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One of our favorite stops on one of our many road trips through California was Yosemite National Park. It was something we…

By Chan , in Travel , at December 13, 2022

One of our favorite stops on one of our many road trips through California was Yosemite National Park. It was something we had been hearing about for many years. We couldn’t wait to see El Capitan and the Half Dome. Yosemite, located in California’s Central Sierra Nevada, is well-known for its waterfalls and mountain peaks. Yosemite has so many activities that it takes a few days to appreciate fully.

To help you plan your trip to this destination on your bucket list, we have collected the top hikes, trails, and viewpoints. Let’s get out our camping gear and stock up on supplies before we head to Yosemite National Park.

Things to Do in Yosemite National Park

The Best Way to See Yosemite

Yosemite National Park was visited with a rental car. However, it is essential to arrive early to enjoy the sights. You will need to get to the lookouts and hiking trails early in the morning, as parking lots are viral. Get the best car rental rates at CarRentals.com.

Yosemite National Park covers an enormous 1200-square-mile (3,027 km2). Yosemite Valley is where you will find the most popular things to do in Yosemite. Yosemite offers a shuttle service that will take you to all the major attractions.

Yosemite Village has a parking lot. You can also park there and take the shuttle to the visitor center. This will allow you to visit many of the most popular attractions. Shuttles are available through the YARTS public transit system.

This highly-rated tour of Yosemite is also available. This tour includes a stop at Tunnel View, where you can see El Capitan, Half Dome, and Yosemite Valley. Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls are also comprised. Cathedral Beach offers a boxed lunch before you hike to Tuolumne Grove Of Giant Sequoias. There are also ride-share bikes available throughout the park.

Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Valley, the park’s central area, is where you’ll most likely spend your time. It is home to the most popular tourist attractions, including Half Dome, El Capitan, and Yosemite Falls.

Glacier Point

Glacier Point is the best spot to get an excellent overview of the park, including Yosemite Valley and half dome rising above the other mountain peaks. This incredible view is worth the hour-long drive up Wawona Road to Yosemite Valley.

Half Dome

Half Dome is Yosemite’s most popular attraction.

This is a top choice for rock climbers, and park visitors can see them climb their routes from its lookouts. Glacier Point is the best place to view the Half Dome, but you can also mount it.

Half Dome Hike

Half Dome Hike, a 14-mile round trip hike that takes visitors to Yosemite Valley at 5000 feet, is available.

It takes between 10 and 12 hours, so leave early to avoid disappointment. You should be prepared for a challenging hike. The last 400 feet require the use of half-dome cables. This allows hikers to reach the summit without the need to climb.

Mariposa Grove

Mariposa Grove was one of our favorite stops in Yosemite. We took a guided tour to see the forest of 500 Giant Sequoias.

Mariposa Grove is where the National Parks system was born. President Lincoln set this natural area aside in 1864 to be preserved for future generations. That is an excellent example of foresight.

Parking is available at the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza. Then it’s a two-mile hike on either the Washburn Trail or the Mariposa Grove Road.

Ansel Adams Gallery

Ansel Adams’ photography is one of the main reasons we visit Yosemite National Park.

It was a top priority for us to have the opportunity to see his famous images in person. Between the Visitor Center & Post Office, you will find the Ansel Adams Gallery.

It is in a prime spot with stunning views of Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and Glacier Point. It features the work of Ansel Adams’ photography and the gallery’s love for Yosemite. They have climbers, photographers, and hikers on their staff.

The gallery offers workshops, classes, and a camera walk.

El Capitan

The El Capitan, a mammoth El Capitan, dominates the view at Yosemite Valley’s west end is the dominant feature.

Climbers from all over the globe climb the Nose Of El Capitan. Although it’s an enormous task climbing 3000ft up the sheer wall, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell have set a new record by climbing to the peak in less than 2 hours.

Another fantastic fact is that Alex Honnold was also the first to climb El Capitan with no rope, inspiring the documentary Free Solo.

Tunnel View provides excellent views of El Capitan, but our favorite spot was El Cap Meadow which is directly in front.

  • Yosemite offers rock climbing classes.

Tunnel View

The tunnel view is undoubtedly the most famous scene in Yosemite National Park.

This is the best spot for photographers and a must-see for all visitors to Yosemite. For the iconic view of El Capitan, Half Dome, and Bridalveil Falls, make your way to Tunnel View parking lots at the Wawona Tunnel, State Highway 41. To beat the crowds, go here to see the sunrise

Bridalveil Falls

After you’ve seen Bridalveil Falls, go on a hike to the waterfall.

This is the first waterfall you will see as you enter Yosemite Valley. Bridalveil Fall drops 620 feet (189m) into the valley. The hike to the waterfall takes only 0.5 mi (0.8km) and has an elevation gain of 80 feet (24m).