Dit artikel schreef ik voor het blog van de International Education Exchange Council van de San Francisco State University.
Before starting our classes at SFSU, my friend, who is also a J-1 student, and I decided to take a two-day trip to Yosemite National Park. Yosemite is one of California’s greatest highlights, so we both knew we’d love going there.
We rented a car through Zipcar, a convenient way to rent a car if you are a student. The drive took us around four hours, not including the stops for food, gas or to admire the beautiful landscape of California. Our first destination was in Mariposa, a small town roughly one hour from Yosemite Village. Before heading out to the actual park, a tourist info center sold us a ticket for $35. It was good for 7 days.
Next, we headed straight to Yosemite National Park. Just driving there, the views were amazing. After entering the park, we passed Half Dome, El Capitan, the Bridalveil Fall and much more of Yosemite’s beautiful scenery. We parked the car near Camp 4 and Yosemite Valley Lodge. We hiked the Lower Yosemite Fall Trail, which is breathtaking. By then, the temperature had risen quite a bit to around 35 degrees Celsius, or 95 degrees Fahrenheit. We were glad we brought enough water and granola bars. There are not a lot of places to get food in Yosemite, so you should be aware of bringing enough to get you through the day.
We ended our day at Glacier Point, where you have an absolutely stunning view of Yosemite. You need a car to make it to a parking lot near Glacier Point. There was a sign that said ‘4-mile trail’, but it was only a 5-minute walk to the top. The name of the trail turned out to be the height of the mountain. The sun set and my friend took some amazing pictures. By 10PM that night, we headed back to Mariposa. On our way down the mountains we stopped to see an amazing orange and pink sky, of which we took pictures as well. Most of the restaurants were closed by the time we arrived in Mariposa, so we ended up eating at McDonald’s.
The next morning, after checking out of the hotel, we took the one-hour trip to Yosemite Valley again. We started out at Valley View, a gorgeous Vista Point, where you can see El Capitan, the Merced River, Bridalveil Fall and Half Dome all at once. Later, we hiked the Bridalveil Fall Trail, which takes you up to the waterfall. To end our Yosemite trip, we visited both Cathedral Beach and Sentinel Beach, which are great spots by the water to have a picknick or just to sit down and relax. By 4PM we decided to take the drive back to San Francisco. At 8 we got back to our apartment in San Francisco, tired, but with plenty of great memories. I’d love to go back to Yosemite again one day, because there is still so much to see.
Yosemite is huge (1.169 square miles or roughly 3000 square kilometers), so it’s impossible to see the entire park in two days. Besides, some areas are restricted to the public. For those areas you’ll need a permit.
Below are some of my tips if you are planning to visit Yosemite as well:
- Wear good hiking shoes as you’ll be walking a lot.
- Bring enough water and food.
- Be sure to bring sunscreen.
- Take into account that there can be delays in the weekends and on holidays.
- Do not rely on your cell phone, there is barely any service in the park. Make sure you bring a map of the park.
- Use the shuttle buses in the park, they’re free and save you a lot of walking.