Is Yosemite Overrated?

Rock climbers have recently free climbed the Don Wall of El Capitan which is an extremely impressive and exciting feat. I followed the news reports cheering these young climbers on as if they were personal friends.  Their successful feat brought Yosemite into the national news again for something other than wildfires and hantavirus. Furthermore, water is once again flowing in drought-stricken California, at least for the moment, which makes Yosemite Falls full of life again.

Sigh.  Gulp.  Is Yosemite overrated? It pains me to even say those words. As a proud Californian I have always considered Yosemite a “Wonder of the World” or at a minimum a “Wonder of the United States.”  It boasts some of the most glorious and spectacular sites anywhere.  Many of its highlights, such as El Capitan, are immediately recognizable to anyone in the world.  I have always considered myself lucky to live within driving distance of this amazing park.

But, all of this got me thinking? Do I even want to go anymore? Or do I want to visit somewhere quieter and more peaceful?  What about Hetch Hetchy where practically no one goes?  Why is it I don’t want to go there? I only live a few hours away from heaven on earth. Yet the burden of getting into the park through traffic and the crowds of hikers takes so much away from the peacefulness and serenity of the park. I hesitate to go in high season only considering it if out of town travelers are visiting and have never been or it is the dead of winter and the crowds are at a minimum. This makes me sad. Visiting Yosemite shouldn’t be like visiting Disneyland. But this is the reality today. Is it still worth it? Tell me your thoughts?




iPhone Photos June 2015 002 (39)

7 thoughts on “Is Yosemite Overrated?

  1. It’s not overrated, just overcrowded. Like so many places, the visual beauty in the background is lost by the hordes in the foreground. A couple of years ago I took a swift-water rescue class there in April and was surprised by the crowds; they laughed at me saying that it was nothing compared to summer. While it was incredible to be swimming below those majestic peaks, I couldn’t imagine being there with any more people. There comes a point where the visual beauty is not worth the price compared to the fun that can be had elsewhere. We prefer the national forests where we can camp and hike with the dogs rather than national and state parks where we fight the rules and crowds.

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  2. I have only been there once, and it sort of blew my mind because I was not expecting the hoardes of people. One of my favourite artists is the late Stephen Lyman, who painted magnificent vistas of the wild, natural park and I fantasized about going there until in my 30s I moved to California and was able to visit. boy howdy it was craziness! But I would go again.

    I would reserve one of those “primitive” campsites, which are really not primitive, but require a short hike to get to them and therefore weed out many of the lemming– I mean tourists. I would plan long hikes because as you have seen, the swarms of locus– I mean people, tend to stay right around the buildings and main camp and shopping and eating areas right in the bottom of the valley. In my opinion, the park is famous for good reason, and it truly is worth visiting.

    Liked by 1 person

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