Out of Office: Katrina Hikes and Camps in Yosemite

May 6, 2015 by

North America, Places to Go

Viator’s team of travel insiders is obsessed with finding the best things to do everywhere we travel. From traditional tours to once-in-a-lifetime experiences, everywhere from Australia to Zimbabwe, we spend our time scouring the globe for the best tours and activities around the world.

Whether traveling for work or pleasure (or both!) our staff members are always on the go and we want to share their experiences with you! In this new series, Out of Office, we’ll bring you their stories, highlighting the best things to do and see in destinations around the world, as experienced by a real Viator Insider.

Katrina and her boyfriend at Yosemite

Katrina and her boyfriend at Yosemite

The Traveler: Katrina Sohriakoff, Destination Marketing Manager

What’s your role at Viator? I manage the site merchandising and marketing for the US and Canada

The trip: Yosemite National Park for four days in February, 2015

Why did you choose this destination? What appealed to you about the place?

My mom had gotten a deal on a three-night stay at a yurt just outside of the park entrance but didn’t have a chance to use it before it was to expire in March so she gifted it to me and my boyfriend to use. Who says no to a free trip?!I also hadn’t been to Yosemite since I was a wee child so I was overdue for a visit.

What did you do on the trip?

The yurt itself was awesome so we spent some time just hanging out there. It came equipped with everything you would have in a one bedroom apartment plus a little deck with a grill and fire pit with picnic table. It was set up right next to the river, which created a great atmosphere to enjoy a glass of wine and just relax.

The inside of the yurt

The inside of the yurt

On our first full day there, we got up early to travel into the park. It was Presidents’ Day Weekend so the entry was free! And since it was late February the park was emptier than in the peak summer months, so it was nice to take our time driving through and finding a good parking spot near the trailhead.

Nevada Fall summit

Nevada Fall summit

My boyfriend, Aaron, and I are avid hikers but had gotten out of shape during the winter so we were both excited and nervous to tackle one of the more strenuous hikes in Yosemite. We decided on the Vernal and Nevada Falls trek, which includes three very steep inclines alongside the falls—hence the name “Mist Trail.” I suggest hiking that trail up and connecting to the Muir Trail once you get to the top of Nevada Fall for a smoother decent with lots of photo ops of the waterfall as you wind your way down.

What was the best experience?

The climb

The climb

Nothing beats getting to the summit after a strenuous hike up. Packing a “victory snack” is a must to celebrate as well as taking a lot of photos to prove back to people at home that, yes – you climbed that thing.

What surprised you the most about the destination?

Since it was February, we were in luck that the falls were gushing and not frozen over. I was surprised to see not a speck of snow anywhere in the park—a warm winter with little snowfall had Yosemite looking like I’d imagine it does in early April. I must say I was a bit disappointed to not get a chance to snowshoe through the park but our hike was tough enough that I’m grateful I could get through it with just my trusty hiking boots.

What sight, activity, or experience would you tell people they should not skip?

Hetch Hetchy

Hetch Hetchy

While Yosemite Valley is breathtaking, think about spending an afternoon exploring Hetch Hetchy just outside the west entrance to Yosemite Valley. It’s free to get in and full of trails around the huge dam and reservoir that provides all of San Francisco’s tap water. Being a resident of San Francisco, I was curious to see the source of our notoriously pure and delicious drinking water. It’s a beautiful place!

What’s the best Insider Tip you can offer future visitors to this destination?

Nevada Fall

Nevada Fall

Take advantage of deals at accommodations near the park in low and shoulder season. Also consider staying in a yurt—it offers the comforts of a cabin with the rustic feel of a tent.

Where are you off to next?

We’re off to Santa Cruz next to visit with my family and attend a 60th birthday party. I love living so close to where I grew up and always having a place to crash in a popular tourist destination.

>> Book a Yosemite day trip from San Francisco!

 

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