2 Days in Yosemite National Park (Part 1)


Riding around the Valley Floor
Our first day exploring Yosemite National Park started out early with coffee and bagels. We were both excited and nervous to see the place, wondering if it would live up to our high expectations... (it did) We stopped by the mart on our way into the park to get lunch supplies and snacks. Then we got driving and made our way into the park. Did you know that Yosemite National Park is over 3,000km squared? It also has 21 enchanting waterfalls, amazing meadows and valleys, glacier mountains and some wonderful lakes!


Tip: arrive early! You'll beat the traffic to get into the park... There is only one long and windy road into the park from the Big Flat Oak entrance and after about 9 or 10am the traffic starts to build up. Use one of the many turnouts on the drive in to stop and admire the view!

View of Half Dome from Valley Floor
Arriving early will also ensure you get to hire a bicycle. Apparently in peak season these bikes can sell out by 9am! Doing Yosemite with a bicycle is something I highly recommend, especially if you have more than one hike on your wish list, because trust me the hikes alone are tough on the legs let alone having to do all that extra walking to various trail heads in between. 

Walking to Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls
We got a few quick photos at Bridalveil Falls before driving into Curry Village camp grounds to hire the bikes. At $34 for the entire day it was definitely money well spent. We decided to ride around the valley loop to get our bearings and take it all in. The floor is breathtaking, with views of granite mountains lined with green pine trees, you can see Half Dome and Yosemite Falls from the floor.

Valley Floor
Yosemite Falls
Next on the agenda: Hike number 1, Mirror Lake. We parked our bikes at one of the trail heads and began walking. About a 30 minute hike each way so not too bad to start with. There is a free shuttle service that can take you from place to place if a bicycle is not for you, we saw the shuttle and it was always full and you really just wouldn't get to see the park in the same way we got to see it. Riding around and looking up at the mountains was an experience I imagine to be much better than being on a stuffy shuttle bus full of other travellers.

Riding around the Valley Floor
Riding around the Valley Floor
Mirror Lake is technically 'dry' in Summer. It is still however still so beautiful even though it was slightly smaller than the Winter months. If you stand back and look at it from the right angle, it really is like looking into a mirror reflecting the surrounding glacier oiuntains and the sky above. We stopped here for a picnic lunch overlooking the lake and were surrounded by wild birds and squirrels.

Meeting some cute Yosemite locals

Meeting some cute Yosemite locals
Exploring Mirror Lake
View from Mirror Lake
After making our way back to our bikes we set out to find Mist Trail and do the hike to the top of Vernal Falls. It was 1pm by now so the trail was really busy with other hikers and children however it does start to thin out at the top. The views are enchanting, looking over a beautiful valley with a stream and full of pine trees.

Hiking Mist Trail
Hiking Mist Trail
Hiking Mist Trail
Hiking Mist Trail
Vernal Falls
The trail took us around 2 hours total to get up and back, if your legs can handle it you can keep trekking up to Nevada Falls. My legs could definitely not handle it. We stopped at the top of Vernal for a quick snack and were surrounded by some slightly more confident squirrels who enjoyed stealing our food!

Vernal Falls
Top of Vernal Falls
Meeting some of the cute Yosemite locals
We returned our bikes sweaty and tired and drove back into Groveland, just in time for some balcony beers and dinner at the saloon. Day one done!

What did we miss? So much! There are some other hikes I would have loved to have done such as hiking to Lower Yosemite Fall and Upper Yosemite Fall, but we could see this fall from the Valley Floor so gave the hike a miss. Seriously you could spend a week here and not see it all.

Blog post on Day Two coming soon! Exploring Glacier Point.

You can find some more in depth information on Yosemite in my guide: 2 Days In Yosemite National Park which is available for download from the Create Trips app.