When you visit Yosemite, every view in the park feels like a wonder. Every minute you are surrounded by the sheer beauty and natural amazement everywhere you look; a rushing river, a waterfall, a glistening lake. You are confronted with breathtaking vistas, a seemingly never-ending redwood trees, giant granite cliffs that have seen the beginning of time, and more. We’ve come up with a list of the most spectacular places in the park.
1. El Capitan
Standing at 7,500 ft above sea level, El Capitan is arguably the most prominent geographic feature in the park, and the largest exposed piece of granite rock in the world. Plus it is also known as one of the iconic Apple desktop backdrops. Don’t forget your binoculars if you’d like to catch a glimpse of rock climbers scaling it. Aside from El Capitan being wonderous all on its own at any time of day, it’s also home to the once-a-year phenomenon ofHorsetail Falls. The magic happens when the “stars align” and the mix of a seasonal waterfall, granite rock, cloudless day, and a sunset meet for a 10-minute jaw-dropping vision of…well, Google it.
Mariposa Grove is home of some of the tallest and oldest trees in the world, including the 1,800-year-oldGrizzly Giant. Redwood trees are globally known for their soaring heights and wide girth and the cones are a symbol of the National Park Service. There are amazing hikes in the grove for all skill levels, including the Big Trees Loop, Grizzly Giant Loop, Guardians Loop Trail and Mariposa Grove Trail to Wawona Point.
3.The Mist Trail (Vernal Falls)
Vernal Falls is a 317 foot high waterfall that is one of the most popular hikes in the park, and for good reason. It almost always has water flowing, and there are two trail options to reach the top, including the John Muir Trail. There is often a rainbow to be seen next to Vernal Falls. Keep in mind, it’s not called the ‘mist trail’ for no reason. It gets misty, and slippery, so make sure to bring proper hiking shoes especially if you plan to continue on the trail to reach Nevada Falls, and eventually, Half Dome.
The Wawona tunnel is the longest tunnel in California, and it leads you to Tunnel View, which looks eastwards into Yosemite Valley giving you the perfect family snapshot of Half Dome, El Capitan and Bridalveil Fall (perhaps that should’ve been listed as #8?). Wawona is also home to Mariposa Grove, and is the birthplace of the idea for a national parks establishment.
5. Glacier Point
Sixteen miles of winding roads lead you to one of the of the prettiest viewpoints of the valley. Standing 3,000 ft above the valley floor, it’s a great place to watch the sunset fall over Yosemite valley or get a clear view of the milky way at night. Another reason why Glacier Point is amazing? It transforms intoYosemite Ski and Snowboard Area in thewinter with 10 ski runs, and tons of other winter activities! Keep in mind that Glacier Point is closed part of the year due to weather conditions, so check the Yosemite website before traveling.
6. Half Dome
Another prominent geographic feature in the valley and famous photo op. Many people hike this when seasonally appropriate though you can see it from other areas in Yosemite valley, including Glacier Point. To view it up close and personal, you must hike a strenuous 17-mile round trip trail can be done in one or two-days with a permit, offering you stunning panoramic views of the park at the top and proper bragging rights.
7. Tuolumne Meadows
Just when you thought Yosemite couldn’t get more picturesque, you come across Tuolumne Meadows, which is home to its own unique wonders. Weather permitting, you are able to see Cathedral Peak, Lembert Dome, Pothole Dome, Fairview Dome, Tuolumne River Bridge, Budd Creek and Tuolumne pools. Enjoy the blooming fields of wildflowers, gorgeous peaks, and peaceful Alpine landscape.
Looking for a cabin near these Scenic Wonders?
All of our 120 Redwoods In Yosemite cabins & vacation homes are located in historic Wawona, near the South Entrance of Yosemite National Park, just a few miles from the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias (free direct shuttle access to the grove when you stay with us!). Relaxing and private, our fully equipped vacation homes border the wild and scenic South Fork of The Merced River, the Wawona swinging bridge and Chilnualna Falls (the second highest vertical drop waterfalls in Yosemite) and the pet friendly Wawona Meadow Loop trail! Our Event Center includes full use of the Fireside Room and adjacent deck, with audio & visual equipment and a catering kitchen. Many of our cabins are pet friendly, some feature spa tubs, and all have private decks with BBQ’s and upgraded linens for that, “Home Away from Home” experience. Come on up! Relax. Explore. Escape!