Bianca: Yosemite National Park had been on my bucket list for many many years. Spanning over 747,956, you’ll spend the majority of your time in the 15km radius of Yosemite Valley despite it reflecting only 1% of the national park.
We started our trek to Yosemite from San Francisco, car rental via HERTZ was stress-free but a little time-consuming. Our first stop was a quick bite to eat at Hive the Place to Bee. A small coffee roaster/ cafe in Oakland. The menu is small, offering a range of salads and sandwiches. I went for the Breakfast Sandwich -w/ a fried egg, swiss cheese, tomato, lemon dill mayo on a challah bun $5.95 + Bacon $3. Pretty much everything you’d need to start the morning right. But here’s where things faltered a little, my Non-fat Cappucino $3.75 was virtually undrinkable, they roast their own coffee beans so that’s a bit of a concern…
Tenaya Lodge sits a few minutes drive from the Southern entrance of Yosemite National Park. Nestled across 75 acres, within the small town of Fish Camp. You do have a few options within and close to Yosemite but there are a few ‘heavy hitters’ that demand the higher prices and offer more of an ‘upmarket experience’. The hotel is gorgeous!!
We only spent 1 night at Tenaya and half a day in Yosemite Valley itself (nowhere near enough time). Just to explore the hotel and make good use of all the facilities you need a good 2 nights. Marketing manager Kala spent some time showing us the grounds, facilities and a few of the various rooms on offer.
From the charming lobby with its seasonal display, down to the rooms. Our King Room was the epitome of a rustic lodge with all the modern trimmings (including a modern bathroom). The warmer weather probably made it easier to get around but I really think Tenaya would come alive during the colder months, with fresh snow and a chill in the air.
Our time was limited but we tried our best to make use of the facilities. Mountain biking and a guided hike with the awesome Ethan! The gym is really well equipped so if that’s your jam I’d recommend stopping in before breakfast, topping it all off with either the indoor/outdoor pool/spa and the sauna or steam room.
Dinner was originally meant to be at Ember’s (fine dining) but after dinner the previous night at Gary Danko in SF I think we were both craving something a little simpler and more homely. Sierra restaurant sits between the more fine dining, Embers and the casual Jackalope. The Tuna Poke $17 was a great lighter option for a starter. Summery, with velvety soft tuna and accented perfectly by the crispy wonton chips. Jules went for the Angus Beef Short Ribs -w/a creamy white polenta & Dr Pepper miso jus $40, super tender and easily melting in the mouth. Of course, I was going to maximise my burger choices whilst I was in the states. The Local Grass Fed Burger -w/ a pretzel bun, white cheddar, tomato, bacon-onion jam, butter lettuce, truffle garlic aioli $24 was a tad on the bready side but the flavours were great and the beef patty was a perfect medium rare with a great outer char. A really tasty burger!
Spring for the Breakfast Buffet at Sierra restaurant, it’ll set you back $20 pp but includes a pretty comprehensive spread that kept us very happy and well fed. Over 3 weeks of travelling across the states, Mexico & Cuba this was one of our favourite buffets.
The sights on our guided hike with Ethan.
And with that, we bid adieu to Tenaya and continued on into the heart of Yosemite. Mariposa Grove, a sequoia grove boasting some of the largest sequoias and the 25th largest tree in the world. We were in a bit of a time crunch but it’s worth a stop in so I’d add it to the list.
It’s hard not to stop and marvel within Yosemite Valley, we made a few pits stops for some photo ops, it’s truly hard to take a bad picture here. It’s so picturesque!
Our long waddle was slightly disappointing once we reached our destination. Mirror Lake. Timing is everything so unfortunately, we didn’t get to see the ‘lake’ in all its glory. It’s still a beautiful clearing and the hike was easy.
All topped off with a Coffee at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel. Definitely, a must visit, the hotel and surrounds are stunning!
To truly appreciate Yosemite in all its splendour you need at least 2 nights, giving yourself ample time for some hikes and to travel around the park.
Just please don’t do what we did and leave Yosemite later than 4:30pm – 5pm. The drive is pretty harrowing… Dark and along some fairly narrow scary cliff faces!