I have never been to Yosemite but have heard many people rave about it over the years. For those that have been there, was it everything you expected or were you disappointed? Personally, I don't know what all the fuss is about, it seems like just a bunch of big rocks and trees.
I'm going to take a wild guess and say you won't like it.
Agree with R1. Stay home, or vacation in a city where you won't be confronted with nature.
Isn't it about to blow up, destroying the entire planet?
R3, perhaps you are thinking about the Yellowstone Caldera?
"The odds of a full, caldera-forming eruption—a cataclysm that could kill untold thousands of people and plunge the Earth into a volcanic winter—are anyone's guess; it could happen in our lifetimes, or 100,000 years or more from now, or perhaps never."
OK, OP I'll try.
I live in San Francisco, and have visited Yosemite several times over the years. It's a 4 hour ride to get there and 4 hours to get back (to SF). You could do a visit in one day, but it is advisable to spend the night or two and really relax.
You either enter through the mountain pass or the valley pass. There are no gas stations in the park so make sure you have a full tank when you get there.
It is, as you have noted "a bunch of big rocks and trees." And as you stand on the valley floor you are surrounded by sheer granite cliffs a mile high. Plus waterfalls, redwoods and rushing rivers. It is "nature". And it really is quite something.
Where to spend the night? The Ahwanee Hotel is right in the park and is a national landmark, built in the '20's/ It ain't cheap. Rooms go for $400 a night and it's booked for weeks/months in advance. There are other hotels nearby, but of you are going, go all the way and stay here. It's next to some easy walking trails, too.
As the summer season approaches the Valley gets very crowded: tourists, busses, bikes, walkers. Getting around the valley floor (a loop of about 20 miles) is time consuming.
I'd wait till fall after the tourist season is over. Or in March-Early May before it begins. Go on a weekday if you can. Some passes may still be closed due to snow however. You may need chains.
So. There it is. If you like nature and want to get away, it's a great place to go. If you like the excitement of a city, don't go - you'll be bored. (There is nothing to do at night.)
I am going there this summer, OP. But I plan to backpack part of the John Muir Trail. I think I will like it.
It is suppose to be one of the most spectacular parts of the entire Pacific Crest Trail (all 2,600 miles of it).
Stick with Disneyland
I went recently, I went on almost no sleep and was still determined to enjoy myself. It's a beautiful place, smaller than you would expect though. I had to sit though Star Wars episode 2 on the tour bus I was on, during the way up. That along with motion sickness made me want to puke. Be prepared to walk, you'll probably see a lot of hot guys, there's a ranger with blue eyes who needs a good fucking in the park.
I'll add more, the waterfalls are a sight to behold, and the redwoods have been there since the days of Cleopatra. There's a theatre that explains the history of the park and it would also be a good place for a blow job in the back. The food is expensive, and the Awahanee staff can be incredibly pretentious. The buses that take you from one area of the park to another can be packed, and you'll likely smell body odor in the gift shops. There are bear signs everywhere but I didn't see one, make sure you dispose of your trash properly.
I'm going to climb El Capitan on the head of my dick. It's super gnarly.
I think the three national parks in Washington state are more diverse and stunning and far less crowded, and all are very close to seattle, easy to get to.
It's pronounced "Yo-suh-might".
The park is not small or crowded, just the one part of the valley.
If you do go, make sure to drive up into the Alpine Meadows area, with its crystal clear lakes. It's outside the main valley area.
Please keep your car out of the alpine meadows.
Is the tram system extensive or is it just a little zip around the valley?
It's awful. There are so many trees that they block the views of the scenery. Big trees all over the place. They should cut them down.
Some of the restrooms are awfully cruisy and you might get some ranger cawk. So, there's always that.
Go. See it. It's stunning.
Visiting Yosemite is one of the few times in life you can have the feeling of not minding paying Federal taxes.
I found it to be even better than I expected, and I'm going again in a few weeks. The first time I stayed at the Wawona, a haunted hotel in the park. The Awahnee is very expensive. Our room was one of four in a cottage. A locked door connected two rooms. I have never seen a ghost but that night my friend and I were in bed with the lights out when guests arrived next door. We heard them come in, saw the light come on around the edges of the connecting door, and then they settled down and got quiet. We went to sleep. When we woke up in the morning and left, the room was unoccupied, the curtains open, the beds made. I asked the desk who checked into the room next to mine the night before. "No one sir. That room is empty."
My friend, who does not believe in these sorts of things, saw what I saw. We couldn't explain it.
It's a spooky place.
If you love nature, go to Yosemite. It's stunning.
[quote]Plus waterfalls, redwoods and rushing rivers.
Although it's technically correct to call the trees in Yosemite "redwoods," they're usually referred to as "sequoias." "Redwood" is usually reserved to describe the trees of a different genus; these are the ones that grow along the northern coast of California.
I am an outdoor person who appreciates nature but Yosemite was a disappointment for me. You have to be able to hike to really enjoy it and I could not at that time having just recovered from a serious ankle fracture. Otherwise you just see rocks from a distance. We stayed in the park cabins - very primitive with 2 twin cots and nothing else. We were there in Sept, 9/11 to be exact, and the falls were less impressive than they would be in the spring. If you can't hike or don't want to, you might as well just view the video posted by R4. El Capitan is just a vertical rock face unless you're climbing it. Yes, I was disappointed but part of the reason is probably because of the date. We cut our trip short and had some difficulty getting home - flights were canceled and there was so much anxiety.
