California's favorite RV parking lot?
Maybe so. Yes, the traffic is bad, the food is overpriced, the fees are high, the trails are crowded, the permit system is onerous, and the tourons are especially bovine, but really, can you find a more beautiful place accessible by car?
So ignore the car campers with the portable sound systems blasting house music, the crowded, trash-strewn scenic vistas, and the overgroomed, railing lined trails, and find your way over the valley rim to where the crowds don't go. Of course, on this day, I slept in, arrived late, and ended up doing one of the most popular trails on the map. Nice view, though.
The big, bad
block of granite looms over a scenic parking area in Yosemite Valley.
The sheer face allows nearly 3,000' of technical climbing. This vista
was acquired while searching for trailhead parking.
Yosemite Creek plunges 2,500' to the Valley floor. As I
took this photo, about twenty hikers, speaking three or four
languages, marvelled at the view while suffering from dehydration and
fatigue from the hike. Sneakers, jeans, and a 16oz
bottle of YosemiteTM brand spring water aren't enough for a
3.5 mile, 3,000' hike. Luckily, few of those people followed me to
the top! Note: the trail takes you to the top of the falls, letting
you stand just to the left of the notch from whence the stream comes.
Worth a five-hour slog in the heat? Yes.
Is there a more popular backpacker's trailhead? The last obstacle before reaching Tioga Pass.
The Famous Half Dome
From a perch high about Yosemite Valley. Thousands of
tourists attempt the Cables route each summer, and some actually make
it! Once again, this photo opportunity presented itself as I climbed
up the steep but well-groomed Yosemite Falls trail. About a mile in
on the Yosemite Falls Trails, this first viewpoint across the valley
attracted dozens of winded but appreciative tourists.
If you want great views without walking, a drive up
Tioga Pass road leaves the worst congestion behind. Olmstead Point is
one scenic vista.
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