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If visiting Yosemite isn’t on your hiking bucket list, it should be. As a professional hiker, I’ve adventured around the world and Yosemite is one of my favorite hiking destinations anywhere. It’s also one of the best hiking destinations in the US. Even when I lived on the edge of the park, the trails never got old. Whether you’re on a family road trip or a backpacker seeking solitude in the high country, Yosemite is a world class destination that you’ll want to revisit year-after-year.
For people coming to Yosemite for the first time, I recommend staying in Yosemite Valley and making reservations well ahead of time. Yosemite Valley is home to over a dozen trailheads. No matter where you stand, you’ll enjoy jaw-dropping views of granite cliffs and domes soaring above. The Valley has plenty of restaurants, grocery stores to create trail-side feasts, and a free and frequent shuttle bus system. Lodging offerings run from camping to luxury hotels. For rest days, you can float the Merced River, explore bike trails, or watch movies about the Park.
If you’re looking for Yosemite with more alpine views and fewer crowds, Tuolumne Meadows is my favorite place in the Park. With alpine lakes, wildflower-filled meadows, and numerous granite domes, it’s a high altitude wonderland. My sister worked in Wawona and says it’s the place in Yosemite to see the iconic Giant Sequoia redwoods that inspired the creation of Yosemite Park. Wherever you go in Yosemite, you can’t go wrong. Here are a few of my favorite must-see spots that you shouldn’t miss.