Honeymooning in Yosemite – Exploring Yosemite Valley

Hi friends, welcome back to our second day in Yosemite National Park! After hiking over nine miles the previous day, Jon and I decided to take it easy and explore the Valley. We knew our second hike would be quite strenuous, so we made the smart decision to give our legs a bit of rest. From our Airbnb, we drove about thirty minutes down to the Valley and rented cruiser bikes for the afternoon.

I’d highly recommend renting bikes because there’s so much ground to cover, so it would be nearly impossible to walk to everything. Plus, with the heat any breeze felt very welcomed! The Valley has twelve miles of bike paths, but you can also ride in the roads if you obey traffic laws. We had a blast on these bikes and I believe they were about $30 each.

Jon and I headed to Mirror Lake first and my only regret was not bringing my bathing suit for a swim! Mirror Lake has very little water most of the year, so its name is a bit misleading, but spring is the best time to see it because of the snow melt. Mirror Lake formed from a melting glacier, but it’s almost nonexistent as you can see. It’s one of the most popular places to swim in the summer when there’s water, but when it’s not occupied by swimmers, Mirror Lake offers a beautiful reflection of Half Dome and North Dome.

Jon and I hopped back on our bikes and drove past the trail head of Vernon Falls and Nevada Falls via the Mist Trail, the difficult hike we planned for the following day. The Merced River that runs through these falls gushed with full force from the snow melting. From what I read, spring is a great time to visit because in the summer, the water level drops and some of the waterfalls almost disappear.

I spy Half Dome!

One of the only downsides to biking was that it was harder to stop and take pictures. I’d see something beautiful then have to figure out a place to stop, get out my camera from my backpack, and try to call out to Jon to stop. It was quite the process, but worth it for the pictures.

By far the most beautiful bike ride I’ve ever done! Usually I ride a bike (my Peloton) that goes nowhere ha!

We biked over to Yosemite Falls and saw some of the biggest crowds in the park. Yosemite currently has a permit entry to prevent overcrowding of the park, so I’m guessing there are usually massive crowds here. We got our selfies and enjoyed the powerful waterfall.

We had to stand way back to get Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls. How gorgeous!! I’m so mesmerized by waterfalls.

After seeing the main sites in the Valley, Jon and I returned our bikes with quite a bit of daylight left. We decided to drive about an hour and a half to Mariposa Grove to see the famous giant sequoia trees. The drive featured so many hairpin turns, but Jon was the mvp for driving through all of it! I didn’t do much research on Mariposa Grove, so we were quite surprised we had to hike two miles to see the trees. After the stressful drive, we didn’t want it to be in vain, so we somewhat begrudgingly began our hike.

The hike was beautiful and quite peaceful, but we got to the Sequoia Grove and saw fences all around most of the trees. After speaking to some people, they told us we could walk another twenty or thirty minutes to see the most popular tree, but we weren’t mentally prepared for that. We took a few pictures of some of the trees and hiked back as fast as we could.

We endured more hairpin turns on our drive back to the Airbnb and then made a delicious dinner of salmon, sweet potato fries, and salad. Jon and I had an amazing and exhausting day exploring Yosemite Valley! We crashed hard that night and fell asleep with the anticipation of a beautiful hike the following morning. Stay tuned for part three!

19 thoughts on “Honeymooning in Yosemite – Exploring Yosemite Valley

  1. Great idea to rent bikes and see what you can in the area. Yes, I recall that hike into Mariposa and seeing bears as we travelled in both directions. On the way out, the bear turned to look at our group and it was a battle of the youngest and fittest not to become his victim, while some others simply moved closer for better photos. Great memories. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    1. That sounds pretty terrifying but makes for a great story!! I am relieved we didn’t see any bears, I would’ve frozen in panic. Thanks for reading!

    1. Thank you, Patti! I would love to see Yosemite covered in snow too, I can imagine how beautiful that would be.

    1. Thank you! Definitely needed a vacation, so I was happy we had Nantucket not too long after.

  2. At first I read, “We biked over Yosemite Falls” and I thought, “wow, you & Jon are REALLY adventurous!” (I need to read slower – ha.) Also, bad photos are impossible to take in Yosemite. Every one of these is a keeper. Finally, I was impressed to hear about your dinner menu after such an active day. Usually that kind of physical activity just begs for junk food 🙂

    1. Thanks for the laugh 😂 I can confirm we aren’t that adventurous! Thank you – I agree that it’s hard to take a bad picture there, Yosemite is the definition of picturesque. We were so excited to have a grill to cook on, so that’s why we didn’t opt for the frozen pizza 😂 it definitely was considered at the grocery store

  3. Beautiful views and perfect weather. Smart idea to rent bikes, your home training finally found its use. I did not see the large sequoia section either, because of the fire hazard during my visit. This is nature, not a game show.

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