THIS place near San Francisco is heaven on earth and here's why everyone should visit it once in their lives

One of the crown jewels that sits in all its glory with cascading waterfalls is this place which is a nice drive from San Francisco.
THIS place near San Francisco is heaven on earth and here's why everyone should visit it once in their livesTHIS place near San Francisco is heaven on earth and here's why everyone should visit it once in their lives
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When I was moving to the Bay area, I was told I was lucky. Lucky because there would be more opportunities for work, more Indians living in areas I choose to stay in but most of all, lucky because of the pristine beauty that is a drivable distance away. The many weekend getaway options that make it a “must-see” in your bucket list of things.

 

One of the crown jewels that sits in all its glory with cascading waterfalls, is Yosemite. Having been there three times already I can safely say every visit has been a new discovery. So what does Yosemite have that has me coming back for more?

 

Easy to get there- For starters, it is a nice drive from San Francisco (and the Bay Area). There are four entrances to the park, each entrance giving access to popular spots in the valley. With over 1,200 square miles of views, make sure that you put Yosemite visitor centre instead of just Yosemite valley. Every entrance has its merits but I found a drive through Highway 140 to be the most scenic. If you are driving from the Bay Area, you will hit this highway. Highway 120 is also scenic with lakes and the Tuolumne River canyon, but it is always a good idea to check the routes before you start to move, especially during winter. These routes are all from the west and will take you to the Arch rock entrance.

 

For Everyone- It is for everyone! Whether you have kids or have your parents travelling with you, there are walks/treks that everyone can enjoy. Yosemite also offers shuttles that take you from one point to another. You can also hire cycles and explore the valley, but if you get your own cycles it is obviously a lot cheaper. The many restaurants inside the Yosemite valley offer great food and drinks where you can relax and unwind with your loved ones. The valley also offers treks of varying difficulty levels and trust me you will find great views in all of them. While I was travelling with my mother who is 67, I just drove around the valley to the vantage points. Parking is made available for photo ops and spending time at every place. Whichever entrance you take, you can gather ample information through the information booklet provided by the park officials.

For every season- The best part for me is the fact that it is for every season. I have had many friends and relatives come down and never have I felt tired of going back to Yosemite over and over. If summer opens up the beautiful waterfalls, the winter with its snowy caps leaves you spellbound. The mirror lake reflects the whole valley and you know if the majestic peaks could speak, they could not refrain from signing their own praises in that reflection. I am going back for the fourth time (yes!) for the fabulous Fire falls event in Yosemite. The reflection of the sun falls such that the sliver of a waterfall at Horse Tail looks like it is on fire. The name Firefall comes from this very phenomena and it is an event that you should not miss.

Treks and Trails- Every trek is beautiful. Whether it is an easy one or the difficult one, you will enjoy all of it. I for one am not a fitness enthusiast, hence I refrained from tough treks. The half-dome trek requires permits and is for regular trekkers, but there are many others that will not make you feel left out at the missed opportunity. Most of my hikes were at the Yosemite valley area but the Mariposa grove trails take you to the giant Sequoias in the southern Yosemite area. A trek to the Cathedral lakes (moderate trail) in the Tigo road area is also a great choice. You will find ample directions/information at the visitor valley centre in Yosemite. 

 

Facilities- From places to stay inside the valley to campgrounds, Yosemite has a host of facilities that make it memorable. The only hitch, you have to book the lodging facilities way in advance. I have only been lucky twice to get something inside the valley. Shuttle services, ample restrooms, heated tents and great rooms close to every entrance and good food, you have it all.

 

Things to take care of:

 

  1. Stay prepared for the weather- Take/wear clothes, shoes that are comfortable and weather appropriate. Layers are advised as temperature increases and drops from morning to evening.

  2. Get a backpack and supplies- Supplies like water bottle, trail mixes or healthy snacks are important to make treks easier.

  3. Book lodging in advance. There are options of sty available in Oakhurst, Fish Camp, El Portal as well, but they also get sold out easily during popular times.

  4. Respect the park rules.

I hope this article convinces you to plan a weekend getaway to Yosemite. It is definitely worth a drive to fill your camera with memories that are beautiful beyond words.

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