Did you know that Yosemite National Park is over 100 years old? Established in 1890, this park now preserves the tallest waterfall in North America (Yosemite Falls) and nearly 800 miles of backpacking trails!
Yosemite was the highlight of our Pacific coast road trip for its historical significance and grandeur. For Berty, it was the most anticipated stop, and a new experience for both of us. Our first few minutes in the valley were spent craning our necks to look at the towering rock formations and picking up our jaws off the bottom of the car floor. Little did we know, this would be our posture during our whole time in the park!
We had an entire day planned here. Our list of stops were:
- Glacier Point for sunrise
- Tunnel View
- Yosemite Valley during the day
- Taft Point For sunset
For reference, we made a map (see below) of Yosemite National Park.
** Before this trip began, we knew Yosemite would be a highlight. Therefore, we invited our good friend Phil Tran to come and photograph our first year anniversary here in the park. His photos are throughout this post, and you can see more of his work here! Thank you Phil!
How To Spend 24 Hours In Yosemite National Park
1. Watch The Sunrise at Glacier Point
We started our day before the sun rose. 3:00am to be exact.
Because of how busy Yosemite gets during the summertime, we were forced to reserve a camping spot just outside the park – an hour’s drive away! We didn’t let the distance stop us though – we were determined to experience a sunrise in the park. Berty and I are no stranger to early morning adventures!
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Sunrise at Glacier Point will never disappoint. Sun rays burst to life right behind Half Dome, creating a magical and quiet moment here in the mountains. Berty and I spent quite some time enjoying the calm of the morning and each other’s company.
2. Drive To Tunnel View
After sunrise at Glacier Point, we drove down to see a view of Yosemite Valley called Tunnel View. It’s crazy that this picture looks like fall with the red-leafed trees, but it’s in fact mid-June! I love this view of Yosemite because it shows the depth of the valley, the grandeur of the cliffs, and the waterfalls.
Expect this place to be popular at all times of the day, but especially busy during sunrise and sunset!
3. Spend The Day In Yosemite Valley
One thing we loved about Yosemite National Park was the sheer amount of EPIC attractions all clustered in the same area. This meant that you practically get a gorgeous 360 view no matter where you are!
If you want to spend the maximum amount of time you can in the park, here’s what you should do:
- Reserve a camping spot early. At least 6 months in advance. Trust us, you need to do this ASAP.
- Don’t risk not getting a camping spot. You can’t sleep in your car in the park.
- Avoid June, July, August (that’s when most of the crowds go + kids are out of school)
- Best time to visit (but a little colder) would be April/May or September/October.
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We spent the afternoon walking along the many boardwalks and paths in the Valley. Yosemite Valley has a driving loop which connect people to the main attractions in the area. You can easily park your car and take pictures at practically any point and drive to many trailheads.
4. Enjoy Sunset At Taft Point
For the day’s finale, we decided to head over to Taft Point to watch the sunset and capture one more set of photos for our anniversary shoot. This is a pretty popular location for sunset – the dramatic cliffs and stellar perspective of the setting sun makes it hard to beat!
This guy in the picture above, his name is Jake (@iamjakeingle). We had been running into him and his friends on the same stops all the way down the Pacific Coast.
We met Jake and his friends while climbing down to the Nature Bridge on the Southern Oregon Coast, followed each other to the Redwoods, San Francisco, and met up again here at Taft Point of all places. It was like we were taking identical road trips!
Because of them, Berty and I learned to appreciate the Pacific Northwest with a new perspective. Our new friends were all from the East Coast, so they saw everything with new, fresh eyes. It was a great reminder to be grateful for where we live. We have access to so many different landscapes, mountain ranges and natural wonders – how can you not be thankful for these epic views?!
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Thank you Philip Tran for the gorgeous photos! Check out his website here for more information!
Have you visited Yosemite National Park? What was your favorite part? Tell us in the comments below!
Yosemite National Park was the most anticipated stop on our Pacific Coast Road Trip. Previously, we drove through the Washington, Oregon, and California Coast, and our journey back technically begins now. You can see more pictures from our locations prior in the links below:
La Push, Washington
Cape Disappointment, Washington
Cannon Beach, Oregon
Cape Kiwanda, Oregon
Southern Oregon Coast
Black Sand Beach, California
Point Reyes, California
(Umpqua Hot Springs, Oregon) To be published
(Painted Hills, Oregon) To be published
Special thanks to Caravan Outfitter for collaborating with us on this journey. We drove their new “Freebird” model camper van on this 2,500-mile adventure and experienced what is could be like to live, work, and play out of a van. Thank you!
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