Hotel At a Glance: Yosemite Gold Country Lodge
Yosemite Gold Country Lodge looks deceiving. On the outside, the inn looks like a rustic forest retreat, with a timbered front porch studded with wooden benches. But inside, you realize the lodge has been fully renovated, top to bottom, for a cushy, modern stay in the great California outdoors. Less than half an hour from Yosemite National Park, this lodge is also near Lake McClure and Sonora, an historic town with boutiques and restaurants along its main street.
- 25 minutes to Yosemite: The famous national park is just a quick drive from the inn
- Nearby attractions: within a 30-minute drive include Lake McClure and Historic Jamestown and Sonora
- Updated rooms: These revamped guest rooms feature refrigerators, electric heater fireplaces, and flat-screen TVs.
- Park the boat or RV and bring the dog—this property is a relaxed home base for family vacations (a pet can be added for $20 per night)
Yosemite National Park, California: Waterfalls, Giant Sequoia Trees, and Half Dome
Yosemite National Park is a place of superlatives. The massive swath of wilderness in central California is home to 3 of the world’s 10 tallest waterfalls, the largest piece of exposed granite in the world (known as Half Dome), and a grove of ancient sequoia trees that are among the largest living beings on the planet. The park is also one of the country’s most popular natural destinations: nearly four million visitors pass through each year.
Spring and early summer are the best times to see the waterfalls, thanks to the snowmelt brought on by warmer weather. Yosemite Falls—a three-tiered cascade considered the highest in North America—transforms into thundering cataracts each spring. Serious hikers can trek to the top on a strenuous hiking trail, which gains 2,700 feet in elevation in just 3.5 miles.
Though much of the park is covered in snow through May, a springtime visit has its rewards. Mirror Lake dries up and becomes a meadow in the summer, but in spring you can take a 5-mile loop around a body of water reflecting one of the park’s most iconic geologic formations—the granite Half Dome.