5 Tips for Planning a Day Trip to Yosemite National Park

Yosemite was my first trip to a national park and it did not disappoint! Not only did I have perfect weather, but I also spend the ideal amount of time there. It was about a 3 hour drive from Stockton, CA where I am staying for work. From San Francisco it would be around 4-5 hours so it’s still possible to make a day trip from there as well. If you’re super into nature you could go for a weekend trip or longer. However, If you can’t tell I don’t consider myself a nature girl, so hiking (more like struggling) up the mountain to see the views for one day was perfect. I did the Upper Yosemite Falls Hike – it was a moderate to strenuous hike but nothing too crazy!

I went there having done practically zero research, so below I listed five things I wish I would have known before I went. Hopefully they can help make your trip more enjoyable 🙂

1. Arrive early:  The parking is crazy here and get filled up quickly! There is also a line that forms at the beginning of the park to pay for a ticket to come in – so the later you go the longer the line will be. It’s $30 for a pass that you can use for up to a week!

 2. Check the weather: I had the most GORGEOUS weather when I went, but supposedly it was possible for them to have snow this time of year so check the 10 day forecast before heading out. Some areas require tire chains to be able to drive through depending on the conditions!

3. Bring a jacket: I went in between being extremely hot (mostly as I struggled to get to the top) and cold when we got closer to the top and on the way down. I was happy I had a workout jacket to take on and off as I changed temperatures.

4. Bring a backpack: I didn’t have one and I wish I did. I did the shorter hike because of timing (and my athletic ability haha) but It would have been nice to have a backpack to carry the essentials – water, snacks, phone etc. Also it helps you look like a more legit hiker haha – fake it till you make it right??

5. Plan on being off the grid: The cellphone service was terrible the further we got into our hike, and honestly even when we entered the park, so be prepared to be off the grid for a while. Of course still take your phone or camera so you can take pictures of the amazing scenery!



  1. Robert
    February 27, 2018 / 4:35 pm

    Looks like something I would love to do.
    Glad you had such a great time.
    Take care

    • Kirsten Elizabeth
      February 28, 2018 / 2:59 pm

      It was so fun! I think we should do a family hiking trip in Machu Picchu 🙂

  2. Karen Beukema
    February 28, 2018 / 8:24 am

    We’re planning on doing this park in the near future so these pics and suggestions are perfect. Hugs.

    • Kirsten Elizabeth
      February 28, 2018 / 2:59 pm

      That’s awesome Karen! You will love it – it was gorgeous! Hope to see you soon!

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