For our very last day in Yosemite National Park (Go here, here, and here to read about my first three days!), we decided to spend our final few hours exploring Yosemite Valley on foot. We decided to follow the paved bike trail that wound through the best attractions and must-see views.
It was yet another incredibly hot day for us Alaskans, and it felt even hotter on the valley floor than it had been up on the top of the cliffs. We took our time and slowly made our way over to the trailhead for Lower Yosemite Falls. This trail was super short and flat, which meant it was also super crowded! I got a little claustrophobic battling for space with lots of other people. When we made it to the bottom of Lower Yosemite Falls, we were happy to feel the mist from the falls to cool us off.
The best part about the trail was a small “viewpoint” side trail. It led to the creek at the bottom of Lower Yosemite Falls, which happened to be the site of John Muir’s cabin over a hundred years ago! I loved getting to see what his view would have been from his cabin.
We had seen lots of waterfalls during our trip, but Yosemite Falls was hands down my favorite. We spent a lot of time just staring at the gorgeous and ridiculously tall falls, which changed every time the wind blew.
For the rest of the day we just wandered around through meadows and back and forth over the Merced River. We saw deer, stared at gorgeous views of Yosemite Falls, and looked up at the tall granite walls of the valley. It was such a relaxing way to end our trip to Yosemite!
It was really hard to leave, but I know I’ll be back someday. There are so many hikes that I have added to our Yosemite bucket list, and I’d love to try to do some (or all!) of the John Muir Trail as a long backpacking trip. For now, I’m so glad I had the chance to visit the best national park in the country on my 30th birthday!
If you could visit any national park, which one would it be? Do you have a hiking bucket list?