Yosemite Falls and Ahwahnee Hotel

April Fools Day (April 1st) ~ Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls

I woke up this morning feeling surprisingly rested, invigorated, and ready to get out and do some exploring. After my initial apprehension of staying in a tent cabin with no bathroom, I found that it was really not a big deal. The shared bathrooms and showers were convenient, “relatively” clean, and we managed just fine.

In fact, we enjoyed ourselves and the setting so much we hustled to the office first thing this morning to see if there were any cancellations that would allow us to spend one more night here in the park.

Our morning view

Our morning view

The answer was YES, so we grabbed the opportunity and will stay put. And since there was nothing else in Yosemite Village available, we simply gave thanks that we could enjoy more time here.

Yay! One more night in a tent! 

In case you did not see the description and pictures of our tent cabin at Curry Village, you can check it out here.

Curious to see how “the other half” lived, we drove over to check out the Ahwahnee Hotel.

Ahwahnee Hotel up against the rocks

Ahwahnee Hotel up against the rocks

Ahwahnee Hotel

Ahwahnee Hotel

Royalty, movie stars, dignitaries, and the rich and famous have all stayed at the Ahwahnee. Costing $1.5 million to build, and opening with a grand gala in 1927, this “Premier Lodge” became the apex of accommodations within the park boundaries.

Hotel lobby

Hotel lobby

But this distinction comes with a price. Rooms start at $339 per night for the hotel cottages, which may or may not have a view. The classic hotel rooms also start at $339 and go up to $575/night for junior suites or $1071-$1149 for a suite.

My tiny tent cabin at $89 is looking better by the minute! (And YES, that is still a lot of money to spend to sleep in a tent!) Location, location, location!!!

During World War II, the artwork and fine furnishings were moved into storage and the hotel was turned into a Navy convalescent Hospital.

Map of Yosemite Falls area

Map of Yosemite Falls area

Our walk today was to explore the Yosemite Falls area. There are wonderful, paved walkways that cover a lot of the valley floor, making much of the valley friendly for walking, pushing a stroller, riding a bike, or even wheelchair accessible.

Yosemite Falls itself is the tallest waterfall in the United States and ranks 5th in the world. Consisting of three parts: Upper Falls, Middle Cascades, and Lower Falls, for a total height of 2,425 feet. Just FYI, the tallest is Salto Angel in Venezuela with a 3,212 foot drop.

You can see both the upper and lower falls from the meadow

You can see both the upper and lower falls from the meadow

Lower Falls

Lower Falls

We came across a plaque where John Muir once had a cabin. He spent two years here in 1869 as a lumberjack. It was during his time in Yosemite that he fell in love with the mountains and nature, leading him later in life to advocate for protection and preservation of our natural resources, even founding the Sierra Club. It was largely due to his efforts that Yosemite was officially set aside as a National Park in 1890.

It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984.

Commemorating where John Muir once had a cabin

Commemorating where John Muir once had a cabin

The park itself is almost 1200 square miles (roughly the size of the state of Rhode Island), but most of the 3.7 million visitors that come here every year spend the bulk of their time in the Village area which makes up only 7 square miles of the park. As you can see from those numbers, the vast majority of the park is sparsely populated.

Tree growing out of the side of a shear rock face

Tree growing out of the side of a shear rock face

If you have the time, see the major sites, and then try to visit some of the other areas of the park. A couple of years ago, when spending some time in the Mammoth Mountain area, we took a day drive and entered Yosemite NP from the east side at Tuolumne Meadows. You can check out my post from that day here.

Our weather could not have been more lovely. Cold at night, but warming up to be short sleeve weather during the daytime. A few mountain wildflowers were starting to pop open. The Mountain Dogwood were beginning to bloom.

Mountain Dogwood bloom

Mountain Dogwood bloom

I could not help but once again gaze longingly up at Half Dome.

Late afternoon glow on Half Dome

Late afternoon glow on Half Dome

Back in 1972, I visited Yosemite for the first time and much to my credit, I climbed to the top. Yep, back then I had the legs and stamina to make that trek. To this day I remember the thrill, sense of accomplishment, the view, and the fact that I could not walk for the next three days afterwards.

It is a 14-16 mile round trip trek, with an elevation gain of 4800 feet. On average it takes 10-12 hours, some take much longer. If you have the stamina, it is a memory you will not soon forget. Click here for information on permits, preparation and safety tips.

Gratitude Moment: Today I am grateful for not letting the opportunity to hike to the top of Half Dome slip past me when I was still fit enough and able to do so. I am thankful that I am still healthy enough to travel to my heart’s content, even if I am no longer scaling mountains…

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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18 Responses to Yosemite Falls and Ahwahnee Hotel

  1. myworldinca says:

    Amazing views!

    Like

  2. Jerry Cave says:

    Looks and sounds like guys are really having a good time, very envious!!!

    Like

  3. Your photos are spectacular. I’ve always wanted to visit Yosemite and stay at the Ahwahnee since the 1970s. Maybe I can talk my husband into a trip after showing him your photos.
    Shine On

    Like

  4. Oh so beautiful! The photo of the dogwood pulls at my heartstrings… I associate it so much with Oregon. I think a tent cabin sounds like a very nice place to spend the night in those surroundings. Possibly even nicer than a very posh hotel, which seems so out of place there! It’s always been interesting to me that John Muir – so well known to me as an American – is not really known to many here in his native Scotland. I think there are some folks pushing for him to get more recognition here, which he certainly does deserve.

    Like

    • Christine, I too loved the Dogwood. It was just starting to bloom, but the flowers added so much atmosphere. After my initial trepidation, I not only liked the tent cabin, I enjoyed it! I did not realize that John Muir was from Scotland until a few days ago when I did a little research on him. I hope he gets more recognition in his former homeland.

      Like

  5. Wonderful post about a beautiful place.

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  6. My favorite National Park…..well done

    Like

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