Our road trip through California was great all around, but our favorite part was probably Yosemite Valley. We only had two days to dedicate to the huge Yosemite National Park, so we decided to spend them on the Valley, which is apparently the most spectacular part of it.
Our hotel, the Christmas Tree Inn, was really nice but we had around a 2 hours drive to the valley. If you want to stay closer (I recommend it) try to book your room several months in advance. Especially if your visit takes place during August, the busiest month of the year. Don’t worry about the size of your car, there’s plenty of parking space. You can get a ticket to the park for several days that includes parking for non-commercial vehicles, so you don’t need to worry about how many times you visit.
August 2015 was a hard time for California because of the drought, and we could clearly notice this when we went to the park. The famous Mirror Lake was almost completely dry, although the views around it were still spectacular. I would suggest not to miss it, even if you go during a dry season.
There are several trails for hiking in Yosemite Valley, and we did a few of them. If I had to pick my favorite I would go with the Vernal Fall. Even if there wasn’t a lot of water on August (apparently Spring is the best time to visit), the place was really amazing, with great views that spread all around the valley. It’s a rather long hike to the top, but it’s totally worth it.
At the bottom of the fall a small natural “pool” gets formed around the rocks, and a rainbow is constantly shining on it. Although the water is really cold, it’s a great and refreshing swim, especially if you visit during the summer. We really loved to swim for a few minutes in a place as spectacular and unique as this one.
Overall, Yosemite Valley was amazing, and I strongly recommend anyone visiting California not to miss it. In fact, if our trip had been longer, we would have definitely stayed more days, to maybe visit some areas of the Yosemite National Park. Who knows, maybe we’ll go back and see the rest of it some day.