Virtual Tour of Heaven on Earth
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Virtual Tour of Heaven on Earth

Here is a visual tour of Yosemite's best hikes.

Virtual Tour of Heaven on Earth

Today, there are 59 National Parks; each is unique and spectacular in their own way. Last year, the National Park Service recorded over 307 million visitors to the 59 parks. The most popular parks, as measured by most visitors, are the Great Smokey Mountains NP, Grand Canyon NP, and Rocky Mountain NP. Among the most famous national parks is my favorite, Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite National Park was the third National Park to be established. Personally, I believe it is the most beautiful landscape in the world. The prime time to visit is in May due to the low crowds, perfect temperature around the 70s, and waterfalls’ peak in water volume.

I hope everyone can have the opportunity to see this majestic heaven. I have been fortunate enough to visit three times, and every time has been better than the previous. As a result, I feel an obligation to help others make the best of their trip, as it may be their only time to visit.

If you are not a big hiker, want to just take a drive through the park, or are too tired from a previous hike, a drive through Yosemite Valley is perfect for you. As you enter the valley on Wawona Road, it is a must to first stop at the tunnel view.

From this viewpoint, one can see the notorious panorama of Yosemite. The iconic Half-Dome and El Capitan granite structures lie impeccably on the valley floor.

When you continue on your way, you can drive up to Glacier Point to see a mesmerizing outlook of Half-Dome.

Another must-see is Mariposa Grove to see some of the largest trees on the planet: Sequoias. Over a thousand-years-old, these trees have an average circumference that spans the arm-length of 18 men!

Let’s say you want to do a small hike to get a taste of Yosemite. I would highly recommend the Four Mile Trail from Glacier Point to Yosemite Valley. The name is slightly deceiving as it is 4.8 miles long in reality, and will take between three and four hours one-way. You can park on the valley floor, and take the hiker’s bus up to the top of Glacier Point. Here, you can get one of the greatest views of Half-Dome. Then, you can hike down the switchbacks while solely seeing beauty.

If you are an ambitious hiker, I highly advise trekking to the peak of Half-Dome.

To do so, one needs to apply for a hiking permit, which are given through a lottery process. I made the mistake of hiking the 18 mile round-trip trek in one day my first time. As a result, I could not enjoy the scenery as much, and my feet were more swollen. To do it perfectly, I would encourage splitting the hike in either two or three days. Either or will begin by ascending the John Muir trail to the tops of Vernal and Nevada Falls.

These beautiful waterfalls are their largest in May. After 3.8 miles, you will reach Little Yosemite Valley campground, where it is best to camp over night.

Then, for either trip, you should wake up early, around 6 a.m., and hike the last 5.2 miles to the summit of Half-Dome. I’d advocate taking a lot of water and a packed lunch so that you can enjoy a nice break. To climb to the top of Half-Dome, one needs to climb cable bars.

It is most important to stay within the cables at all times. To have the finest grip, I recommend wearing gloves with traction, such as hiking or gardening gloves. Once you are at the summit, you can witness the rare viewpoint of the valley in its entirety. Behind, you can even see Clouds Rest, another stunning granite structure.

To descend, I encourage going backwards if you are afraid of heights. After, you can return to your campsite. If you were on the two-day trek, you would continue on to Yosemite Valley. However, if you were on the three-day trek, you can spend an extra night in your tent at Little Yosemite. The next day, you can descend the 3.8 miles down the John Muir trail. Some have argued the John Muir trail is long, however, while the John Muir trail is one mile longer than the Mist trail, it is much less steep and better for your feet. This hike has been my absolute favorite throughout my life, and the memories will last forever.

In the popular PBS series of “The National Parks,” Ken Burns projects how National Parks are America’s Best Idea. I couldn’t agree more. Furthermore, I believe Yosemite is America’s most spectacular National Park. One could spend weeks here, but still not grasp the entire park’s magnificence. However, if you only have a few days, or luckily a week, these three voyages may be perfect for you.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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