When I was visiting Yosemite NP the first time in September 2010 I was disappointed. It was hot and dry and all the waterfalls were practically non existent. This year we went there in early May. I expected a completely different look and I was right. The park looks much nicer in spring.
They waterfalls and creeks are powerful and everything looks fresh and green.
But it was extremely busy. Even more so than the last time. It was a weekend and there were thousands of people. No chance to get a hotel in the park. No chance to visit any spot and get the idea to be in nature. Cars, cars, cars and people, people, people where ever you go.
I started to ask myself what is so special about the place. Why so many people? Don’t get me wrong it is beautiful but if you have seen the Alps in Switzerland or Austria, the Krka waterfalls or the Plitvice lakes in Croatia you can’t understand why so many people are visiting the place.
But I think I know why. Most of California and most of the South West of the USA is desert. The desert that is really striking for us is common to them. In Central Europe we have the Alps and waterfalls, creeks and rivers. And because of the rain we have it all year round ( except in winter time when there is snow and ice ). Regarding Yosemite it means that what seems to be really striking for them is common to us.
So here is the travel top tip for people from Europe: If you are not a climber forget about Yosemite. There are other places to see that are much more spectacular and exotic than that and most important much less crowded.