The 17 Best Things To Do In Yosemite
Yosemite National Park, located in California's Sierra Nevada mountains, is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
With its towering granite cliffs, pristine lakes and rivers, and lush forests, Yosemite offers visitors a chance to experience some of the most beautiful and dramatic landscapes in the United States.
From hiking and rock climbing to wildlife watching and stargazing, there are countless best things to do in Yosemite. In this article, we'll explore the best things to do in Yosemite National Park to help you plan your next adventure.
Top 10 Things to Do in Yosemite National Park 2023 | Travel Guide
Visit Yosemite Valley
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Yosemite Valley is the centerpiece of Yosemite National Park, and it is one of the most beautiful places to visit.
The valley is surrounded by towering granite cliffs, and it is home to some of the park's most popular landmarks, including El Capitan, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls.
You can explore the valley by taking a hike or by renting a bicycle or horseback riding. There are also several restaurants, gift shops, and visitor centers in the valley.
See The Half Dome
Half Dome is one of Yosemite National Park's most famous landmarks, and it is one of the most popular hikes in the park. The hike is approximately 14-16 miles round trip and is considered to be a strenuous hike.
The trail takes you through the forest, past Vernal and Nevada Falls, and up a steep incline to the top of Half Dome. Once you reach the top, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of Yosemite Valley.
Hike To Yosemite Falls
Yosemite Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in North America, and it is a must-see attraction in Yosemite National Park. You can hike to the base of the waterfall or take a more challenging hike to the top.
The hike to the base of the waterfall is relatively easy and takes approximately 20-30 minutes. The hike to the top is much more challenging and takes approximately 6-8 hours round trip. The view from the top is well worth the effort.
Walk Through Mariposa Grove
Mariposa Grove is home to some of the largest and oldest living trees in the world, and it is a must-visit destination in Yosemite National Park. The grove is home to over 500 mature giant sequoias, including the Grizzly Giant, which is over 2,000 years old.
You can take a leisurely walk through the grove and marvel at the massive trees, or you can take a guided tour to learn more about their history and ecology.
Drive Along Tioga Road
Tioga Road is one of the most scenic drives in the world, and it is a must-visit destination in Yosemite National Park. The road takes you through the heart of the park and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Along the way, you'll pass several scenic overlooks, hiking trails, and picnic areas. The road is open seasonally from late spring to early fall, weather permitting.
Take A Dip In The Merced River
The Merced River is a popular spot for swimming, especially during the hot summer months. There are several spots along the river where you can access the water, including the beach area near Sentinel Beach and El Capitan Picnic Area.
The water is clear and refreshing, making it the perfect place to cool off after a long day of hiking or exploring. However, be aware that the river can be dangerous in some areas, so always check for warning signs and swim at your own risk.
Explore Tuolumne Meadows
Tuolumne Meadows is a large subalpine meadow located at an elevation of 8,600 feet in the eastern part of Yosemite National Park. The meadow is a popular destination for hikers, backpackers, and nature lovers, with its wide-open spaces, alpine lakes, and stunning mountain views.
Visitors can hike the various trails that crisscross the meadow, including the John Muir Trail, which passes through the area. There are also several campgrounds and picnic areas in the meadow, making it a great place to spend a day or two exploring the park.
Camp At One Of Yosemite's Campgrounds
Yosemite National Park has several campgrounds, including the popular Upper Pines, Lower Pines, and North Pines campgrounds located in Yosemite Valley.
These campgrounds offer a variety of amenities, including restrooms, showers, and fire rings, making them a great place to spend a night or two while exploring the park.
Other campgrounds, such as the Tuolumne Meadows and Wawona campgrounds, are located outside of Yosemite Valley and offer a more secluded camping experience.
Bike Around The Valley
Biking is a popular way to explore Yosemite Valley, with several bike rental shops located in the park. Visitors can rent bikes and ride along the 12-mile bike path that loops around the valley, providing stunning views of Yosemite's iconic landmarks.
Biking is also a great way to access some of the park's hiking trails and other attractions, such as Mirror Lake and Yosemite Falls. However, be aware that some areas of the valley can be steep and challenging for inexperienced riders.
Go Rock Climbing
For the adventurous and experienced climbers, Yosemite offers some of the best rock climbing experiences in the world. With its stunning granite formations and challenging terrain, Yosemite is a paradise for rock climbers.
There are many routes to choose from, ranging from beginner to expert levels. The most popular areas for climbing include El Capitan, Half Dome, and Glacier Point. Climbers must obtain a permit to climb in Yosemite and are required to follow all safety regulations.
Take A Guided Tour Of The Park
For those who want a more in-depth experience, taking a guided tour of Yosemite is a great option. A knowledgeable guide can provide insight into the park's history, geology, and ecology.
