National Parks

Travel Savvy Mom’s Yosemite Strategy

Yosemite is one of our most popular National Parks. For good reason, Mother Nature put on her best show here with outrageously dramatic scenery. Jamie Pearson, Travel Savvy Mom, recently outlined a few strategies to avoid the traffic and crowds that can make appreciating all of the park’s wonders a challenge.

Jamie has great ideas — I especially like her suggestion to spend time in the high country. Some of my best childhood vacation memories are of our family treks to Yosemite’s network of back-country camps (food and tents provided provided). An experience with many of the benefits — and none of the hassles — of independent camping.

Photo by Jamie Pearson

Here’s a confession that’s likely to earn me a few rude comments (if not outright death threats): I don’t like Yosemite. Or at least I didn’t, until very recently. Hot, crowded, and dusty, it always held all the charm of a refugee camp for me.

I could see that it was magnificent, I just couldn’t transcend the tour buses and carbon monoxide.

In fact only about 5% of Yosemite’s 3.2 million annual visitors ever leave the valley floor. As of last month I’m finally one of them, and now I see what all the fuss is about.

Here’s how to do Yosemite right.

Sleep outside the park

It’s easier to enjoy Yosemite when you put a little space between you and the headliners (El Capitan, Half Dome, Bridal Veil Falls, and Yosemite Falls). You can still go visit them for the day, but you don’t have to sleep near them.

An excellent choice is Evergreen Lodge on Yosemite’s western border, just a mile from the Hetch Hetchy park entrance. Not only is it a lovely and peaceful place to stay, it gives you easy back door access to the park. You can hike to Carlon Falls, harass tadpoles and bullfrogs in nearby  Birch Lake, or just toast marshmallows for s’mores at the outdoor fireplace.

Read more about Yosemite on TravelSavvyMom.

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