There is good (downhill) skiing in Yosemite -- a hidden treasure. It's called Badger Pass. Lift tickets are $35/day, subsidized by the federal government.
R19 is an anti-yo-semite
Hotter than hell in the summer and you'll get eaten alive by mosquitoes. If you don't like hiking, you'll hate it.
The ideal time to visit is mid-May. The waterfalls are roaring, the valley is wrapped in spring green and the summer crowds haven't yet arrived.
If you don't want to do much hiking, walk around Cook's Meadow, or consider renting a bike. The valley in the Spring is gorgeous. One of my favorite places to be.
Been meaning to go back. The first time I was there was jaw dropping to me. So beautiful, I couldn't believe it.
While there is a lot of "nature" at Yosemite and some unusual geological formations, the real appeal is all the people you will meet. Thousands upon thousands of interesting folks with zillions of children and oodles of great camping and travel stuff. Oh, and pets. Cool friendly pets just running, barking, sniffing and, yes, occasionally you-know-what all over. Anywhere you go, more people than you could ever hope for in one place.
I hate nature! Those disgusting trees stealing my oxygen, all natural forests should be turned into housing developements!
I do hope that OP and people like r25 who is blaming Yosemite instead of 9-11, his fractured ankle, going there in late, late summer for his terrible time NOT GO. There's too many visitors already. Just stay home or visit Disneyland.
R33 you seem to be an idiot. I clearly admitted that some of my disappointment was due to 9/11. Reading comprehension? Other than that, there are plenty of parks where hiking trails aren't so rocky but Yosemite isn't one of them. Pardon me for not having precognition.
My husband and I have been going there for 40 years. It is arguably the most beautiful place on earth!
R22...Do not miss Glacier Point. The Wawona is fairly close to Glacier Point and the Big Trees.
It is a spiritual experience.
It never looks the same twice! You will not want to leave.
[quote]Visiting Yosemite is one of the few times in life you can have the feeling of not minding paying Federal taxes.
Interesting that you stated that. I feel that way about both state and federal taxes by living in Oregon. I do a lot of hiking and there is a lot of work that goes into trail maintenance. Some of it is done through volunteer work and donations though.
Our library and mass transit systems are also excellent in Portland.
When I lived in Boston I constantly bitched about taxes.
[quote]Thousands upon thousands of interesting folks with zillions of children
This sounds like the very definition of hell on earth.
[quote] love nature, but not crowds.
That's the thing with National Parks, the crowds are all in one little area. If you hike a couple of miles in, you'll lose 99% of the people.
Everyone wants to be able to drive in somewhere stunning and have the whole place to themselves.
Yosemite is for kids, old people and others that lead boring lives. There is nothing exciting going on there. What a borefest!
someone mentioned the best time to go is mid May. I know the snow isn't entirely gone by then, but would you have to worry about any roads closed in mid May?
R40 Tioga Pass (the road over the summit to the eastern Sierras is frequently closed until at least June.
Since I don't have kids, I try to travel outside of the standard school summer vacation months. A good rule of thumb for all US locations, not just Yosemite.
Why isn't it pronounced "YO-suh-mite"? (where mite is like "might")
so are you missing much if you don't do the Tioga Pass?
Go to the sequoias instead! I'm a nature buff and while Yosemite is pretty, imo the sequoias are pure magic.
How did the park get its name?
Were there some Yosemite Indians in the area?
There are really two Yosemites. There's the valley, which includes the rolling Merced River, El Capitan, the Falls, and all the things that make the Park famous. It's maybe 10% of the park, if that. It is WONDERFUL, but go in April, May, September, or October. My other half, our dog, and I went on a warm day one February, BTW, and had the most gorgeous NP in the world to ourselves. (If there's a warm spell in the winter and you are less than five hours away, GO!) From June - Labor Day, the Valley is too crowded for my tastes.
The other park is over Tioga Pass, and it's waaay cool in the summer. But the road is closed in the winter. That's where the majority of the Park can be found, but it's open only about five months a year.
It is spectacular.
Of all the National Parks, only the Grand Canyon is more awe-inspiring.
Here's the link to the ski resort within Yosemite. Great skiing and beautiful scenery at 1/3 the price of non-government subsidized resorts: $35 lift tickets!
On your way into Yosemite, stop at Bass Lake- it's where they shot scenes for that great 40's movie, " Leave Her To Heaven" , with Gene Tierney. You can't forget the scene where shes out in the boat, watching her handicapped step-son struggling in the water, and then drowning, per her plan, as she's jealous of the attention he's getting. She just glares at him, with those great heart shaped sunglasses. Darryl Hickman was the (cute) drowning boy. The Pines is the hotel there - it's romantic.
Riffing off another thread I just read, sounds like the Tierrny part was a fictional version of Pamela Harriman. Psycho step mother.
Its not some place you might go everyday but it is one of these places everyone should see at least once in their lifetime.
Dont miss the Tioga Pass either. It is at the top and amazingly beautiful.
The thing is, the pictures dont do justice. You cant get a feel for the 3D effect of being there with one cool thing on the left and another on the right.
The falls are some of the tallest in the world and you can not only walk up to them at the base, you can hike and look over the edge.
Fallow the Mist Trail if you want a thrill.
Saw other like minded boys there, with their shirts off.
Oh, and yes its dangerous, you can die. On average, 15 people a year dont come back.