This post is about Yosemite. 2010-2011 was the last good year where the snow pack was heavy and the spring runoff was great. As we entered the Valley I was a waterfall on the left and said “that must be Yosemite Falls. I thought it would be bigger with all the snow this year”. Then we went around a corner and Whoa! THAT IS Yosemite Falls! It was raging! Horse Tail Fall was what we had seen earlier. In my 6 or 8 previous visits I had never seen it running. The granite walls of El Capitan and Half Dome are really amazing. The water falls are just amazing and the view from Glacier Point where you can see it all is the best.
All the waterfalls were going strong. Mist Fall Trail was as wet as I had ever seen it. I have been up that trail 5 times and never did I get wet this far down the trail. The poncho was only barely helpful. We did not hike to the top or even around the corner and we were wet, really wet. You can always go around and take the John Muir Trail, but where’s the fun in that?
You can see most of the water falls with walking on paved or wood trails. The trail from the valley floor would be to the top of Nevada Fall (5.4 miles) and heading back down on the John Muir trail for a different view of the falls will add a mile onto the trip to put it about 12 miles. If you are up for it, it is well worth the trip. And of course if you can get the permit for Half Dome, you are half way to the top. Remember there is over 4000 feet of elevation gain on that trail.
There is the Panoramic Trail from Glacier Point, Yosemite Falls trail to the top of Yosemite Falls. The views across the Valley to Half Dome are fantastic. There are so many trails in the park I could not name them all. I have not even gotten out of the Valley yet.
Tuolumne Meadows has even more hikes and lakes to see. I have hiked to 5 of them. You can hike all the way to the Valley or to Mt Whitney via the John Muir Trail going the other way (you’ll need to bring food). You can head to Lake Tahoe on the north side. This part of Yosemite is closed in the winter, but the Valley is open all year.
We had a light snow fall in February of 2014 and the tops around the valley were snow covered and beautiful. There was some rain a few days earlier so there was water coming over Yosemite Falls. The mist froze overnight and left a pattern on the wall.
Every trip I have done to Yosemite I have seen something new. It has been worth it every time. We have camped in the Valley, in Toulumne Meadows and on the west side highways outside the park. We have stayed at campgrounds and hotels. There is a flat fee of $30 (they finally raised it from $20) for 7 day access.
If you went to Yosemite every year you would be impressed every time. Early June and Late September are the best times for hiking. It is crowded in summer and still worth the trip. Get reservations online if you want to stay in the park. For Hotel reservations visit: http://www.yosemitepark.com/Reservations.aspx For Campground reservations visit: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/camping.htm . You can make reservations four months ahead and May thru October most sites will be sold out early.
Whether you want to stroll for a mile or hike 2 miles or 20, Yosemite will have the hikes and sites you are looking for.
The less crowded Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park border Yosemite to the south. I have been there twice and I will tell you about that another day.