Visiting Yosemite National Park


What to do in Yosemite National Park

Can you imagine how excited and relieved I felt arriving in Yosemite National Park after a L-O-N-G ride through Death Valley National Park, Nevada? Let me break it down for you: refreshing greenery versus miles of sand dunes, soothing breeze on my face versus 122 degrees Fahrenheit.. You get my point.

The Yosemite National Park is a convenient 4-hour drive from San Francisco, and there are a lot of tour companies operating day tours to Yosemite. But if I were you, I’d choose to stay inside the park for at least two days and one night. There are just too many things to do and way too little time if you’ve only got the one day! We initially planned to stay for only one night but after a taste of HEAVEN, we prolonged our stay to three days!

During our time there, we did loads of fun things, and I’m sharing it with you. If you are visiting Yosemite National Park soon, here are my suggestions on what to do there!

What to do in Yosemite

Day hike

There are a lot of options if you are looking for a hike that can be done in just a few hours. The Mirror Lake trail (1.2 mile) is one of them, which will lead you to, well, the Mirror Lake! If you are camping at the backpackers campsite, the trail head starts at the very end of the campsite.

Side note: It is a seasonal lake, meaning that the lake will dry up during the height of Summer.


I personally ABSOLUTELY love picnicking. Although I must warn you that you should follow all the rules in order NOT to attract bears! Only eat at picnic tables prepared in the park and never ever leave food or food remnants unattended! You can bring your own food and get a Bear Container at the Wilderness Permit Center.

What to do in Yosemite


Self-guided tour

Driving is undoubtedly the most flexible way to see Yosemite National Park. Maps are available in the Visitor Center, so do pick up one before you start exploring on your own!


If you are not up for the stress of driving around yourself in a National Park, opt for a guided bus tour instead! These popular tours are available year-round, and there are several options depending on how much time you’d like to spend. A short tour lasts approximately 2 hours while longer ones take up a whole day.


Yes, biking! There is an awesome 12 mile paved bike path in Yosemite Valley for you roam through. What a way to take in the grandeur of Yosemite!

What to do in Yosemite


If you are going to spend a night in the wilderness, a Wilderness Permit is required. In order to obtain one you have to apply online first, then go to the Wilderness Permit Station to pick it up. Also, if you are bringing food and snacks, rent a bear canister to prevent bears from getting its share of your food.

Related: Camping in bear countryβ€”What to do and what to avoid!

Mule/ Horseback Riding

One very rewarding tour is to the above-mentioned seasonal Mirror Lake. There are a lot of interesting bird species to see on the way, such as the great gray owl, the spotted owl, the peregrine falcon, the pleated woodpecker, the northern goshawk, and many more.

Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is loads of fun, and there are a lot of climbs to attempt, depending on your skill level! If you’re visiting Yosemite for the climbing alone, I suggest you go for a multi-day climb.

What to do in Yosemite


Ranger and Interpretive Programs

You can join a ranger program and learn about Yosemite National Park in-depth while walking around appreciating the pristine nature, which is perfect if you are looking to learn more than you would during a regular visit.

Photography Bonanza!

There are endless photo opportunities along the way, no matter which route of discovery you choose. One of my favorite shots is a photo of the Yosemite Falls taken from the open field.

Swimming, boating, rafting

Fancy a dip in the water after a tiring hike? There are a few water holes by the road where you can do just that!

What to do in Yosemite


If you’d like to read more about Vivian’s adventures in the Yosemite, check out some of her posts here!



About the author: Vivian is 23 years old, and currently a 5th year Medical student. She is also a freelancer writer, magazine columnist and the founder of Miss HappyFeet. She was born and raised in Malaysia and moved to Russia when she was 18. In addition to visiting her blog, make sure to follow her on Facebook and Instagram!



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  • Definitely gonna pin this post. Really wanna visit Yosemite one day(:
    Camilla |

    • Yayy, I’m so happy to hear that, Camilla! πŸ™‚ Thank you!

  • Such a wonderful place! I was there as a teenager and remember us going horseback riding and swimming! It was such a great experience!

    • Wow, that sounds like such amazing memories! Going horseback riding must have been so cool! πŸ™‚

  • How I’ve spent so much time in San Francisco and didn’t realize I was only four hours from Yosemite is beyond me. One day we’ll have to visit with all our children.

    • Not gonna lie, I didn’t know how close it was until I read Vivian’s guest post either! I’m sure visiting with kids is an amazing experience! πŸ™‚

  • OMG i’m dying to go there! Such a fan post πŸ™‚
    Jabeen x

    • Same, it seems so amazing! πŸ™‚

  • Bethany Magnie

    I just watched a documentary on renegade rock climbers in Yosemite back in the 60’s and 70’s. Your post reminded me of it a lot, such a gorgeous view.

    • Wow, that sounds like an interesting documentary, do you remember the name of it? πŸ™‚ Thank you, Bethany!

  • Karin Rambo

    We’re hoping to get to Yosemite in the next year or two! I’ve never been, but I’m dying to go!

    • That’s great, Karin! πŸ™‚ I hope this post gave you some inspiration for things to do when you go!

  • Kim Munoz

    One of these days! Your photos are breathtaking! Did you see any bears?

    • Thank you! I am curious about that, too! πŸ™‚

  • I love the pictures!! I want to go hike in Yosemite someday… I’m sure it’d be amazing.

    • I know, me too! It seems like such a beautiful place! πŸ™‚

  • Thanks for all the info! I’m hoping to visit Yosemite sometime this year!! It’s been on my bucket list for forever. I love our national parks!

    • I’m so glad it was helpful, Ashliegh! Yosemite truly looks so beautiful! πŸ™‚

  • While visiting my aunt in California in April this year, we drove through Yosemite. It was the most beautiful place I have ever seen. It is truly humbling. I really hope some day I can go back and camp there.There’s so much more to see than what you see while driving around.

    • I can imagine that would have been an amazing drive!