Getting to experience Yosemite’s beauty for the first time is something recurring visitors wish they could experience again and again. However, there are a lot of good tips to learn before you hit the trails, so we’ll take you through the biggest do’s and don’ts for your first Yosemite trip.
Do: Plan Ahead
With so much to see and do in Yosemite, you must make a plan ahead of time. Speak with everyone in your party and make a list of ‘goals’ – what you want to see, where you want to hike, and other activities you’d like to do. This will make it easier for you and your party to plan your stay and get any tickets or passes that are necessary.
If you need some help creating an itinerary based on your length of stay, read our blog, How to Spend 2, 3 or 5 Days in Yosemite this Summer.
Don’t: Forget Your Camera
Yosemite is truly a photographer’s dream destination. With the incredible mountain ranges that span for miles and the various viewpoints that have some of the best sunrises in the world, you do not need to be a pro to capture incredible photos and memories from your stay. Just remember to pack your charger and an extra memory card!
Do: Embrace the Trails
Did you even go to Yosemite if you didn’t visit at least one of the hiking trails? Whether you are an avid trailblazer or are planning to hike with kids, there are trails for everyone, at every skill and interest level. Just be sure to check out the Yosemite National Park’s hiking page before you go to make sure the trail you want to take is open and doesn’t require a special pass.
Don’t: Leave Food Unattended
This is land that has been occupied by wild animals long before tourists came to the park, and every visitor must be conscious about treating this park with the respect its wildlife deserves. Within Yosemite, there are hundreds of black bears that would love to feast on your peanut butter and jelly, so it is vital to follow the necessary protocol to protect yourself, them, and the land. You can learn more about bears and food storage on the National Park Service website.
Do: Respect the Environment
To honor Yosemite is to tread lightly, leaving no trace of our presence, and embracing sustainable practices. Whether it’s staying on designated trails to protect the superbloom, minimizing waste through responsible disposal, or practicing Leave No Trace principles, our actions in Yosemite should mirror our commitment to preserving this natural wonder for generations to come. By respecting this environment from your first Yosemite trip, we help the park maintain its incredible ecology.
Don’t: Underestimate the Weather
Yosemite’s weather can be quite unpredictable, so be prepared for sudden changes. Even in the summer, it can get chilly at higher elevations, so bring packable layers and a rain jacket. If you’re visiting in the winter, check road and trail conditions, and be equipped for snowy conditions if necessary. The winter of 2023 we saw incredible amounts of snow, and while it was beautiful, it is important to be prepared for the season with warm beanies, socks and waterproof shoes.
Do: Stay at a hotel close to the park with lots to do
To make the most out of your stay, be sure to choose a hotel that is located close to one of the park entrances. Three of our properties, Yosemite View Lodge, Yosemite Cedar Lodge and Indian Flat Campground are located close to the Arch Rock entrance making getting into the park that much quicker and easier.
Another thing to consider when looking for a place to stay is amenities. Yes, you will be exploring the park most of the day but come sundown, it is so nice to sit in the hot tub and rest sore muscles or warm up by a fire pit roasting S’mores with the family.
Your first Yosemite trip can be a truly unforgettable experience. By following these do’s and don’ts, you’ll be well-prepared to enjoy all the wonders this remarkable place has to offer. So, pack your sense of adventure and get ready to create some incredible memories amidst the towering granite cliffs and pristine wilderness of Yosemite!