To preserve a paradise on earth, stretching for tens of thousands of kilometers – this is Yosemite, one of the oldest reserves in the United States, established since the time of Abraham Lincoln. A destination visited by over 3 million tourists a year, it is an inspiration for artists, climbers and nature lovers. The extraordinary richness of flora and fauna, the unique formations made by Mother Nature, leave visitors breathless with admiration. It is no coincidence that the name Yosemite is cultivated by anyone who has touched its magic, whether by climbing, walking, camping, or just contemplating the natural beauty. And there is hardly a limited number of places to visit and things to do in Yosemite Park, but we have selected the following that you should not miss:
1. Yosemite Falls
Yosemite Falls is one of the most characteristic attractions in the Yosemite Valley. They roll over a granite wall and hit the rocks, revealing to you a wonderful, attractive view that delights your eyes as you drive through the valley. Waterfalls rise above the tops of trees and around corners that look different from each corner. You can find the fullest view at the beginning of the Yosemite trek, along a route on the left side of the river, and you can even get to the very base of the waterfall without difficulty and feel the fog above you. After this memorable experience, you can have a picnic at Swing Bridge.
2. Half Dome
Among Yosemite’s most iconic sites is the Half Dome, best known for climbing enthusiasts. Its name comes from the dome shape, which is obvious. The grand granite wall looks different depending on the angle from which you observe it, and when you look up at the vertical rock wall, you can get a clear idea of its impressive scale. You can also see the Half Dome in the distance from Tunnel View, and the best place to see is from Glacier Point, because from this place you will see how the heap actually rises above the valley and how its size relates to the surrounding mountains. Take a hike on Mirror Lake to enjoy the views up close.
3. El Capitan
El Capitan is a legend among climbers and is a 3,000-foot sheer cliff in the northern Yosemite Valley. His fame grew thanks to Alex Honold’s nearly four-hour climb in June 2017, which inspired the creators of the Oscar-winning film Free Solo. This is the first person to climb El Capitan without ropes, in fact without any aids. completely without help. Get a perfect view of El Capitan from Tunnel View and you’ll see it stand out much higher than anything else around it. You can also see the wall while driving through the valley, or take a picture of it from El Capitan Meadow near North Drive, and to stay as close to the wall as possible and even touch it, park on the right side of the same road, but beyond the picnic area.
4. Tunnel View
Tunnel View is an important element in the Yosemite Valley because the view there covers El Capitan on the left, Bridalveil Fall on the right, Half Dome, and the nice valley at the base of the formidable granite walls. Whatever time you watch it, the view is worth it, but it is best to see it in the afternoon, because that’s when the walls are bathed in sunlight. Parking is beyond the tunnel, at the entrance to the Yosemite Valley from Wawona Road, and if you are heading to Glacier Point, you will pass the Tunnel View just before entering the tunnel.
Worldwide, Yosemite remains the most famous rock climbing destination in the United States. Many climbers come here to mark the peak of their careers, especially trying their hand at Half Dome and El Capitan. Names like Royal Robbins, Alex Honnold, Warren Harding, Jim Breedwell have climbed here. Another important place is Camp 4, where climbers have been pitching their tents since the 1950s. by Alex Honold in the summer of 2017.
There is always what to do in Yosemite Park, in case you are not a fan of steep climbs, but just love to cross the best hiking trails. The park has a full range of hikes – both light and heavy, some with wheelchair access. You have the unique opportunity to see beautiful waterfalls, alpine lakes, meadows, and dizzying heights. Among the most famous hikes in Yosemite Park are the following: climb to the Half Dome, a long daily hike of 4,800 feet above sea level, a hike to the Mirror Lakes, a hike to the Vernal Fall pedestrian bridge and it, to the Mist Trail; as well as the appropriate summer season hikes along the Sentinel Dome and Taft Point on Glacier Road.
7. Glacier Point
Glacier Point is an object at an altitude of over 7200 feet. It provides you with exceptional views of the entire Yosemite Valley, as well as many other sites beyond. It is considered to be one of the most amazing sights in Yosemite National Park and you just should not miss it once you get here. There is another stunning view nearby – Washburn Point, which gives you a view of Vernal Fall.
8. Bridalveil Fall
Bridalveil Falls is a charm that is one of the must-see attractions in Yosemite National Park. It is located on the southern side of the valley and an easy pedestrian crossing leads to the waterfall, and to its very base. The sensation of splashes, the noise of the raging water meeting the stones is amazing. If you want to contemplate the Bridalveil waterfall from above, you can do so from Tunnel View.
9. Tioga Road
It is a place with such accents that you will feel dizzy with beauty: alpine nature, east-west highway through Yosemite, great places for tourism and camping, gorgeous meadows with blooming wildflowers, azure lakes whose crystal clearness reflects mountain peaks. Please note that due to the altitude, the road is only open in summer. If you go to the eastern entrance of the park, there is the Tioga Pass, which is 9,945 feet above sea level. Here you can see the panorama of Olmsted Point and Lake Tenaya, and near Tuolumne Meadows you can walk to the Lembert Dome and climb up the back of the dome.
10. Yosemite Museum and Indian Village
Not everything in this destination is nature. However, this is the true land of the Indians, inhabited for more than 3,000 years and the history is preserved in the Yosemite Museum and the Indian Village. Visiting this museum is one of the priorities to do at Yosemite National Park, because here you can learn all about the first peoples of the valley. Behind the building are several bark-covered traditional dwellings used by former local sinks, as well as their later buildings, now Euro-American in style.
11. Ansel Adams Gallery
The small gallery in Yosemite Village is interesting to see, even if you don’t mean to buy a work of art. Here are presented works, including original photographs, reproductions, books, posters and other exhibits of Ansel Adams. His black and white images of Half Dome, Yosemite Valley and Jeffrey Pine are considered his most famous works. A touch of art, with respect to its creator!
For years, camping has been another thing that is done a lot in Yosemite Park. There are excellent campsites here, the most popular of which are North Pines, Upper Pines and Lower Pines. The other famous campsite is for climbers – the so-called camp 4. You can also rent tents and cabins in Curry Village. To choose the most convenient place for you, check out the guide to the best campsites in Yosemite National Park.
Biking is another activity you can enjoy in Yosemite Park. For this purpose, there are 12 miles of paved paths at your disposal, some with access for the disabled and suitable for shuttle buses, and among the most popular cycling areas are: along the paved service road on the north side of the river leading to Mirror Lake; east of Curry Village, where you can also rent a bike, along the Upper Pines campsite and along the trail to Nevada Fall, Vernal Fall and John Muir Trail.
The spectacular Yosemite National Park offers many things to do and ways to have fun, especially if you love cycling, climbing, trekking, hiking, gazing stunning views and experiencing unique thrills.