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  • Writer's pictureMr and Mrs Jones

How to Spend 24 Hours in Yosemite

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

*Photo taken at Tunnel View Lookout in Yosemite National Park.*


Only have 1 day to spend in Yosemite National Park? So did we! We created a travel guide for how to experience Yosemite in just 24 hours so that you don’t have to devote time to researching and planning an itinerary when you’re already operating on a short time frame.

Table of Contents:

1. When to Visit Yosemite

2. Where to Stay

3. Watch the Sunrise at Tunnel Viewpoint

4. Explore the Meadow Trail

5. Mist Trail

6. Visit the Gift Shops

7. Explore Other Hikes

When to Visit Yosemite:

Yosemite experiences almost 75% of their visitors between May through October, as these months provide the best weather. However, this leaves the park wonderfully crowd-free and quiet from November to April. We visited at the end of May before the summer crowds started rolling in and made sure to get to the park early to catch the sunrise, but also to beat the majority of visitors prior to getting on the trails.

Where to Stay:

There are several beautiful lodging areas inside or near the park such as: Yosemite Valley Lodge, Evergreen Lodge, or Tenaya Lodge. Because our visit to Yosemite was such a spur of the moment trip, we ended up just booking an AirBnB in Oakhurst, Ca. Which was about a 25 minute drive from the South entrance to the park. The lodging is much more affordable in either Oakhurst or Fishcamp while still being in close proximity to a park entrance.

Watch the Sunrise at Tunnel Viewpoint:

Get your morning started by watching the sunrise in Yosemite - it is spectacular, and that is coming from someone who is not a morning person in the slightest. We originally planned to watch it from Glacier Point since the sun rises directly behind Half Dome causing it to look like a lit lantern before the sun fully emerges into the sky. Unfortunately, Glacier Road was closed for the 2022 season so instead we settled on watching from the Tunnel Viewpoint, and “settle” we did not. The view was gorgeous and extremely picturesque, it hardly looked real. Parking is right off the viewpoint, and as long as your get there before sunrise you shouldn’t have too much difficulty locating a spot. We had packed a breakfast (overnight oats are my favorite combo with early mornings) and sat on the edge of the wall soaking up the sun rays as they poured in behind the mountains.

Explore the Meadow Trail:

Along the valley floor lies an easy walking trail which totals one mile at the conclusion of the loop. The boardwalk shot below is one of the most instagrammable spots in Yosemite and is well worth the stop. In addition to the photos you can take, peering up from the valley floor to the top of these giant, surrounding rock formations will literally unbalance you. This trail is great for families with kiddos and offers views of the riverside with accessibility to walk down to the edge of the water.

Mist Trail to Nevada Falls:

The mist trail is approximately 3 miles round trip, but if your heart yearns for more you can continue to Nevada Falls (6 miles round trip) which we highly recommend if you are experienced with intermediate trail. The views were absolutely breathtaking. Be sure to head up towards the falls first and then loop down the side of the mountain, rather than going down the steep, wet rocks, which can be slippery and where the majority of accidents happen. On this trail you will get wet, make sure to dress accordingly! Don’t forget to bring bug spray, sunscreen, snacks and lots of water! At the top of Nevada Falls, we hung our hammock between two trees at the tip of the mountain side that provided us with a view of the trail we had just completed. This a great place to stop and have lunch or at least eat a snack before heading down. If you are up for even more adventure, you can start the climb up Half Dome! It only adds 3 more miles to your hike and what an accomplishment!

*A little scrapbook of our adventures throughout the Nevada Falls Trail!*

Visit the Gift Shops:

Stopping at the gift shop to grab a few mementos is necessary when you’re visiting this 132 year old National Park! Hunter and I started collecting stickers and posters from the National Parks that we visit and we are gathering up quite the collection. The gift shops at Yosemite are cute and full of kind staff. You can also grab a bite to eat at several of their neighboring restaurants!

Shorter Hikes to Explore:

If you have some extra time or prefer to stay clear of longer hikes then here are some easy, and beautiful hikes to fill your time that will take you to stunning views without an extensive trail:

Lower Yosemite Falls (0.5 miles)

Happy Isles (0.5 miles)

Turtleback Dome (1.2 miles)

Bridalveil Falls (1.2 miles)

Artists Point (2 miles)

Sentinel / Cook's Meadow Loop Boardwalks (2.25 miles)

Mirror Lake (2.4 miles)

Mist Trail (3-miles round trip)


The image below was captured at the top of Nevada falls, sitting directly next to the rushing top of the waterfall, overlooking the valley and the over 2,000ft in elevation that we just hiked up! Name a better place to hang a hammock... I'll wait!

If you're interested in visiting Yosemite, let this mini vlog of our 24 hours in Yosemite be your inspiration!! Yosemite is one of our favorite National Parks to date because of the variety of views and outdoor activities that you get to experience throughout the park, and visitors have the ability to experience it all within a day! Don’t forget to share your posts from your Yosemite trip with the #letskepupwiththejoneses so we can see and share your pictures!

Travel Soon!

Mr and Mrs Jones


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