What was your favorite trip to Yosemite

Road trip: From San Francisco to Yosemite National Park

If one had to describe the United States in one word, it would be “Big” - and I'm not alluding to the ego of an orange and yellow president. I mean the cars, the hamburgers, the shopping trolleys, the popcorn buckets and actually everything you can use to sweeten your life. Even nature is somehow oversized in the USA. At least I can't remember feeling any smaller than when I visited Yosemite National Park.


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Why the USA is worth a trip even in times of Trump & Co.

Who or whatever created us, when the beauty was distributed, the United States was definitely at the front of the line. And even if the USA haters among you are rolling your eyes in annoyance, there is hardly any other country in the world that has such diverse and breathtaking landscapes.

If you have never been to the States, I can only advise you to just let politics be politics and pay a visit to this great country. What if you're wondering which corner to explore first? Then I would recommend San Francisco to start with. The lively, cosmopolitan and liberal city is a wonderful starting point for your trip and is very close to one of the most beautiful places in the world: Yosemite National Park.

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As beautiful as the Merced River meanders picturesquely through the Yosemite Valley

I don't even know when I was last able to experience so many wonderful views in one day

The colors and rock formations in Yosemite National Park are just spectacular

The park offers the right habitat for more than 160 rare plant species

Are you filming Alice in Wonderland here? About Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is a mixture of “Narnia”, “Into the Wild” and “Alice in Wonderland”. With intertwined fairytale forests, thundering waterfalls, raging rivers and steep rock faces. There is no season in which the park is not worth seeing: whether it is snow-covered in winter, flooded with water in spring or brightly colored in autumn.

Yosemite National Park covers 3,081 square kilometers along the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada. Because of its spectacular granite rocks, the waterfalls, the giant sequoia trees and the biodiversity, the park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 (well, it's a shame that the USA now wants to leave UNESCO). Due to the differences in altitude (between 600 and almost 4,000 meters) there are five different ecosystems in the park.

You could easily spend a few weeks in Yosemite National Park and still have not seen it all in the end. Realistically, however, very few of us spend so much time in one place. As a flight attendant, I have so far visited Yosemite twice in layover. Once overnight and once only as part of a day trip.

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It's only a short walk to Bridal Veil Fall - you get very close to the waterfall

On the way to Yosemite Valley we felt like we stopped a hundred times with our rental car

I was last in the park in June - here the waterfalls have a lot of water and it blooms everywhere

The view of the Merced River in Yosemite Valley was always a highlight

The most beautiful sights in the Yosemite Valley

Yes, you heard right. Although Yosemite National Park is about 300 kilometers from San Francisco, it can also be explored in a day or two. Not the whole park, of course, but at least the central Yosemite Valley. The famous valley is simply stunning: it is home to the Bridal Veil Fall, Vernal Fall, Nevada Fall and Yosemite Falls, among others. The waterfalls in Yosemite National Park are particularly worth seeing from April to June - after that the water masses decrease.

Also beautiful to look at are Glacier Point, Half Dome, Mirror Lake, the crystal clear Merced River and the Sentinel Dome. My personal highlight and one of the most beautiful sights of my life is definitely the El Capitan ledge with its unique steep walls. If you have a little more time, be sure to check out the sequoia trees at Mariposa Grove. They are located approximately 35 kilometers south of the Yosemite Valley.

Simply breathtakingly beautiful: the famous El Capitan ledge with its steep walls

One of the most beautiful waterfalls in Yosemite National Park is the Bridal Veil Fall

On the way to Lower Yosemite Fall, we had a great view of the striking Half Dome

To be honest, the dimensions in Yosemite National Park made me feel tiny

Hiking Yosemite National Park: The Best Routes in the Valley

If you just want to spend a day or two in Yosemite National Park, I can recommend a few beautiful hiking routes in the Valley: An absolute highlight is the Yosemite Falls Trail - here you cover over twelve kilometers and 800 meters in altitude. If you want to go all the way to the top, you have to plan almost a whole day. But it is also worth doing the strenuous tour to the viewpoint of Lower Yosemite Fall for just a few hours. You can park at the lodge near the Camp 4 shuttle stop - the entry point is very close.

The 3.5-kilometer Cook’s Meadow Loop is ideal for a tour of Yosemite Valley. The easy, flat trail offers some wonderful vantage points. You can get on almost anywhere - it leads from the Swinging Bridge in the west to the Sentinel Bridge in the east.

Much more challenging is the nine-kilometer Mist Trail, which leads to the Vernal and Nevada Fall waterfalls. There are a few vertical meters to overcome here again. If you want, you can just go to the Footbridge (2.5 kilometers) or the Top of Vernal Fall (4 kilometers). It starts at the Happy Isles Shuttle Stop, there is also parking space here.

Here * you can compare exciting tours in and to Yosemite National Park.

On the Yosemite Falls Trail we always had wonderful views

The hike to Lower Yosemite Fall is extremely strenuous - but it was worth it for the sight

What else you should know about Yosemite National Park

The drive from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park takes about four hours if you're leisurely. That sounds like a lot at first - but the great route will definitely make up for it. I thought it was wonderful to see the landscape changing from kilometer to kilometer and getting more and more spectacular about two hours outside of San Francisco. So it's worth making a few stops in front of the park - for example at Don Pedro Lake.

If you don't want to pack anything to eat for the day, you should strengthen yourself again in front of the park entrance, because there is (almost) nothing to buy in Yosemite Valley itself. You can find breakfast and lunch in Mariposa or Oakhurst, for example. There are a few nice restaurants, a subway sandwich shop and of course the obligatory Seven Eleven. The suburbs are also home to many beautiful and, in some cases, inexpensive places to stay. In the park itself you can camp or spend the night in huts - but the places are often booked out weeks in advance.

Last but not least, you should also know that entry into Yosemite National Park costs 30 dollars per car - the pass is then valid for seven days. The price is valid from April to October, outside the season admission is five dollars cheaper. A lot of practical information about tours, routes, sights and the current road conditions can be found on the official website of Yosemite National Park.

Cheap accommodation in San Francisco can be found on Booking.com. *

Would you rather stay in Yosemite National Park? You can find them here at Booking.com. *

Fancy an Airbnb? Here I am giving you 34 euros on your first booking. *

You can find the cheapest rental car for your trip in the CHECK24 price comparison. *

On the way from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park you should make a stop at Don Pedro Lake

For me, Yosemite is definitely one of the most beautiful national parks in the world

The power of the waterfalls: Simply unbelievable what nature has created here

Next, I want to visit Yosemite National Park in winter when everything is covered in snow

I could spend days and weeks here and will definitely be back soon

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