Hello fellow travelers! If you have done any research into National Parks at all, you know that there are certain parks that are practically required for you to go to. These parks are the “Ivy Colleges” of the National Park System, if you will. I would easily say that one of the top 3 in the United States is Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite has always been a very well-known destination for not only avid travelers, but also people who are just getting started and want to experience just a little taste. However, if you only go once or only for a few days, you will never be able to experience anywhere close to all of it. It is incredibly vast and there are so many beautiful things to see throughout the park.

Therefore, I figured I would help some people out and recommend a few of my favorite spots or things to do. These all have different difficulties so that experienced hikers or little kids will be able to find something to do.

I’m going to start with the easiest one. Glacier Point is just a stop along the main road in Yosemite, but it is unforgettable, in all honesty. When I was doing research to refresh my memory on some of these places, as soon as I saw the picture, it brought me back to feeling like everything was beautiful in the world. You do not have to hike to get there which makes it awesome for bringing along grandparents or little kids that may not get to see some other things. You can just stop along the road and hopefully find a parking spot. You can see almost the entire valley of Yosemite, but most importantly, you get an amazing view of Half Dome which I will be talking about later.

As for things that include a little bit of a hike or are a little bit more strenuous, Mist Trail and Mariposa Grove are always incredible as well. Mariposa Grove is about a 30-45-minute hike through a beautiful forest of giant sequoia trees. Please know that I am not exaggerating at all when I say “giant,” because one of the largest trees in the forest has a trunk that is 90 feet in diameter! I have never felt so beyond tiny before.

Mist Trail is longer and much steeper, so it is more difficult. It is about a 2.5-mile hike round-trip, which is not really that bad, but it is a grueling set of damp steps around the waterfall up to the top. So, if you choose to do this one, please be mindful of your steps.

The final and most intense recommendation I have is Half Dome. This is easily the most talked about hike in the entire park, because while it is one of the hardest, it is also one of the most rewarding. Unfortunately, I personally have not done this hike, but my brothers did the entire thing the last time we were there. This hike is 14-16 miles long and has an elevation gain of almost 5,000 feet. The entire thing takes about 12 hours in total and includes a very scary set of cables that guide you on the last part of the hike. This is definitely not for people who fear heights or are not in good physical shape. However, the entire valley is on perfect display once you get to the top and you will never forget the view.

Alright I think those are all the recommendations I have for now for Yosemite. I hope you enjoyed this week’s post of National Park Nomad and I’ll see you next week! Stay adventurous!

View from Glacier Point : Yosemite Valley (middle) and Half Dome (right)

Mariposa Grove : comparison of normal person to the giant sequoias

Half Dome : view of the route up the cables to the top of the rock