Go to Yosemite

After graduation weekend, a couple of my friends and I took a trip to Yosemite National Park. We had a great time so I thought I’d jot down some notes for future travelers. I could tell you why you should go but I’m sure the internet has already done better.

Transportation

Our schedule into Yosemite was as follows:

  • Fly into SFO, arrive Monday 10:30am PDT.
  • Take BART to Embarcadero station.
  • Chill around the city.
  • Take Amtrak bus from Ferry Building to Emeryville at 5:30pm, where we caught a train to Merced.
  • Stay the night at Quality Inn.
  • Next morning at 9am, catch the YARTS shuttle from the Merced Transportation station.
  • Arrive at Yosemite a little before noon.

Of course, driving is probably more convenient but if you aren’t, this schedule served really well. All the transportation we took were on-time. The Amtrak station by the Ferry Building will hold your bags while you explore the city for $3 a piece. The Quality Inn was cheap and had very cozy accommodations (2 queen beds) and also drove us to and from the Merced Amtrak/Transportation stations. Coming back, we took the YARTS/Amtrak/plane all in the same day. Inside the park, the valley shuttle was reliable and got us around. Also want to shout out two great eats in SF: Hong Kong Clay Pot Restaurant in Chinatown and Sotto Mare in North Beach.

Housingkeeping Camp

We stayed at the Housekeeping Camp inside the park, mostly because it was the only place available when we looked for accommodations. But having more choices now, I wouldn’t have chose a different place. It’s a pseudo-camping experience where everything is prepared for you. The showers have hot water and the restrooms are clean. It’s more or less a cop-out of actually camping but nonetheless, it’s a nice introduction for non-campers.

We made a campfire every night and cooked every dinner, part of what made the trip so fun. It was extremely, extremely cold at night; bring more clothes than you need so you can wear layers. You can buy almost anything you need at the stores inside the park and they are reasonably priced (slightly more expensive than your local grocery store but that’s expected). If you want to buy steaks, get to the main Village Store early (before 5pm) or they might run out.

Activities

  • Short Lower Yosemite Falls Trail
  • Mist Trail to the top and back via John Muir Trail
  • Bike around the valley floor
  • Mirror Lake trail
  • The west-most portion of the Valley Floor loop

We did a lot of walking/hiking. Unfortunately, the cables to Half Dome weren’t up but the Mist Trail is still a must-do. We were at the park on weekdays but it was still filled with people. I’m afraid of what the park would look like on weekends, especially further into the summer.

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