The past three years me, Peter, my brother Michael and his wife Ani have gone on a hiking trip. With each trip we have been so happy with the itinerary it's worth sharing.
Something that I find to be important when we go on these trips is that there is quite a bit of planning that goes into it.
We have been going each summer and usually get together around January to book flights, a car and air bnb's. We usually already have a place picked out that we decided on the previous trip. (yes, we already have an idea of where we will go next year)
We usually air bnb hop because we don't stay at one park. So we have an idea of what parks or locations we'll be going to.
We book most things then and then get together 1-2 more times to discuss our itinerary. From grocery shopping runs to times of departure. Everything is mapped out before we get on the flight. This way we have a plan and can do and see all that we want. Of course there is room to move things around. Which we did. But having a structure is beneficial.
Also, knowing exactly what hikes we are going to do allows us to get passes or permits or if we need specific attire for a certain hike. For example half dome in Yosemite requires a permit and gloves to climb the cables at the end. So you have to know those things ahead of time.
This year we went back to California to hike in Yosemite and lake Tahoe. We were in California last year and knew we wanted to come back to hike at these places. So I thought it best to walk you through or day by day itinerary because it was 10/10. I'll also give my opinion on what you could change.
Day 1 we arrived in San Fran. Our first stop was the Golden Gate. There we hiked Slacker Hill Trail. We took some detours to get closer to the bridge. I wouldn't have named this trail "slacker hill". I found it more challenging but we've come to find out every hike we did this trip had tremendous incline. So comparing it to that I guess it was easier. We got lunch and then hit the Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park. I can't say I'd recommend that one. 😅 Not too scenic and after being up since 4am we were done hiking. We then Drove to Yosemite stopping at Walmart on the way. There we picked up bread, peanut butter, jelly, eggs, shredded cheese, Tortillas, salsa, trail mix, mayo, canned chicken, protein bars, Apples, white cheddar Popcorn , Gatorade, Small coffee container, Creamer packets, Beef jerky, Water, Lemons and Sour patch kids. We picked up some salad and pizza from Walmart as well to make for dinner that night. Then we went to our air bnb on Henness Circle in Yosemite National Park. Staying in the park was a game changer. Previous trips we stayed outside the parks and drives to the trail heads averaged about an hour. Where as this trip they were about 30 mins max.
Day 2 we hiked half dome. This hike was the hardest hike I have ever done in my life. Pretty sure the hardest thing that I've ever done in my life. It was also quite terrifying because We climbed up the top of the mountain holding on to cables for dear life. This is when we needed a permit and gloves. Also, to be able to use the cables you need to apply for a permit months prior. We didn't get the permit at first but the Friday before our trip applied again and got it! The day we went it happened that there was no one checking permits.🙄 But it is expected that normally there is someone there checking. This hike was 18 miles. There are shortened options but we didn't do that. It was inclined the entire way up.....the entire way. But worth the views at the top. I would say even if you don't get the permit it is still worth the trek. Definitely bring a lot of water and start early in the day. We started at about 5:50am and didn't have any sun on us the entire way up which was lovely.
Day 3 we bopped around a bit in Yosemite. We did Union point trail (the four mile length) and lower Yosemite falls. Union point was also a ton of incline which didn't feel awesome on the already sore legs but the view was beautiful. Lower Yosemite falls was light and refreshing. A lot of families and kids on this one. There were a lot or rivers along the roads while driving through Yosemite. So we stopped at one, had lunch and swam. We ended the day grabbing dinner and also stopping at a view point later on for sunset.
Day 4 we headed to lake Tahoe. We were up at 4:30 am to start our drive to lake Tahoe. We were up around 5am every day to get our hikes started early before the heat of the day. We hiked Emerald point trail. Again with some more incline but the lake at the top made it all worth it. There were a lot of kids and families on this hike as well. Then we hiked eagle lake trail down to a part of lake Tahoe and sat on the beach for lunch. It was beautiful. Our air bnb we stayed at was on Saddle Road in South Lake Tahoe. It had all the amenities. So before dinner we went in the pool, hot tub and steam room. It was a perfect way to refresh ourselves after over 30 miles of hiking. We then rented limes to scoot around the town and grab dinner and then dessert from Baked bear. You got to build your own ice cream sandwich. Can't go wrong with that.
Day 5 we headed home. We went out to breakfast and then grabbed coffee and made our way back to the airport. We had said if we could do it all over again we would have liked to fly home later and had more time in lake Tahoe that morning. Renting paddle boards or kayaks would have been a lot of fun. So if you go definitely block out time for that.
Lake Tahoe I would revisit and recommend to anyone. There was so much you could do in the town and it wasn't only hiking or water sports. You could do both and scoot from one thing to the next.
Yosemite is not for the weak in heart. Yes, there were a lot of families there but the places to eat were limited and outside of hiking there wasn't a ton of activities. But, for hikers like myself it was sick. To stay in the park was also a huge perk. Not much wifi but nothing wrong with that.😜
All in all it was an exhausting, perfect trip. ❤️