Experiencing Yosemite National Park in One Day Flat

Experiencing Yosemite National Park in One Day Flat

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I absolutely hate waking up early.  I’m not a morning person, by any means at all.  When my alarm clock goes off, I slap my phone with hopes that I hit snooze and not off.  This occurs for the next 50 minutes until it’s absolutely imperative I get my butt out of bed.

BUT (yes, there’s usually a but…) when theres an adventure to get outta bed for, you better believe this girl can get her a** up!

I was off to Yosemite, yes, with an alarmingly early wake-up call, but to one of California’s most attractive National Parks nonetheless.  There’s a reason over 4 million people visit each year.  But the even better part- I didn’t have to drive!

yosemite in one day

After a quick Google search a few months prior, it was apparent that Incredible Adventures was the company to choose.  Not only do they offer eco-friendly day trips from the city, but each tour has a maximum of 15 guests – a really important factor for me.  Personalization?  Yes, please!

After a quick and easy pick-up in the city, we were off on our road trip to Yosemite National Park.

yosemite in one day

Rest Stops:

As soon as I sat down, I scoured the bus for a bathroom (it’s a four hour drive!)  Mitch calmed my fears and assured us that we could stop the bus at any time for a potty break.  Thankfully, the drive was broken up into manageable chunks by stopping every so often for snacks and bathroom breaks.

We first stopped at a local farmers market, filled with organic fruits and veggies, dried nuts and fruit, and my all-time favorite, chocolate candies.  I opted for some dried mango, and after a quick stop at a nearby grocery store to pick up lunch (cheaper than any food found in Yosemite), we were off to the park.  More specifically, to Tuolumne Grove to hike to the giant Sequoia Trees.

The drive was long, but I spent the time chatting, laughing, and admiring the girl’s Thai accent.  Oh, and we made sure to eat our snacks, too.  What’s a road trip without some proper snacks?

Tuolumne Grove:

Since the Yosemite area did not experience as much snowfall as usual, we were able to stop at Tuolumne Grove.  From here, we went on a short(ish) hike to the giant Sequoia Trees, where we found massive pine cones and 3-4000 year old trees.  Look up- you’ll feel so tiny and humbled in their presence!

I must say, it was nice to spend a bit of time exercising after being on the bus for so long!  My new friend and I bonded with some other girls on the hike, and we pushed each other (both physically and mentally) back to the beginning of the trailhead.  The hike back up was much more difficult than I thought, especially with the unforeseen high temps in March!

yosemite national park in one day

yosemite national park in one day

tuolumne grove

tuolumne grove

tuolumne grove

Photo Stops:

What better way to relax a bit after our hike than to stop at some of the must-see views in Yosemite?  Nothing.

This was our first view of the park, and as soon as I stepped out of the bus, I was blown away by its sheer size and magnitude.

yosemite in one day

We saw waterfalls, huge granite formations, and enough greenery for days.  I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves.

yosemite in one day

All of the viewpoints were pretty spectacular, but tunnel view, being 4,500 feet above sea level, easily provided the greatest views.

yosemite in one day

yosemite in one day

yosemite in one day

Free Time:

Although the photo stops were great, I always love to have some time to myself to explore an area at my own pace.  When Mitch explained to us that we would have about two and a half hours sans group, I was overjoyed.  My new friends and I decided to meander around and hike a trail or two, until we came upon this waterfall:

yosemite in one day

It was our mission to hike to the base of the waterfall, and we did just that.  I only made it part-way due to the fact that I was not wearing proper footwear (climbing over large boulders in flip-flops is certainly not the easiest nor safest).  However, my friends made it all the way to the base and showed me their photos on the bus later.  If hiking to a waterfall seems like your cup of tea, I strongly urge you to wear sneakers or hiking boots with decent tread – it was definitely slippery at times!

yosemite in one day

yosemite in one day

yosemite in one day

yosemite in one day

yosemite in one day

yosemite in one day

The end of our time was spent perusing through the gift shop, and laughing at some of the items in the gift shop.  Bear poo, anyone?

yosemite in one day

yosemite in one day

Other ways to spend your free time: rent bikes and cruise around the park or take the park shuttle to a few of the many picturesque stops.  Whatever you do, make sure to take a map from the visitors center!

El Capitan:

After regrouping, we headed towards El Capitan for our last stop of the day.  We were on the search for climbers, and thankfully, saw a few!  Luckily Mitch brought along some binoculars, which we all used to spot the hikers high up on the side of the massive granite rock formation.

yosemite in one day

yosemite in one day

yosemite in one day

Overall Conclusion:

GET TO YOSEMITE, pronto!  It’s easily one of the most beautiful places on Earth.  John Muir wasn’t wrong when he said, ““It is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter.”

If you are going to San Francisco, this day trip is an absolute must, just make sure to bring a sweater for the bus ride!  The day trip was definitely well worth the 7-8 hour round trip bus ride.

All in all a good day- and we didn’t see any bears!

Disclaimer:  I was a guest of Incredible Adventures, but as always, all opinions remain my own.

// *THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. This means that if you make a booking after clicking on one of these links, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for the support and help keeping the site free of charge for everyone to enjoy!

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