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Visiting Yosemite National Park

Though Los Angeles is known more for crowds, traffic congestion and movie stars, within a few hours you can leave the urban sprawl of LA behind and find yourself in the middle of nowhere in Yosemite National Park. Fly from LA to Fresno-Yosemite, airport or make the five hour drive to the park’s entrance and the busy pace of LA will soon be a distant memory.

Long a popular summer vacation spot for families, Yosemite is also one of the best places to hike in the US. This giant park has dozens of waterfalls, hundreds of lakes, jagged mountains, quite meadows and even some relaxing beaches. And there are over 800 miles of trails that will take you past this beautiful scenery. From easy (and sometimes crowded) paved trails to challenging backcountry trails, there’s something for every hiker in Yosemite. Half Dome, Bridalveil and Yosemite Falls, and Mirror Lake are some of the most popular trails in the park. Be sure to stop by the visitors center when you arrive to get the scoop on current conditions int he park. There are also some national park iPhone apps that can help you plan your time according to your interests.

The Yosemite is one of the most well-touristed National Parks in the US, a visit doesn’t have to be expensive. Especially if you are driving yourself, it is easy to travel to Yosemite National Park on a budget. Camping or staying in one of the tent cabins will be the cheapest options for lodging. But you cann make reservations at only some of the campgrounds in the park, and those will book up fast in the high season. Booking about six months in advance (during high season) is ideal.

High season is during the summer, with June-August being the most popular times to visit. Opting for May-June or  September-October can mean lower prices and fewer crowds, just be prepared for unpredictable weather at these times.

Photo by Rennett Stowe