There are many tour options available, including walking tours, bus tours, and even helicopter tours. A guided tour can be an excellent way to learn about the park and see its hidden treasures.
Ski At Badger Pass Ski Area
During the winter months, Yosemite's Badger Pass Ski Area offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the area. With over 10 miles of groomed trails, visitors can enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and downhill skiing.
Badger Pass also offers ski and snowboard rentals, as well as lessons for beginners. The ski area is located at an elevation of 7,200 feet, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.
Visit Glacier Point
One of the most iconic and scenic areas in Yosemite is Glacier Point. From this vantage point, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls.
Glacier Point is accessible by car, but visitors can also hike to the summit via the Four Mile Trail. There is also a Glacier Point tour available that provides information about the park's geology and history.
Hike To Vernal And Nevada Falls
One of the most popular hikes in Yosemite is the Mist Trail, which takes you to two of Yosemite's most famous waterfalls: Vernal and Nevada Falls. The trail starts at Happy Isles trailhead in Yosemite Valley and is about 7 miles round trip.
The hike is considered strenuous, but the breathtaking views of the waterfalls and the surrounding landscape make it worth the effort. You will also pass through the lush greenery of the forest, and feel the cool mist from the falls.
See The Giant Sequoias At The Tuolumne Grove
Yosemite National Park is home to some of the largest trees in the world, and the Tuolumne Grove is one of the best places to see them. Located near Crane Flat, the Tuolumne Grove is a sequoia grove with over 20 mature trees.
The hike to the grove is about 2.5 miles round trip and is considered moderate. The highlight of the hike is the "tunnel tree", a sequoia with a tunnel carved through its trunk in the 1800s.
Go Horseback Riding
Yosemite is home to several horseback riding stables that offer guided rides through the park's stunning backcountry. Whether you're a seasoned rider or a beginner, there's a ride for everyone.
Some of the popular routes include the Yosemite Valley Loop Ride, which takes you around the valley, and the Glacier Point Ride, which offers stunning views of Half Dome and the surrounding landscape.
Experience Stargazing In Yosemite
With its dark skies and pristine wilderness, Yosemite is one of the best places in the world for stargazing. Several areas in the park offer ranger-led stargazing programs, where you can learn about the constellations and the history of astronomy.
If you want to go stargazing on your own, head to Glacier Point or Tioga Pass, which offer excellent views of the night sky. Don't forget to bring warm clothes, as it can get chilly at night.
People Also Ask
What Are The Best Outdoor Activities To Do In Yosemite National Park?
Yosemite National Park is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a range of activities such as hiking, rock climbing, camping, fishing, and wildlife watching.
Some of the most popular outdoor activities in Yosemite include hiking to the Half Dome and Yosemite Falls, rock climbing in El Capitan and Tuolumne Meadows, and camping in Yosemite Valley.
What Are The Best Viewpoints In Yosemite National Park?
Yosemite National Park is known for its stunning natural beauty and offers many incredible viewpoints. Some of the most popular viewpoints in Yosemite include Glacier Point, Tunnel View, Taft Point, and Sentinel Dome.
From these viewpoints, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the park's iconic landmarks, including Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, and Yosemite Falls.
What Are The Best Family-friendly Activities To Do In Yosemite National Park?
Yosemite National Park offers many family-friendly activities that are both fun and educational. Some of the best family-friendly activities in Yosemite include ranger-led programs, nature walks, stargazing, and Junior Ranger programs.
Families can also enjoy hiking to easy-to-reach destinations like Lower Yosemite Falls or taking a scenic drive along Tioga Road.
What Are The Best Waterfalls To Visit In Yosemite National Park?
Yosemite National Park is home to many spectacular waterfalls, including Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Fall, and Vernal Fall.
Visitors can take a short walk to the base of Yosemite Falls or hike to the top of Vernal Fall via the Mist Trail. The park also offers several other lesser-known waterfalls, including Ribbon Fall and Illilouette Fall.
What Are The Best Winter Activities To Do In Yosemite National Park?
Yosemite National Park is open year-round and offers a range of winter activities for visitors to enjoy.
Some of the best winter activities in Yosemite include skiing and snowboarding at Badger Pass Ski Area, snowshoeing, ice skating at Curry Village, and taking a guided snowshoe hike to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.
Yosemite National Park offers a multitude of activities for visitors to enjoy. From hiking to rock climbing, camping to stargazing, and everything in between, there are best things to do in Yosemite for everyone.
The park's stunning natural beauty, including Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and the giant sequoias, make it a must-see destination for any outdoor enthusiast. Yosemite truly is one of the best places to experience the natural wonders of the world.