Yosemite is one of the great names of the USA. Just about everybody has heard of this Californian national park to be found to the east of San Francisco. Its all accessible to the visitor if you go there for the day. If you plan to stay overnight then there are just about 1,200 rooms and maybe the same again for camping areas. 4 million travelers come every year to visit but most just go to a small part, the valley which is just 1 mile wide and seven miles long. the visitor is missing a lot of the best bits.
So if you are intrigued by Yosemite, try some of these suggestions to avoid the crowds. See the valley by all means. But don’t think you’ve seen it all. Go up into the High Country where you can get up to 8,000 foot above sea level. Hiking up here is a world away from the valley. In Winter, Tiger Pass can get between 10 and 20 foot of snow. From June onwards the roads are cleared and you can walk for miles and see hardly anyone.
Better still why not go in Winter. Stay in one of the hotels or lodges and go out walking. Use snowshoes or skis and you can venture into places you can’t go in summer. Then, with no snow, you are discouraged from walking over the meadows so that the rarer plants survive unimpeded by human touch. But since snow is protective of plants you can safely venture further afield. The road from Badger’s Pass to Glacier Point is closed in winter due to all the snow. But there you can stay in the hut and be taught to ski as they have been doing for 75 years making it one of the oldest ski resorts anywhere. And when the snow comes, that means skiing. Not just downhill but cross country too. It’s so safe that one father feels comfortable in letting his 9-year-old son ski alone.
Yosemite has largely been the same for hundreds of years I was told. You might grow older, you change but Yosemite is already so old, you hardly notice any change at all. Stop and listen and you hear nothing. No cars, no neighbors, no industry, no shoppers. Just quiet, described to me as being surreal if you’re a city dweller. And as a public park, that’s the way the National Park Service wants it to remain.
But remember, Yosemite may be a national park but is a wilderness too. The walks may be stunning but let someone know where you are going just in case you get lost.