How to Spend 4 Days in Yosemite

Why visit Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is a breathtaking destination that offers stunning natural beauty and a wide range of outdoor activities. Here are a few reasons why you should consider visiting Yosemite:

  1. Spectacular landscapes: Yosemite is known for its iconic granite cliffs, towering waterfalls, and lush meadows. The park’s diverse landscapes provide a picturesque backdrop for hiking, camping, and photography.
  2. Outdoor activities: Whether you enjoy hiking, rock climbing, fishing, or wildlife spotting, Yosemite has something for everyone. With over 750 miles of trails, you can explore the park’s natural wonders at your own pace.
  3. Wildlife viewing: Yosemite is home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, deer, foxes, and rare bird species. Keep your camera ready for some unforgettable encounters with nature.
  4. Rich history and culture: Yosemite has a rich Native American history and was later discovered by European settlers. Learn about the park’s cultural heritage by visiting historic landmarks, and museums, and attending ranger-led programs.

Planning Tips

To make the most of your trip to Yosemite National Park, here are some important planning tips to keep in mind:

  1. Research and plan in advance: Yosemite is a popular destination, especially during the summer months. To secure a camping spot or lodge reservation, make your plans well in advance. Research the park’s attractions and decide which ones you want to visit.
  2. Check for park alerts and road conditions: Before heading to Yosemite, check the park’s website for any alerts or road closures. This will help you plan your itinerary accordingly and avoid any potential inconveniences.
  3. Pack appropriately: Yosemite is known for its changing weather conditions, so pack layers of clothing to accommodate temperature variations throughout the day. Don’t forget essentials such as sunscreen, insect repellent, comfortable footwear, and a reusable water bottle.
  4. Take advantage of shuttle services: Yosemite offers free shuttle services within the park during peak season. Utilizing these shuttles can help you save time and reduce traffic congestion, allowing you to explore more efficiently.
  5. Follow park rules and guidelines: Yosemite National Park has specific rules and guidelines to protect its natural resources and ensure visitor safety. Familiarize yourself with these regulations and practice Leave No Trace principles during your visit.

By following these tips, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable four-day trip to Yosemite National Park. Stay tuned for the upcoming sections, where we will provide a detailed itinerary and highlight must-see attractions within the park.

Day 1: Arrival and Exploring Yosemite Valley

On your first day in Yosemite, start by visiting the iconic Tunnel View for breathtaking panoramic views of the valley. Then, embark on the Yosemite Falls Hike, a moderate trail that takes you to the base of the tallest waterfall in North America. After a day of exploration, unwind and enjoy dinner at Yosemite Lodge, where you can relax and soak in the natural beauty around you.

Day 2: Vernal Falls and Yosemite Village

On the second day of your 4-day trip to Yosemite, you can embark on a thrilling hike to Vernal Falls and explore the charming Yosemite Village. Here’s a breakdown of the activities for the day:

Hiking the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls:

Start your day with an exhilarating hike on the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls. This popular trail offers stunning views of the waterfall as you ascend a steep granite stairway of over 600 steps. Prepare for slippery conditions, but the breathtaking scenery and roaring waterfalls make it worth the effort.

Lunch at Degnan’s Deli and Loft:

After your hike, head to Degnan’s Deli and Loft in Yosemite Village for a delicious lunch. This casual eatery offers a variety of sandwiches, salads, and more. Grab a quick bite to refuel before continuing your exploration.

Exploring Yosemite Village and visitor center:

Take some time to wander through Yosemite Village and visit the visitor center. Learn more about the park’s history, geology, and wildlife through interactive exhibits and displays. You can also browse through the gift shops and art galleries to find unique souvenirs.

This day will be filled with awe-inspiring natural beauty and opportunities to immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Yosemite National Park. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes for the hike and bring water and snacks to keep you energized throughout the day.

Day 3: Rafting and Mirror Lake

On day three of your Yosemite itinerary, there are two activities that you won’t want to miss: rafting down the Merced River and relaxing at Mirror Lake. Here’s what you can expect:

Rafting down the Merced River

One of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of Yosemite is by rafting down the scenic Merced River. You can rent a raft from various shops in the park and embark on a leisurely journey along the river. This activity is popular during the summer months when the weather is warm and the river conditions are ideal. It’s a refreshing and fun experience that allows you to take in stunning natural surroundings.

Relaxing at Mirror Lake

After your rafting adventure, head over to Mirror Lake for some relaxation. This serene lake offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the park. Take a leisurely stroll along the paved trail that surrounds the lake, or find a quiet spot to sit and take in the breathtaking reflections of the surrounding mountains in the still water. It’s the perfect place to unwind and connect with nature.

Dinner and drinks at Curry Village Pizza Patio

To end your day on a delicious note, head to Curry Village Pizza Patio for dinner and drinks. This casual spot offers a variety of mouthwatering pizzas and refreshing beverages. Enjoy your meal in the outdoor patio area, surrounded by the natural beauty of Yosemite. It’s a great way to relax and reflect on the adventures of your day.

With rafting on the Merced River and tranquil moments at Mirror Lake, day three of your Yosemite itinerary promises to be a memorable experience.

Day 4: Glacier Point and Stargazing


On the final day of your 4-day Yosemite adventure, a visit to Glacier Point is a must. You have the option to either take the shuttle or embark on a scenic hike to reach Glacier Point, known for its stunning views of the valley.

After enjoying the breathtaking vistas, head to the Mountain Room Lounge for a delicious lunch. This casual spot offers a mountain-climber theme and is perfect for refueling before your next activity.

For dinner, make your way to the Curry Village Pavilion. Here, you can enjoy hand-tossed pizza, fresh salads, and cold drinks while surrounded by great views of Glacier Point and Royal Arches.

As night falls, head to Curry Meadow for some stargazing. Yosemite National Park miles away from the nearest city, providing an ideal environment for observing the night sky. Take in the beauty of the stars and have a peaceful moment before concluding your 4-day Yosemite adventure.

Remember to bring warm clothing and a telescope or binoculars for the best stargazing experience.

That wraps up your unforgettable 4-day journey through Yosemite National Park. Take the time to reflect on the natural wonders you’ve encountered and the memories you’ve made. Yosemite is truly a gem that should be cherished and preserved for generations to come.

Enjoy your last evening in Yosemite, and safe travels home!

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