Alcatraz-Golden Gate NRA

Last time Craig and I visited San Francisco, we did not have enough time to visit Alcatraz. I was really looking forward to it for our June 2015 trip. I booked our boat tickets 90 days ahead of time. The only way to get to Alcatraz is by a ferry operated by Alcatraz Cruises on Pier 33. Give yourself plenty of time to get there. The waterfront area is huge! The views of San Francisco on the boat and on the island are amazing. Our trip started out foggy, but then it turned sunny and the fog lifted. There is also a very popular night tour.

Alcatraz is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and has a few stamps for your National Parks passport. I love the lighthouse one!  

There is a garden tour you can do on certain days of the week if you get an early boat. You can also get a headset with a self guided tour. The narrators are former inmates and guards. The headsets are included in your entrance/boat fee. You can walk all over most of the island at your leisure and get a boat back when you feel like it. We even saw the cell from Escape From Alcatraz that had Frank Morris’s fake head in it. Before our trip we watched a few movies like The Rock and that made the visit even better.

The baby Seagulls we saw were very cute. Give yourself a few hours to see it all.

 

Book tickets and day trips to Alcatraz

The Mist Trail

One of the trails we hiked in Yosemite National Park was Vernal Fall by way of the Mist Trail. The hike started at the Happy Isles shuttle stop (#16.) If you are not staying in the Valley in Yosemite, you could park at the the trail head parking or Camp Curry. The first part of the trail is paved for about a mile. It is all uphill but the views are great! Around 0.8 of a mile you reach the Vernal Fall Footbridge. There are bathrooms here and water.  The day we hiked was very warm-over 90 so we took a lot of water with us. It is nice to be able to refill here.

To get to the top of Vernal Fall, you have to climb about 600 granite steps. When the falls are really going in the spring, they can be wet and slippery. We planned on going all the way to Nevada Fall, but Craig wore his sneakers and was slipping everywhere. There were puddles to climb through and many people on the trail to deal with. It is one of the most popular trails in Yosemite, but many people underestimate the elevation and have to be rescued. I wore my new Ahnu Montara Boots and they did great. I got the purple and I love them. They are light and waterproof and did not slip at all.

The views and hike are amazing. Just bring plenty of water and stop to enjoy the sights along the way!

 

We Are Back!

National Park stamps

So our California road trip was a success! We flew into San Francisco and stayed 3 nights. Then we drove to Yosemite and stayed there 5 nights. Next, we drove down to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks and stayed a night in each. Joshua Tree was next for 2 nights, followed by a night at Disneyland and 3 nights in San Diego with friends.

I got so many new Western Region National Park Passport stamps I had to use some of the back pages! Along with the larger National  Parks, we visited the Golden Gate NRA, Alcatraz and Cabrillo National Monument. I will be writing some future posts on all of them. The parks are truly amazing and I highly recommend seeing as many as you can in the great state of CA!