San Francisco: Hike and Camp Yosemite NP

Posted on September 10, 2011


Yosemite National Park could be America’s finest natural resource. It’s one of the first wilderness parks in the U.S., and the pristine valleys, waterfalls and peaks that make up the park are best served on foot.

Hiking and Camping in Yosemite, California. (Photo: Ary/Fotolia)

Hiking and Camping in Yosemite, California. (Photo: Ary/Fotolia)

Covering 1,200 square miles, Yosemite’s vast wilderness is linked together by over 750 miles of trails. With a seemingly endless array of routes to choose from, it’s best to do your research and plan a custom approach to fit your interests and needs. The National Park Service has a number of tools to help you start planning.

Classic highlights include Half Dome, El Capitan, Sentinel Dome, Vernal and Nevada Falls, and the tranquil shores of Mirror Lake. But don’t forget the unassuming landmarks, like taking in the valley view at Glacier Point –where you can see almost one third of the park– or chilling off in the Merced River after a long day on the trail.

From easy walks to Lower Yosemite Fall, Cook’s Meadow, and Mirror Lake to strenuous hikes to the top of Yosemite Falls or Nevada Fall, Yosemite Valley has a wide range of walking and hiking possibilities.

Yosemite contains 13 campgrounds; seven of which are on a reservation system, and the rest are first-come, first-served. Non-reservation sites are often full by noon, and camping outside of the designated areas is illegal in the park.

1. Distance to San Francisco – 190 Miles

2. Length of season – March – December

3. Available Terrain – 750 Miles, 13 Campgrounds

4. Cost for access (campsite, permits, etc) – $60-100

5. Expert factor (1 beginnier 5 expert) – 1-4