How to Plan You Yosemite Adventure by:Shawn Collin
Making time for adventure
There is no way you can thoroughly enjoy everything that Yosemite can offer if you schedule a trip for just one day. You'll be too overwhelmed and miss out on a lot of activities. Schedule at least 3 days of visit and plan your adventure based on what you love doing - hiking, birdwatching and sightseeing, rafting, boating and sailing, hiking and camping, etc.
It's best to start early if you want to log in as many activities as you can. Most scenic hikes, for example, last a number of hours. If you want to go see Half Dome, you'll have to prepare for a hike that lasts about 12 hours.
You might also want to find the best schedule for your availability. In summer, the park is packed, parking is a challenge lines to the most famous sights are long. You might also want to book early so you can find a good place to stay.
The valley is found in the southwestern area of the park, bordered by high granite cliffs that reach up to 1200 m. From here, you can view the 1100 m high monolith nicknamed El Capitan. You can also go for a hike to view Half Dome and Mirror Lake, which is found at its base. You can also take in a good view of the valley from Glacier Point.
Yosemite has many of the highest waterfalls in the U.S. The most impressive of these is Yosemite Falls, the highest in North America at 739 m. You can also take short trips to Vernal Falls, which features a mere 97 m drop but showcases day-long rainbows in the mist. Ribbon Falls is also an excellent site, featuring uninterrupted drop of water from 491 m up. There's also Bridalveil Fall, so named for its delicate mist.
There are three giant sequoia groves found in Yosemite. These are the Mariposa, the Tuolumne and the Merced groves. Mariposa is the largest of the three and is easily the most visited. This is where you'll find the 2,700-year-old Grizzly Giant that stands at 64 m tall. The Wawona Tree can also be found here. A roadway was built by cutting a tunnel through this giant sequoia.
Yosemite is a professionally-run park, so expect museums, interactive exhibits and tours. If you're bringing kids along, why not sign them up for the park's programs. Kids at least 3 years old can join the Little Cubs while older kids can sign up for the Junior Ranger program. These are excellent learning opportunities for children that parents can take part in as well.
If you want a taste of everything, consider booking a tour for yourself and your group. This is a good idea is you want to experience a number of different activities and optimize the time you spend at Yosemite.
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