48 hours in Yosemite

Our time in Yosemite felt like a whistlestop tour, and whilst we didn’t spend anywhere near enough time here to do it justice, we experienced some amazing views that made us want to come back for more.

We travelled here in mid October, and the colours were stunning. I can image they would be even more vibrant by the end of the month.


  • If you’re short on time, choose one of two areas to explore – we chose Glacier point and El Capitan Meadow
  • Make sure to catch a sunrise and sunset
  • Don’t miss stargazing if you get a clear night
  • Nearby BLM campgrounds are great for last minute adventures – read more about Dispersed camping near Yosemite.

Day 1 – Sunset at Glacier Point

Drive into Yosemite Valley, pick up your maps and head to The Loft at Degnan’s to grab a coffee, connect to the wifi and plan where you’ll spend the day. Wifi here was fairly good, and we came back here a few times when we needed the internet.

As we’re not early birds, we arrived late afternoon so our plan was to decide where we wanted to watch the sunset. Glacier point sounded like a great idea. It’s about an hour’s drive from Yosemite Village so make sure you give yourself enough time.

If you arrive earlier than we did then there are a few points along Glacier Road to stop at on the way, and a few hikes as well. The Sentinal Dome Trailhead hike starts here, and a number of other hikes start at Glacier point.

Top Tip | Washburn Point provides great views and was a lot less busy than Glacier point.

Glacier Point provided an excellent place for watching the sun go down. If it’s a clear night it’s also an amazing place for stargazing. If I was here again, I’d fill up a thermos with hot chocolate at The Loft to bring along.

Where to stay

As with all National Parks we visited, you need to reserve months ahead to get a spot in the campsites. Or you can rock up early to try to get a first come first served space. Neither of these appealed to us, so we got a tip from a ranger about the nearby free dispersed camping just outside the park.

We stayed at a site called Goat Meadow Snow Play Mountain which is not too far from the south entrance. Like most national forest sites it’s fairly basic without any water or restrooms and was mostly inhabited by RVs and vans.

Day 2 – Sunrise at Glacier Point

We headed to Glacier again for sunrise – since it faces East we figured it would be a good spot. We weren’t disappointed. And the nearby amphitheatre makes a great place to eat breakfast before it gets busy.

We spent the rest of the day back in the valley exploring the meadows around El Capitan.

El Capitan meadow

Top tip | The El Capitan meadows are stunning in the afternoon light. Grab a picnic and watch the climbers ascend the famous rock face.

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