On the third day in Yosemite, I decided to do a 15 mile hike through Yosemite Creek and Yosemite falls. I think this is actually the best way to do the falls. I left my campground at around 6am, walked through Lukens lake, and across the road to Yosemite Creek. From this starting point, my hike was all downhill, making it much much easier than the steep short uphill climb most people take to Yosemite Falls.
Everything is so quiet at that time of day, it’s like the earth isn’t quite ready to breathe a full breath. One of the best parts about this hike to is that I had the route all to myself until I reached the top of the falls. So for the first 11 miles I didn’t see a soul in the woods, and luckily not a bear either.
A lot of sections of the forrest had been burned at some point, whether it was controlled or not I didn’t know. Even though this was filled with death and decay, the colors of the decay were vibrant, and contrasted beautifully against the clear blue sky.
(best attempt at a selfie here)
This was the view from the very top looking down. You don’t get much of a good view of the falls from here, but you get a spectacular vantage point of the valley in all its glory. Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in the United States: 2,425 ft from the top to the bottom. It is one of the most striking features of the valley, and definitely worth being on top of.
As always Half Dome is peering over the valley in the back.
There is a shuttle system that takes hikers from the valley to Tuolumne meadows each day, the last bus up leaves at 1:00 but I easily caught this, having a fast speed from all the downhill.
At the end of the day I did another short hike up to May lake. Here are a few shots from here, this is a popular backpacking spot since it is only about 3 miles to the lake.
The next day I set off down into the valley again around sunrise, and caught some amazing views along the way.
For this day’s hike I was going to start at Vernal Falls, and work my way up to Glacier Point, and back down the 4-mile trail – making it another 15-mile day. Most people do this hike in the other route, going down from Glacier Point. This is most likely the way to go, I think; I had a rough day of uphills, so I gave myself internal pep talks the whole way.
Vernal Falls is a waterfall underneath Nevada Falls – an impressive cascade of water down into the valley. One of the cool things about Vernal Falls is that when you look down, there is a consistent rainbow created by the spray of the water.
This hike offers some of the best views of Half Dome, especially since getting permits to hike actual Half Dome can be quite a hassle. Sorry for the bombardment of similar photos, but with each couple miles it looked like a different world to me as I got higher and higher.
That is Nevada Falls on the right.
These last two photos are the view from Glacier Point – the most picturesque point in the valley, in my opinion. You can drive right up to this spot, too. From here, you can clearly see how glaciers carved this impressive valley.
Look at those tiny dots of humanity down below.
Yosemite was amazing and massive; I definitely will have to go back and backpack next time. So far on my trip, it has been the most crowded National Park. If you want to go and do any kind of backpacking, climbing or camping in famed places, make sure to make reservations as soon as they open up for the year. This is why, I think, backpacking this park is the way to go. While it was beautiful, the hoards of tourists were somewhat annoying, but of course I was there at peak season.
Hope you enjoyed the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.