Yosemite Valley
Tourist Attractions

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Yosemite Valley, California Tourist Attractions

Main Attractions in Yosemite Valley

Over eons, rivers and glaciers carved 3,000 feet into solid granite to creating Yosemite Valley's most popular tourist attractions –  spectacular rock formations.  Yosemite Valley now offers even more with outdoor recreation, fine dining, great sightseeing, unique shopping, and exciting nightlife. 

Featured Yosemite Valley Hotels
Featured Yosemite Valley Hotels

Yosemite Valley

Main Tourist Attractions

The Ahwahnee

Learn a piece of Ahwahnee history before your visit to this unique lodge at Yosemite. Once a refuge for the affluent this magnificent lodge is a major attraction for all visitors; learn more at YosemitePark.com.

Bridalveil Falls  

Flows: all year, with peak flow in May. This is often the first waterfall visitors see when entering Yosemite Valley. In spring, it thunders; during the rest of the year, look for its characteristic light, swaying flow.

Cathedral Lakes

(moderate) 7 miles (11.3 km round-trip), 1,000-foot elevation gain; 4 to 6 hours. Begin at Cathedral Lakes trailhead, 1/2 mile west of the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center, Shuttle Stop #7 The trail climbs steadily to Upper Cathedral Lake. Near the top of the climb, it passes a spur trail to Lower Cathedral Lake (0.5 mile to lake).

El Capitan

El Capitan is a favorite for experienced rock climbers. Rising more than 3,000 feet above the Valley floor, it is the largest monolith of granite in the world. El Capitan is opposite Bridalveil Fall and is best seen from the roads in western Yosemite Valley, including Tunnel View, Bridalveil Fall area, and El Capitan Meadow.

Glacier Point

Glacier Point, an overlook with a commanding view of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and Yosemite’s high country, is accessible by car from approximately late May through October or November. From mid-December through March, cross-country skiers can experience this view after skiing 10.5 miles.

Half Dome

Rising nearly 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley and 8,800 feet above sea level, Half Dome is a Yosemite icon and a great challenge to many hikers. Despite an 1865 report declaring that it was "perfectly inaccessible, being probably the only one of the prominent points about the Yosemite which never has been, and never will be, trodden by human foot," George Anderson reached the summit in 1875, in the process laying the predecessor to today's cable route.

Today, thousands of people reach the summit. For most, it is an exciting, arduous hike; for a few, it becomes more of an adventure than they wanted. Indeed, park rangers assist hundreds of people on the Half Dome trail every summer. Most of these emergencies could have been prevented... go to Website to learn how.

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir

Hidden in Yosemite National Park’s peaceful northwest corner, Hetch Hetchy Valley is a treasure worth visiting in all seasons. In spring, two of North America’s tallest waterfalls plummet spectacularly over thousand-foot granite cliffs. The dramatic cliffs surrounding these waterfalls add to the grandeur that John Muir compared to the more well known Yosemite Valley. In 1870, Muir called Hetch Hetchy Valley “a wonderfully exact counterpart of the great Yosemite.” In the early spring through late fall, visitors have easy access to a vast wilderness filled with high-country lakes, streams, and wildlife. A rare snowy winter day gives adventuresome visitors a chance to explore on skis or snowshoes. Click for a PDF brochure.

Lembert Dome

Lembert Dome is a granite dome rock formation in Yosemite National Park in the U.S. state of California The dome soars 800 feet (240 m) above Tuolumne Meadows and the Tuolumne River and can be hiked starting at the Tioga Road in the heart of Tuolumne Meadows, 8 miles (13 km) west of the Tioga Pass Entrance to Yosemite National Park.

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

The Mariposa Grove, near Yosemite's South Entrance, contains about 500 mature giant sequoias. Giant sequoias are perhaps the largest living things on Earth. Although the oldest giant sequoias may exceed 3,000 years in age, some living specimens of the ancient bristlecone pine (found in the mountains east of Yosemite and at Great Basin National Park in Nevada, among other places) are more than 4,600 years old.  Download PDF>

Mount Lyell

Mount Lyell is the highest point in Yosemite National Park, at 13,120 feet (4,000 m) above sea level. It is located at the southeast end of the Cathedral Range, 1.2 miles (1.9 km) northwest of Rodgers Peak. It is named after Charles Lyell, a well-known 19th century geologist.[7] The peak also has the largest glaciers in Yosemite, Lyell Glacier.

Ribbon Fall

Flows: approximately March through June, with peak flow in May. You can see Ribbon Fall from the road as you drive into Yosemite Valley, just beyond the turn for Bridalveil Fall (parking is available in turnouts). .

Rock Formations in Yosemite Valley

Over eons, rivers and glaciers somehow carved 3,000 feet into solid granite to create Yosemite Valley. The nuances of the Valley form spectacular rock formations, for which Yosemite Valley is famous. Visitors all year can gaze up from the Valley floor to appreciate the enormity of it all. During summer (or for those willing to do an overnight ski trip in winter), the view from Glacier Point provides a perspective from above.

Tioga Pass

Every spring, both visitors and locals look forward to the opening of the Tioga Road, a high-elevation pass that crosses Yosemite National Park. Get a glimpse of what it takes to clear snow and ice from a section of the highway known for dangerous avalanches.

Tunnel View

The Tunnel View scenic overlook is a historic site, located adjacent to Wawona Road, affording expansive views of Yosemite Valley, El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls, and Half Dome.

Tuolumne Meadows

OOne of the largest high-elevation meadows in the Sierra Nevada, Tuolumne Meadows at 8,600 feet has been also among the most visible to past pioneers, and present visitors and scientists. It’s accessible due to the park roadway that crosses the southern edge of the meadow. From this point all the way to the south of Mt. Whitney, no other roads cross the High Sierra. Thus, this roadway marks the northern end of the largest contiguous roadless wilderness in the continental United States.

Vernal Fall

Flows: all year, though by mid to late summer, it narrows and separates into one, two, or three falls as water flows decrease; peaks in late May. You can see Vernal Fall (from a distance) at Glacier Point. The road to Glacier Point is open approximately late May through sometime in November. A wheelchair-accessible trail is available to the viewpoint when the road is open.

Yosemite Falls

Flows: approximately November through July, with peak flow in May. Look for the ice cone at the base of the upper fall during winter and for roaring runoff April through June. Yosemite Falls, one of the world's tallest, is actually made up of three separate falls: Upper Yosemite Fall (1,430 feet), the middle cascades (675 feet), and Lower Yosemite Fall (320 feet).

Yosemite Valley

Many climbers consider Yosemite Valley among the world's very best climbing sites.

Yosemite Village

Off Northside Dr., Yosemite National Park, CA 209 372 0200

Also See:

 Museums, Historical Places, Tours, Day Hikes, and Art Galleries




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