Flora and fauna in Yosemite National Park, USA
There’s no better place to worship the beauty of Mother Earth than at Yosemite National Park. With dramatic cliffs, giant sequoia groves and gushing waterfalls, this park is a must if you love the outdoors – or are just looking to fall in love for the first time. As you enter the glacier-carved valley, the rocky peaks of the Sierras seem to stretch out in every direction, with dark pine forests and grassy meadows softening the scene. Brace yourself for the impressive sight of Half Dome, a huge mountain of granite that looks as though it’s been chopped in half. Whether you’re visiting with the little ones or your crew of pro backpackers, the best way to discover the park is on foot.
The best way to get around Yosemite is on foot
Enjoy a lakeside stroll with your camera in hand or a rigorous overnight trip high in the Sierras. Yosemite has some of the best rock climbing cliffs in the country, but you can also stick closer to ground level with a rental bike on the 20 km of paved cycling paths. If you’re committed to camping under the stars, there are idyllic spots for ‘glamping’, roughing it, and everything in between. Those inclined for a bit more comfort will find B&Bs deep in the forest and mountain lodges with valley views.
River boat trips are available in warm weather
When to go?
Summer is the best time to visit for overnight backpacking, as all the trails and roads are open and you’ll have the most consistent weather. April and May are also popular, with waterfalls in fine form and wildflowers dusting the meadows. For both seasons, plan your trip well in advance and arrive at the park early in the morning to avoid the rush. Those after a bit more solitude can visit in October, when the leaves have turned a glorious gold – just be prepared for chilly nights and the odd snow storm. Come winter, the park is transformed into a glittering wonderland, perfect for visitors after some skiing, snow tubing or ice skating.
Red Tail Ranch, California
Where to stay?
This bed-and-breakfast has nearly-perfect review scores. The hosts Deborah and Kevin could not be more praised and guests love the beautiful grounds, comfy rooms and delicious homemade breakfasts, which feature fresh eggs from ranch-raised chickens. Just 20 minutes from Yosemite Gate, it’s an ideal place to lay your head (and soak in the hot tub) after a day of hiking.
Tin Lizzie Inn, California
Offering up luxury in the wilderness, this four-star B&B is all about the details. You’ll sleep in gorgeous Victorian-style rooms with a view of the mountains and wake up to a gourmet breakfast served by your gracious hosts. You can take a ride on their 1915 Model T Ford before you head over to Yosemite, just 3 km away.
Rush Creek Lodge, California
As far as location goes, it doesn’t get much better than this. Situated right next to the park’s west entrance, this lodge perfectly combines nature and home comforts. After a day of hiking, enjoy some craft beers and grub at the bar, then head outside for a bonfire or a hot-tub soak.