When summer temperatures start to soar, thoughts turn to the beaches or the mountains, for escape from the heat. Five to six hours drive north, Yosemite National Park beckons those nature lovers who seek peace among the waterfalls, mountain streams, trees and rocks of one of the most legendary national parks in the country.
Right now, the waterfalls and streams are full tilt. The melt from record-setting winter snowfall has turned once languid streams into literally roiling rivers. Waterfalls are the largest in decades and the amount of water pouring off the granite mountains is astounding, and dangerous.
The gorgeous waterfalls and impossibly swollen rivers are beautiful and deadly. Those used to slowly rafting or tubing down the Merced will have no chance for river sport for several weeks at least.
Tolumne Meadows, the Tioga Road and High Sierras remain closed until mid-July, but there’s miles of national park and trails for all skill levels to enjoy. However, massive crowds on weekends demand patience from all.
Weekdays are definitely less crowded but still very busy during the summer. Basically, all lodging in the park is already booked up for months, but some availability at hotels and places outside the park boundaries may be available.
There are trails from mild and easy to the hardest, most demanding possible.
Be careful on the Mist Trail, part of the Vernal Fall/Nevada Falls loop – steps are covered with running water and the spray from the falls and the river is punishing.
Many enjoyable trails exist, especially the walk to Mirror Lake and the Valley floor loop trail. Of course, Lower Yosemite Falls is filled with massive crowds by midday.
Shuttle buses make getting around the popular spots in the Park a lot less frustrating than trying to do it in your car during the busy season from Memorial Day until September.
For iconic California views and unforgettable scenery, Yosemite National Park remains a must do for all California residents. You’ll be sharing the park with people from all over the country and the world, but with some planning and patience, summer in Yosemite can be a wonderful escape from city life.
Editor’s Note: While there’s always a lot going on in Burbank, myBurbank’s “Get Out Of Town!” highlights some of our favorite activities and events outside the town borders.