For years, I’ve been planning on visiting Yosemite National Park. With an entire Pinterest board dedicated solely to the wonders of Yosemite, you can imagine how excited I was once we planned our first trip.
Fast forward a few months and finally, I saw the gorgeous waterfalls, green trees for miles, met friendly hikers, and enjoyed late night campfires… everything I dreamed about Yosemite was true.
While I thought I had everything perfectly mapped out upon arriving, plans changed and I had to quickly learn the packing essentials for hiking in Yosemite.
Here’s the 3 most crucial things I learned you should prepare beforehand for a great Yosemite hiking experience!
- Reserve your camp spots well ahead of time
Camp spots at Yosemite fill up quick, and while there are a few “first come first serve spots” most of these campgrounds have a line wrapping around the office by 6am. If you’re an early bird and enjoy mornings, this might not seem that bad. However, the truth is that even if you are in line by 6am, you’re not guaranteed a spot. From my experience, by 6:30am lines are usually in the double digits and park rangers accept 6-8 new people into the campground each day. This makes it pretty hard to guarantee a spot, when there are dozens of other people wanting the same thing. Reserving you camp spots weeks or even months ahead of time will ensure that you have a place to stay within the Yosemite. Plus, the further in advance you reserve the cheaper it is to secure your place!
*Note: If you are unable to reserve a spot beforehand there are some campgrounds outside of the park that operate on a first come first serve basis that you can try to camp at.
- Choose the trails according to your length of stay and fitness level
Yosemite is huge. This being the case, the place you decide to camp at will drastically affect which and how many trailheads you’ll be able to hike each day. If you have a specific trail in mind, be sure to find a camping spot close to that trail or else you might find yourself driving over an hour to get to the desired destination.
One of the most popular trails at Yosemite is the Mist Trail. The Mist Trail is a 7 mile round trip moderate level hiking trail, where you are greeted by gorgeous scenery, challenging climbs, and two beautiful waterfalls. The first waterfall on the trail, Vernal Falls, is Yosemite’s signature waterfall and is famous for the double rainbow which can be seen in the water daily.
- Pack the necessities!
Plenty of Water – Water and hydration are essentials for any hike. he elevation and amount of climbing throughout Mist Trail and Yosemite make packing extra water a crucial part of the hiking experience.
Energy Booster – Whether it’s an energy bar, your favorite protein shake, or chewables, making sure that you have enough energy to last the entire hike will make it a much more enjoyable experience. While there are areas to stop and rest, many of the hikes throughout Yosemite require a great deal of energy–one should really prepare for it ahead of time.
My energy booster of choice during my hike was SkinnyFit Teatox. The all natural blend of 13 superfood ingredients like matcha green tea and goji berries gave my body the vitamins and nutrients needed to keep my energy levels strong even on the toughest parts of the trail. It’s light and refreshing flavor also made it the perfect drink to fill my water bottle with and enjoy throughout the hike to stay hydrated.
Good hiking shoes – Good hiking shoes will definitely make a difference in Yosemite, especially when hiking Mist Trail! Mist Trail includes sections of climbing and stairs in which good traction is needed to hike safely. Many hikers also pack hiking poles, which they use on the way up to the waterfalls.
Food – If you plan on completing all 7 miles of Mist Trail, chances are you’ll be eating lunch with a beautiful view. Packing snacks and lunch to enjoy midway through your hike will prevent you from getting sluggish and fatigued. Some of the best refreshing and healthy snacks include; trail mix, granola bars, and dried fruit and veggies!
Sunscreen – No matter what time of year it is, when you’re exposed to direct sunlight, the sun rays can affect your body. Applying sunscreen beforehand and again halfway through your hike is a great way to make sure your skin is protected from the sun and will reduce the chances of burns and skin cancer!