Yosemite National Park, Avenue of the Giants and San Francisco – Student Experience of Juergen H. – Semester Abroad USA

The Yosemite National Park offers a lot of hiking trails for beginners as well as for good hikers. Especially for beginners, there are really short hikes in Yosemite Valley, leading to fascinating waterfalls. Some are even less than 20 minutes and the trail is very easy to go.

Yosemite waterfall

If you are an experienced mountain climber, you definitely will find suitable trails. Also Yosemite’s wildlife is fascinating and if you are lucky, you spot a couple of animals during your trip. I saw a lot of deer, squirrels, falcons and also one coyote and one lynx (the California wildcat).

Yosemite Lynx

Unfortunately I didn´t saw a bear, but maybe you will have more luck. A park ranger told me, the best chance to see a bear is by driving slowly through the park and watching out for a bear, crossing the road. Actually you always have to drive slowly through the park, because of the deer, which are often on the street. The entrance is $20 for one week per car.

Avenue of the Giants

The Avenue of Giants is 31-mile long and a part of the old Highway 101. This avenue offers a lot of the amazing giant trees (Sequoias) of the redwood, which are the biggest trees in the world. The record is a circumference near the ground of 31.1 meter (102.6 ft). Its age is estimated up to 2500 years. These trees are really impressive and worth to visit. There are nice places to picnic and to hike.

With the Peer 39, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, China Town and the Cable Cars, San Francisco can offer fun for everyone. To ride a traditional cable car is a ride into the past. There are bells ringing, while the cable car moves slowly up and down the hills of a part of San Francisco. After the ride you can visit one of the biggest Chinatowns outside of China. There are plenty of people on the streets and you can eat delicious Chinese food. I also visited the markets and a Chinese tea store.Silvester in SAn Francisco

For me the best attraction of San Francisco is Alcatraz. With a ferry you get to the island, where you walk up to the former prison. There are audio tours available in a few languages, including German. The tour is very interesting, especially because former prisoners and prison guards tell their own experiences of Alcatraz and also is about the escape of three prisoners. The tour takes you to the cell blocks, the kitchen, the commando room and a few other rooms. You have to plan your trip to Alcatraz in advance, because the tickets are mostly already sold out some weeks. If you forget to do a reservation for your ticket or if you are travelling spontaneously, there is the opportunity to book a bus tour, which includes a ticket for Alcatraz.

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