Rent an RV and Visit Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is a famous World Heritage Site, situated in California about 3 hours from San Francisco and 5 hours from Los Angeles. The main reason why people rent RVs for Yosemite and flock to it in hordes is because of its amazing waterfalls, biological diversity, gigantic Sequoia trees, peaceful meadows and granite cliffs. Did you know Yosemite gets over 3 million annual visitors, with the number rising? For those who revel in high adventure trips there is ample opportunity around every corner if they venture into the back country.
Visit this glorious place!
The area of Yosemite National Park is enormous, so you should plan to come here for at least a couple of days in order to enjoy it fully. After all, the park contains 350 miles of roads and 800 miles of hiking trails that include hiking on top of water falls. However, if can spare just a day, then specializing in a single activity is best to get the most out of a day trip. You can choose between sightseeing, hiking, bird watching, biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, swimming, kayaking, skiing and much more. It is necessary to schedule your visit as per the season, because the weather here varies widely according to the month and the landscape changes drastically. It is advisable to visit in spring as it is considered to be the most favorable time. Although there is plenty to do in Yosemite National Park in winter, large sections are closed down due to heavy snowfall.
What can you expect?
Yosemite National Park is one of the premier national parks of North America and the third most visited national park in the entire United States. If you want to travel via the most scenic route, take Route 120 east from Tioga Pass Road where it is only open from June through October. While entering the park from most northern end you should first visit Mono Lake and Bodie State Park, a well-preserved gold mining ghost town. This route goes on to the slow climb of Sierra Nevada Mountain from the plains of Northern California. The Yosemite Valley is stunning due to its majestic granite walls. You will be mesmerized by sheer 3,000 feet or more vertical rock walls and the spider-like rock climber who make this their pilgrimage to scale those cliffs. Don’t forget to bring your camera along – this is one place you have to capture forever. Just by the Merced River, you have the Bridal Veil Fall, Horse Trail Fall, and Yosemite Falls. It is recommended you visit Yosemite at the start of spring to see those breathtaking 2,000 feet tall water falls.
What to do during winter?
Although some places are closed, as mentioned above, several campgrounds are open all year in Yosemite, so you can go camping in Yosemite National Park even when the weather is cold. There is cross-country, downhill skiing and snowboarding in the park, and you can go ice skating in Yosemite Village, too. You could also rent a pair of snowshoes and traverse the valley meadows on foot. Besides hiking, you can bring your own bikes or rent them to ride around Yosemite Valley, you can go horseback riding, visit the shops and museums throughout Yosemite Village, or enjoy a fine meal at a restaurant.
Places to Go
Wawona is a must-see while visiting the Yosemite National Park. It was added to the park in 1932, and visitors have described it as a shining green emerald! This large mid-elevation basin has hosted many people and activities for centuries and is home to numerous other natural features. American Indians were the original inhabitants of this area, till it became a bigger settlement later on.
You can travel there by both car and bus – both have well-mapped out routes for your convenience. Activities include backpacking, bird-watching, fishing, golfing, hiking, camping, and much more. If you are a fan of galleries, then drop into Wawona Visitor Center at Hill’s Studio to check out floor to ceiling paintings covering the entire walls.
For history lovers, Pioneer Yosemite History Center is paradise. Chilnualna Falls are situated in this area – it is composed of five large cascades sliding through and over large granite formations above the Wawona area.
Crane Flat Area
This is a very peaceful forest and meadow combined, situated near the Tuolumne and Merced Groves of Giant Sequoias. Here too, you can travel by both car and bus. Activities include bird-watching, camping, hiking, and winter sports. As mentioned, the Merced Grove of Giant Sequoias is located the Big Oak Flat Road west of Crane Flat. There are around two dozen mature giant sequoias. Please remember, you can only see them after a 1.5-mile hike with 500 feet of elevation loss. This is one area you will love during winter as you can play in the snow and ride a sled too!
