Updated: Jul 27, 2019
I just returned from my second trip to Yosemite. My first venture into this nature's wonderland was last year and the subject of my first travel book: Two Girls, Two Dogs and a Campervan. I continue to be awed by how much joy this national park fills my heart. It offers so much to the hiker, camper, climber, naturist, and general lover of the outdoors.
Camping at Lower Pines
This trip I went solo and camped for four nights in Lower Pines, which I believe is the best of all campgrounds — the sites are a little bigger, some running along the Merced River and most with grand views of granite slabs, as your window out of your tent.
Plenty of hiking trails and nature walking paths, but the one thing I would highly recommend to any first-time visitor is to take or rent a bike and ride along the bike paths in Yosemite Valley.
The heart of the park lies in the valley with its spectacular meadows and views of Half Dome, El Capitan, and the various falls. You will stop frequently, for the images are too picturesque without somehow documenting what you’re seeing and experiencing.
Last year, my friend and I had her sweet dogs and we hiked the pet friendly trails: Lower Yosemite Fall, Yosemite Valley Loop, and Mirror Lake. I also hiked what is arguably one of the most popular sites: Mist Trail with Vernal and Nevada Falls providing stunning scenery and also a shower (thus the name 'Mist Trail'). This year, I upgraded the difficulty and went for Glacier Point summit on the 4 1/2 mile trail and wow, what a beautiful (though difficult) hike - 7 hours but worth it. If you're an active hiker, you can make, just take lots of nutrition and water. The good news is there's a snack shop at the top, so like me, you can replenish. The views are out of this world.