Yosemite National Park, Northern California

Yosemite National Park, Northern California

Yosemite National Park is a location you will not regret taking the time to go see for yourself. The park is so vast it includes a variety of different landscape and sights. Although the park is very popular, tranquility can be found easily.

It is a great place to do camping (there are many camping sites in the valley), stargazing (watch a meteor shower from the Glacier Point!), hiking, picnicking, animal watching, photography and surely, simply sightseeing and enjoying nature at its best.

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Stargazing from Glacier Point.
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Taking time to enjoy the majestic view.
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Taking in the view down in the meadows.

It is well known for its numerous and beautiful waterfalls and rivers. Hiking trails can be found following the watercourse.

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Vernal Falls, Yosemite (during drought).
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Top of Nevada Falls.

The majestic giant sequoia trees are found throughout the park.

The granite mountains and granite cliffs surrounding the Yosemite valley can be observed from almost any viewpoint. In between the mountains are deep valleys in which you’ll find villages, wildlife, meadows and forests.

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Sunset on the mountains.
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Bird watching and the Half Dome.
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Valley and granite mountains.
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Valley.

 

The drive from Sacramento to Yosemite National Park

Whomever decides to travel in order to visit Yosemite National Park, one of the grandest national parks in North America, will often be based in San Francisco or Sacramento.

Sacramento, capital of the state of California, is the closest city to Yosemite Valley. Located in the High Sierra in Northern California, Yosemite National Park is well known and highly visited. Not only are the City of Trees and Yosemite National Park beautiful locations to visit, the drive is also not to miss. Try your best not spend the whole ride sleeping in the backseat of the car!

About 2 hours and 45 minutes depending on where you are heading in the very vast park, the drive includes inevitably a portion on the highway, but then transforms into a long nice road while the mountainous landscape unfolds ahead. The yellow hills extend far away and the drive is a breeze.

On the way to Yosemite. 2015.
On the way to Yosemite. The road in the valley.
On the way to Yosemite. 2015.
On the way to Yosemite. Endless yellow hills.

At one point, all you can see on each side of the road are hundreds and hundreds of trees in plantations. I found the vibrant green pistachio trees particularly alluring with the trees all aligned in the horizon and the contrast between them and the red and brown soil.

Pistachio trees on the way to Yosemite. 2015.
Pistachio tree plantations on the side of the road.

Once you get closer to Yosemite National Park, you pass through mountains and villages and follow along rivers. The mountains are peculiar, with their vegetation growing sparsely on the yellow grass.

On the way to Yosemite. 2015.
On the way to Yosemite. Between the mountains.

The Arch Rock Entrance is reached by taking route 140. Cars pass right through it, underneath the small tunnel formed by some carefully placed rocks. It is also the main entrance to the park from the East.

Arch Portal Entrance to Yosemite National Park. 2015.
Arch Entrance to Yosemite National Park. 

Once you are in the park though, be careful because the drive can be a strenuous one on bad weather conditions especially. The amazing view you get from the road can also be distracting and the other accustomed drivers tend to drive faster. Also, driving on the endless winding roads right on the edge of multiple cliffs can be difficult for some drivers. Don’t let this discourage you from visiting though, it is well worth it! Just drive carefully, respect the speed limits (they’re there for a reason… for your safety!) and plan on going when the weather is nice.