Tuolumne Meadows and Tioga Road
If you wish enjoy a pleasant, scenic drive, Tioga Road is your best bet. It offers a 45-mile long ride between Crane Flat and Tioga Pass through forests and past meadows, lakes, and granite domes. As is evident from the name, this is a massive open subalpine meadow, skirted by the Tuolumne River.
For transportation, you can use a car or bus. Activities consist of camping, art & photography, backpacking, fishing, auto touring, picking, stargazing, and more. If you feel like swimming, head to Siesta Lake, which is an alpine lake located along the Tioga Road to the south. Another interesting location is the Soda Spring. The name is coined due to the carbonated, cold water bubbling out of the ground, which is surrounded by a historic log cabin enclosure. White Wolf – the name is tad misleading – it is actually a campground and concession lodging area north of Yosemite Valley, located along the Tioga Road. Numerous hiking trails are present here, so if you are looking to spend the day on an adventurous note, you have come to the right place. Olmsted Point, along the Tioga Road, looks down on Yosemite Valley from the east–and from a very different angle. You can spot the famous Half Dome peak from here.
Things to Do
Avid hikers come to Yosemite as it has remarkable hiking trails such as Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point Road, Wawona and Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, Hetch Hetchy, White Wolf, and Tuolumne Meadows. Please don’t stray from trails as it could prove to be fatal. Carry necessary supplies, and don’t bring cigarettes or alcohol on trails.
All tours begin in Yosemite Valley such as Valley Floor Tour that takes you around the valley for 2 hours, Glacier Point Tour for 4 hours, and Tuolumne Meadows, which is a daylong affair. Nature and history walks are also conducted on a regular basis by National Park Service rangers, concessionnaire staff, and other park partners.
Did you know that the Yosemite National Park provides essential habitat for over 165 species of migrating, wintering, and breeding birds? There are several avian assemblages and habitats, many birds of special concern, and beautiful habitats such as gently sloping foothill grasslands, chaparral/oak woodland and giant conifer forests, and alpine meadows and peaks. If you are traveling in spring, watch out for the red-winged blackbird and western tanager. Other species found are Steller’s jay, great gray owl, spotted owl, peregrine falcon, American robin, acorn woodpecker, common raven, and mountain chickadee.
Camping in an RV
RVing is one of the best ways to experience the Yosemite National Park, and there are 10 campgrounds for RVs of varying sizes. It is always advisable to make reservations in advance, owing to the popularity of the park, especially when it is a family vacation. From April through September, reservations are a must at any of Yosemite’s campgrounds. They usually fill up by noon at the latest, so first-come, first-serve isn’t really an option during summer camping.
RV camping in Yosemite is a unique experience because as there are so many activities to indulge in here at this magnificent park. Explore high country at Tuolumne Meadows and Glacier Point, or traverse across diverse hiking trails. On the way to the high country, you can stop and explore the Big Trees at Crane Flat or Wawona, and everywhere you look there are new things to see and discover. As mentioned, there are spots available for group and RV camping throughout Yosemite, but in the summer, they can go fast, so you should make your reservations as early as possible.
Please ensure your RV is in a designated spot, as parking in a driveway or at the side of a road isn’t permitted. Dump stations are situated at convenient intervals, where you can pick up fresh water. If you wish to use a generator, please inquire about the specific timings when you are allowed to utilize one. Storing food in hard-sided RVs and trailers, is acceptable, but it should be out of sight, while doors, windows, and vents need to be tightly shut when you are absent from the campsite. There is a restriction imposed on RV and trailer lengths as well. In Yosemite Valley, the maximum RV length is 40 feet and maximum trailer length is 35 feet.
Last but not the least…
A Yosemite vacation would not be complete without taking advantage of the gift shopping opportunities in which all forms of memorabilia can be obtained. Gift certificates can be used both at the many shops in the park as well as online at websites maintained by the hotels and other shopkeepers. The park itself is full of specialized gift stores and supply shops that cater to every visitor’s needs.
For more information about camper rentals, please contact Go RV Rentals, we’d be happy to assist you.