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Top 5 things to do in Yosemite
Yosemite National Park, in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California, is a stunning example of natural beauty. Here are some of our favourite ways to explore the park.
Cycle through the park
Hop on a bike and get ready to pedal through some of the most breathtaking scenery around, whether it’s a downhill race or an uphill struggle, it’s sure to be an adventure. To protect the park’s beauty, cyclists are forbidden from venturing off the paved cycleways, but with 20km of paths, there’s no shortage of routes. For the ardent cyclist, stay on the lower foothill roads with little traffic and beautiful scenery. Take it up a level on the Highway 49-N from Mariposa; with steeper grades, it’s more effort, but worth it for the panoramic views of the lower Merced River Valley.
Go on a ranger walk
Want to learn more about the park from an expert? Join in with one of the 60-90 minute free park ranger walk and talks. Often entertaining, and always informative, you can listen to stories about a variety of topics including: wildlife, how the Native Americans used to live and the geology of the park. These are available in all areas of the park at different times of the year.
Explore on horseback
Fancy yourself as the famous John Muir? Tackle the Yosemite trails by horseback or mule ride. The Big Trees Lodge Stable is the perfect start to the Meadow Loop trail that will take you on a two-hour trek along one of the historic wagon roads of the early European settlers; this ride is perfect for all ages and abilities. For a longer excursion, you can venture further afield to some special views.
Learn to rock climb
If you want to reach new heights, the Yosemite Mountaineering School and Guides, which have been leading thousands of climbers through Yosemite’s cliffs is the only authorised company to go with and know the cliffs like no one else. Welcoming a whole range of abilities, climbing classes are normally seven hours long and with only six students or fewer per instructor, it’s easy to quickly learn and master the rock taking you from beginner to pro in no time.
Hike to Taft Point
Glacier Point Road is the trail way to the stomach-lurching drop, Taft Point. Hanging 1,200m above the valley, you will not be beaten on a viewing point anywhere in the park, especially during sunset or sunrise. With just a single iron railing at Taft Point, you often see people warily going up to the edge. The views outweigh any vertigo suffered; there is no better way to witness the stunning Yosemite Valley than looking down from a giddying height.