Yosemite – California



Mirror Lake | Vernal Falls | Half Dome from Panorama Trail

Date of Visit: June 24-28, 2018

How we got there: Drove from San Francisco to Hetch Hetchy Valley, about 4 hours including a slow, winding forest service road.

Hodgdon Meadow Campground Campground just inside the northern entrance with limited facilities. Sites are nestled under large trees. We recommend site #5.
Half Dome (Curry) Village Tent Cabins inside Yosemite Valley with many nearby dining options. Close to several trailheads and easy to get around via shuttle.
Best Western Yosemite Gateway Inn – Near southern park entrance in Oakhurst. Good location on the way in or out of the park. South Gate Brewing Company is a short drive.


  • Hetch Hetchy Valley – We started our time in this less-visited northern section of Yosemite. Easy-moderate hike to 1,100ft Wapama Falls provides great views of the reservoir and surrounding peaks.
  • Hike to Glacier Point – Difficult 14-mile loop made by hiking from the valley floor to Glacier Point via the Four Mile Trail and descending on the Panorama and Mist Trails. Amazing Views of the valley, Yosemite Falls, Half-Dome and Illilouette, Nevada & Vernal falls.
  • Mirror LakeEasy, level hike to a small lake that reflects the surrounding peaks. We chose the 5-mile loop, but you can also make a 2-mile hike just to the lake and back.
  • Mariposa Grove – We got our first taste of California’s giant sequoias here. Several hiking options of different lengths pass through the grove.

Tips: Plan your trip early. Lodging is expensive and fills up quickly whether you’re camping or staying at a lodge. We booked our Hodgdon Meadow campsite on the first day it went online. Avoid peak season if possible, mid-week in late June the crowds were still tolerable but we wouldn’t want to see it in mid-July.

Next time: Cross into the Tuolumne Meadows section of the park on Tioga Road. Backcountry hiking. Visit in autumn when there are fewer visitors.