, previously known as the Big Trees Lodge. This Victorian-style hotel has been offering visitors a place to eat and sleep since 1856. It’s located right next to the Wawona Visitor center, so take a second to check it out if you stop by!

Another way into the park is taking El Portal Road. This scenic drive takes you through woods and mountains into the heart of it all. It is a beautiful drive into the Valley and the main section of the park.

Many people say Yosemite Valley is the highlight of the park. It was definitely one of my favorite spots. And, if I'm being honest, you don't want to drive all the way to Yosemite and skip the Valley. Since it is so popular, that means it’s most often one of the busiest areas, especially if you go in the summer. The Valley is what most people think of when you hear 'Yosemite', although the park has so much to offer.

One of the other well-known granite rock formations in the park is El Capitan. El Cap hovers over 7,500 feet above Yosemite Valley. Native Americans named the formation, Rock Chief, which later was renamed to El Capitan, or El Cap for short.

For many years, people believed El Cap was unclimbable. That is, until Warren Harding. He was the first person to say hey, I’m crazy enough to pull this off. His dream inspired millions to climb the notorious rock structure and claim victory. I hope to one day to add my name to the list if I am ever so lucky. You never know what the future holds!

If you’re taking the time to visit Yosemite, be sure to make time for one of the most famous views in Yosemite Park - Tunnel View. Here you can see epic views of Bridalveil Fall, Half Dome, El Capitan, and Yosemite Valley. The parking lot is a bit small and everyyyoneeee wants to stop here, so it may take some patience and planning.

There’s something magical about coming out of the dark tunnel and the first thing you see is some of the most legendary rock formations on Earth. Here you can see some of the most epic views of Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, Bridalveil Fall, and El Cap the park has to offer. Whether you’re experiencing good or bad weather, Tunnel View is a must!

Once you’ve got your fill of Tunnel View, head further into the park to check out the Valley. Here you'll find different vantage points of some of the different rock formations. There are a variety of lodges, hikes, and other things to do in the Valley. Beware: this is also one of the most busiest areas of the park! I suggest you find a parking spot in the Valley and explore by foot or take a shuttle. It gets crazy by midday.