Quick Visit to Yosemite National Park | OK, Which Way?


Quick Visit to Yosemite National Park


In October of 2012, John, me, and our three kids went on a 15 day road trip. We went as far as the Grand Canyon before turning back towards home. Yosemite was the last National Park we visited before returning to Oregon.

It was beautiful, of course. The many different habitats surprised me the most. I wasn’t expecting the landscape to be as diverse as it was or to be as different as it was from our forested areas in the Pacific NW. It seemed to be a much drier climate than the rainy place we call home.


Park Info


Location: Eastern central California within the Sierra Nevada mountains. 4-5 hours from Sacramento, Reno, and Lake Tahoe
Established: 1890
Elevation: about 2000 feet to 13,000+
Things to See: Half Dome and El Capitan, Mariposa Grove with over 500 giant sequoias, the orange glow of Horsetail Falls
Things to Do: go rock climbing, kayak in Tenaya Lake, become a Junior Ranger, and stargaze
Lodging/Camping: Yes, campgrounds and lodges
Food: Yes, there are a number of restaurants and a la carte options on site
Prohibited in buildings & on trails. They are allowed in most campgrounds and paved areas.
Entrance Fee: $35/vehicle  click here to see current fee pricing  
Reservations: Yes, during certain times of year
Park Maps:  Link to park maps  





Just before driving into Yosemite’s park boundaries, we stopped at Ellery Lake. It was gorgeous! We watched a Bald Eagle fish in the lake and spotted an Osprey high in a snag devouring his fish.



We had been on the road for 6 hours by the time we made it to this sign and we still had lots of driving ahead of us. We were coming from Death Valley, so we took Highway 395 and entered the park through Tioga Pass.


Right away the views were breathtaking. I loved it all – the meadow, the huge rocks, and the trees.

We spotted a couple rock climbers, who I thought were both crazy and fantastic. There’s nothing like adding adventure to your life.


We did so much driving that day, but it was beautiful everywhere we went.




Our goal was to make it to the Visitor Center so the kids could earn their Junior Ranger Badges. We made it and they completed all the tasks with barely 5 minutes to spare before the center closed for the day. Then it was back on the road.



Of course, we loved seeing the wildlife. Today I’m highlighting the mule deer, Stellar’s Jay, and squirrel we saw. Many other species can be seen in the park including black bear, red fox, fishers, and Western pond turtles.




El Capitan at sunset and Half Dome peeking through the trees.



We pulled off to explore the river for our last Yosemite experience. The kids loved it. They didn’t even notice a Great Blue Heron fly over them.



This was a quick tour of Yosemite, spending only 5-6 hours there, which was not near long enough. But I’m glad we saw what we did and hopefully we will make it back one day.




Personal Info


Day 13
of 15 Day Road Trip





Facts About Granite


– Yosemite’s geology is comprised almost entirely of granite.

– Granite is an igneous rock. Igneous rocks form when hot magma or lava cool and solidify.

– Granite is an intrusive (also known as plutonic) igneous rock, meaning the magma cooled and solidified very slowly miles underground forming crystals. As opposed to extrusive (volcanic) igneous rock which cools near or above the Earth’s surface.

– Granite contains a variety of minerals giving it the classic salt and pepper look.

– Granite is the 2nd hardest natural substance in the world. Diamonds are the first.


UNESCO World Heritage Site


A World Heritage Site is a designated area with “outstanding universal value” administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The goal is to preserve and protect these cultural, historical, or natural areas throughout the world. Yosemite is under this protection.



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Quick Visit to Yosemite National Park | Road Trip | OK, Which Way?

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