This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure.
Yosemite National Park: California Road Trip
This past weekend we packed up our bags and headed out the door for another exciting California road trip. Our destination: Yosemite National Park. This three-day family road trip was particularly special as it was planned by our daughters Ashley and Brooke. Along for the ride to Yosemite was our fun-loving sweetheart, Diesel the dog. When the girls were small our family would take annual trips to Yosemite. This gorgeous national treasure holds many wonderful memories for all of us.
There are several lodging options within Yosemite National Park. Accommodations begin with 4-diamond luxury at the Ahwahnee, which is regarded as one of the most distinguished hotels in North America. Other hotel options are Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, and Wawona Hotel. More rustic accommodations include Housekeeping Camp, High Sierra Camps, Tuolumne Meadows Lodge, White Wolf Lodge, and our Yosemite family favorite: Curry Village.
In my opinion, the rustic tent cabins in Yosemite Curry Village offer the best value in Yosemite National Park. Tent cabin amenities include the basics: beds, linens, wool blankets, one chair, an electric light bulb hanging from the ceiling, a crate-type rack with a safe, face towels, and a bear locker right outside the cabin door. Within this expansive village there are restroom/shower buildings which are shared facilities. The Yosemite shower buildings have electrical outlets, so feel free to bring your hair dryer. Some tent cabins have electrical heaters while others do not. Heaters inside the tent cabins are available to be turned on only during the colder months of the year; during other times of the year they remain non-operational. Other more comfortable accommodations within Yosemite Curry Village include motel rooms and cabins with private baths.
Yosemite Curry Village also offers its guests access to a dining pavilion, pizza deck and bar, a grill, coffee corner, grocery store and gift shop, and a Yosemite mountain shop. Nearby is a heated outdoor pool, a tour and activity kiosk, bicycle and raft rentals, and an outdoor ice skating rink with fire pit. There’s a large outdoor amphitheater with evening programs run by Yosemite Park rangers. In another section of the park there are horse stables. By reservation visitors can sign up for two-hour or half-day horseback riding tours with experienced guides along scenic trails. This program runs April through October, weather permitting.
What’s completely awesome are Yosemite visitor shuttles that run through sections of the valley floor. You can hop on and off at various camping and hotel accommodations, and at the beginning of major hiking trails and sightseeing locations. Yosemite visitor shuttles are free of charge, and the wait for the next shuttle is never very long.
In Yosemite we love taking day hikes to famous locations like Mirror Lake. What was heartbreaking during this trip was finding dry lakes and waterfalls. The California drought has had a major impact throughout the Golden State, including Yosemite National Park. In the above photo we are walking on an expansive area that was once filled with cool, gorgeous water. Wherever we live, it’s so important that we all do our part to conserve water.
Above is my 21-year-old daughter Brooke taking a rest while hiking. Her cute bear backpack was purchased in Yosemite during a previous vacation when she was small. It was so fun to see her pull out the bear backpack and wear it again on this trip! In the evening Brooke would pack snacks inside her backpack along with a few card games and a flashlight. We would head over to the lodge building where other campers hang out to mingle in groups, settle in at a table for four and play fun games!
Hiking up to Yosemite Falls was bittersweet. On previous trips it was a thick, luscious waterfall. We hope California receives enough rainfall this winter to replenish the beautiful flowing waters in Yosemite. However, there are still other water elements to enjoy throughout Yosemite such as various rivers and brooks.
Yosemite is home to numerous types of beautiful wildlife. On our last visit to Yosemite a bear walked right past our tent cabin in Curry Village. On this trip we saw several deer that came within a few feet of us. Yosemite park rangers remind visitors that they should avoid getting too close to the animals. Under no circumstances are visitors allowed to touch or feed any animals they encounter. Guests of Yosemite do their part to help the animals remain in their wild state.
There are lovely walking paths near meadows, as well as paved and dirt paths throughout Yosemite National Park. It’s so wonderful to experience the beauty and magic of nature in such a majestic setting.
We really enjoyed our California road trip to Yosemite National Park! Do you have a helpful Yosemite tip to share? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below. And if you’ve never been to Yosemite before, this is a great national park to add to your list of places to visit.
If you liked this California Road Trip adventure, you’ll love reading more about Spectacular Sights In Yosemite That Are Easily Walkable at MK Library. To discover details of an adventure that will take you into the depths of a deep, dark cave you’ll enjoy learning all the details about California’s Black Chasm Cavern.
PS: If your heart broke hearing about the dry lakes and waterfalls in Yosemite, here are some excellent ways to conserve water at home.