Nature At Its Best: Staying Inside Yosemite National Park

Thursday, 4 Jul 2013, 8:37:00 AM

Brenton Garen

Yosemite Valley is seven miles long and less than a mile wide.
Photo by Brenton Garen
Yosemite Valley is seven miles long and less than a mile wide.

Yosemite National Park is nature at its best with nearly 1,200 square miles of deep valleys, grand meadows, and ancient giant sequoias.

It is roughly the size of the State of Rhode Island, with over 94 percent designated wilderness.

At the heart of the National Park is Yosemite Valley -- a must-do for anyone looking for impressive waterfalls, breathtaking cliffs, and unusual rock formations.

The valley is home to massive cliff faces like El Capitan and Half Dome, plunging waterfalls including the tallest in North America, and gorgeous meadows.

While Yosemite Falls slows to trickle by August, a moderate hike will bring you to impressive Vernal and Nevada Falls.

Walk to Mirror Lake, where you will see reflections of Half Dome.

Gaze up at El Capitan, a massive granite monolith that stands 3,593 feet from base to summit.

Yosemite has more than 750 miles of trail, which you can learn about at the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center.

It is open from 10 am to 6 pm daily with plenty of information, maps, and books.

A free shuttle service is available year-round in eastern Yosemite Valley and, in summer, as far west as El Capitan.

For more information, visit

The Redwoods In Yosemite

Located inside the southern gate of Yosemite National Park, historic Wawona and Chilnualna Falls are the backdrop for more than 130 Yosemite vacation rentals.

Nestled among the trees, select a rustic log cabin or a spacious mountain vacation home.

Wide picture windows and private decks bring nature to the doorstep.

All homes are completely furnished including linens, cookware, dishes, and barbeques.

Firewood is provided for the rock fireplaces and wood burning stoves.

Many of the homes are pet friendly.

"Wawona Glade" is one of the most secluded homes, which is located at the end of one of the roads, with spectacular views from every window.

This home has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and sleeps up to eight guests.

The completely private deck has a gas BBQ, perfect for grilling your favorite meal under the stars, and also boasts a view of Mt. Raymond.

The large, private front yard faces the national park forest and the large back yard has a path to a seasonal stream.

The fully equipped kitchen includes a dishwasher. There are pool and ping pong tables in the game room/garage, and equipment for volleyball/badminton.

The home also has an iPod dock, CD/DVD, DSL/WIFI, 51" HDTV with 3D, and Dish Satellite, Netflix, Pandora and a DVD and CD collection.

Easy day trips from The Redwoods In Yosemite can take you to the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway, Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad, Bass Lake, the historic Gold Country town of Mariposa, Fresno Flats Historical Park in Oakhurst, and the Sierra Mono Indian Museum in North Fork.

When estimating driving times from Wawona to various park destinations, allow at least 1 hour for every 30 miles, as you will be traveling on scenic mountain roads with a 35 mph speed limit.

To drive to The Redwoods from Los Angeles, take Interstate highway 5 north to California state highway 99 north to California state highway 41 north (at Fresno) toward Yosemite.

Enter the southern entrance to Yosemite National Park and turn left continuing on highway 41/Wawona Road. Proceed into Wawona and turn right on Chilnualna Falls Road. Follow the signs to The Redwoods In Yosemite.

For more information, visit

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