It was really like seeing two extremes of the States driving from Vegas to Yosemite. The transition from manmade to natural wonder, plus about a 30-degree change in temperature, was pretty crazy.
We stayed at the Evergreen Lodge which was a really lovely balance of quaint and modern. Think wood cabins with cosy blankets, a tavern with really nice food, and outdoor fires to make s’mores on. It’s about 7 miles from the Yosemite park entrance.
First glimpses at some of the scenery on the drive in…
The park’s really well laid out for day visitors and hiking newbies, with lots of trails of varying duration/difficulty and a shuttle bus to take you to the start points. We did a ‘strenuous’ hike to the top of Vernal Falls, at around a 4km round trip with a 1000ft climb on the way up. It was about as much as my fitness level would top out at, ha ha, but was generally not too hard as the trails are really well maintained.
Obviously you get considerable rewards with the views once you reach the top.
It was sunny at base but we had some mist and drizzle at the peak, which was actually quite refreshing.
The next day we went to hunt out some giant sequoia trees at Tuolumne Grove. This is a short looping trail that was much easier than the previous day’s. The snowfall made it chillier but ever so pretty.
Walking through a giant (sadly deceased) sequoia along the way.
On the final day, we took another shorter walk to see Yosemite Falls – the highest in the park, and sixth highest in the world – and the rather cool Half Dome peak. Sadly we only had three nights in Yosemite before pressing on to the coast. I would have liked a bit more time in order to go a bit more ‘off piste’ and explore properly, but just reason to come back some day.