Explore Yosemite National Park

There is never a bad day in Yosemite National Park. Never have I been to place more under siege by nature yet in every angle standing strong and majestic for all to see. Discovering Yosemite requires adventure out of the Valley and into the woods. Only here can you discover the magic.
Charlie Pankey

Yosemite National Park is in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s famed for its giant, ancient sequoia trees, and for Tunnel View, the iconic vista of towering Bridalveil Fall and the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome. Visitors from around the world travel to California each year to visit this iconic National park.

We are huge believers that there is no bad day in Yosemite, but there are so many missed opportunities by most visitors when it comes to Yosemite.  This page is designed to help you discover more of one of the nations most popular parks.  

Here are a few facts that you might not know of Yosemite:

1. Yosemite might be our nation’s 3rd national park, but it sparked the idea of national parks. Twenty-six years before it was a national park, President Lincoln signed the Yosemite Land Grant on June 30, 1864, protecting the Mariposa Grove and Yosemite Valley. It was the first time the government protected land because of its natural beauty so that people could enjoy it, and we’re still benefiting from their foresight today.

2. Yosemite’s granite rock formations glow like fire at sunset. Sunlight plays amazing tricks at Yosemite — illuminating El Capitan and Half Dome in brilliant reds and oranges. Horsetail Fall is famous for appearing to be on fire when it reflects the orange glow of sunset in mid- to late-February. It’s a spectacular sight reminiscent of Yosemite’s historic Firefall, which occurred nightly until 1968, when hotel operators would push campfire embers over Glacier Point to wow park goers.

3. The park’s diverse landscape supports more than 400 species. While at Yosemite, look all around and you might spy one of the park’s many amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals looking back. One such animal is the rare Sierra Nevada red fox, which was spotted for the first time in nearly 100 years on a wildlife cam, roaming the high elevations of California’s Sierra Nevada.

4. Yosemite is home to one of the tallest waterfalls in the world. At 2,425 feet, Yosemite Falls is one of tallest on the planet, but did you know, it’s actually made up of three separate falls? Upper Yosemite Fall, the middle cascades and Lower Yosemite Fall makeup Yosemite Falls, which can be seen from numerous places around Yosemite Valley. 

Backpacking Yosemite

Backpacking Yosemite National Park is an incredible experience. Start your trek from one of dozens of trailheads and customize your journey with an incredible trail network with in the park.

Find a Trail 

  1. Half Dome via Mist Trail: A challenging hike leading to the iconic granite summit of Half Dome, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the Yosemite Valley below.
  2. John Muir Trail (Yosemite Section): An epic segment of the renowned John Muir Trail, taking backpackers through high alpine meadows, pristine lakes, and jaw-dropping vistas.

  3. Clouds Rest: A thrilling adventure to the summit of Clouds Rest, providing an unobstructed view of Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, and the High Sierra.

  4. North Dome from Yosemite Falls: A rewarding hike to North Dome showcasing impressive views of Half Dome and Yosemite Falls from across the valley.

  5. Cathedral Lakes: A serene journey to the enchanting Cathedral Lakes, surrounded by towering peaks and reflecting the stunning Sierra landscape.

  6. Glen Aulin to Waterwheel Falls: A picturesque hike alongside the Tuolumne River, leading to the impressive cascade of Waterwheel Falls in a secluded canyon.

  7. Sunrise Lakes and Clouds Rest Loop: A multi-day adventure offering diverse landscapes, from pristine alpine lakes to the majestic heights of Clouds Rest.

  8. Chilnualna Falls and Wawona Dome: A lesser-known gem, this trail combines a visit to the beautiful Chilnualna Falls with a side trip to the panoramic Wawona Dome.

  9. Ten Lakes Loop: A challenging loop trail that rewards backpackers with stunning vistas of Ten Lakes Basin and surrounding granite peaks.

  10. Rafferty Creek to Vogelsang High Sierra Camp: A high-altitude trek through Rafferty Creek’s meadows to the picturesque Vogelsang High Sierra Camp, surrounded by alpine splendor.

Camping Yosemite

Camping in Yosemite National Park has multiple options for visitors. Stay in the Valley with the crowds or Venture to the East and Tuolumne meadows for high altitude lower crowds.

Escape to the heart of nature with camping in Yosemite National Park—a true wilderness experience surrounded by towering trees, majestic waterfalls, and star-studded skies. Here are some top camping locations to consider:

  1. Yosemite Valley Campgrounds: Embrace the iconic valley views while camping in the heart of Yosemite, with easy access to major attractions and trailheads.

  2. Bridalveil Creek Campground: Enjoy a peaceful stay near Bridalveil Fall, offering a serene atmosphere and stunning vistas.

  3. Tuolumne Meadows Campground: Immerse yourself in high-country splendor with pristine meadows and access to breathtaking hikes.

  4. Wawona Campground: Discover historic charm and proximity to Mariposa Grove’s giant sequoias in this beautiful location.

  5. Crane Flat Campground: Experience tranquility and lush forest surroundings at this peaceful campground.

  6. Hodgdon Meadow Campground: Enjoy a more secluded setting with abundant wildlife and easy access to the Big Oak Flat entrance.

  7. White Wolf Campground: Nestled in the wilderness, this campground offers a remote escape and access to scenic trails.

  8. Porcupine Flat Campground: Find solace amidst meadows and evergreen trees, perfect for stargazing and hiking.

  9. Wawona Group Campground: Ideal for group adventures, this campground accommodates larger gatherings and provides access to Wawona’s attractions.

  10. Camp 4: Embrace Yosemite’s climbing legacy with this walk-in campground, favored by climbers, and relish the lively camping atmosphere.

Things To Do:

Boredom is not something you will find in Yosemite National Park. Places to Discover and experiences to be had are around every corner. Hiking, Photography, JR Ranger programs, Museums, Bike, snowshoe, ski, raft trips and more.

Things to Do in Yosemite

  1. Hike Yosemite – Lace up your hiking boots and venture into Yosemite’s vast wilderness. Explore an array of scenic trails catering to all skill levels, from the awe-inspiring Yosemite Falls and Half Dome hikes to the serene Mirror Lake loop. Prepare to be immersed in the park’s natural wonders at every turn.
  2. Horseback riding – Experience Yosemite from a different perspective as you saddle up for a memorable horseback ride. Guided tours offer a unique opportunity to traverse meadows, forests, and picturesque landscapes while connecting with nature and enjoying the tranquility only horses can provide.
  3. Biking Yosemite – Grab a bike and pedal your way through the park’s enchanting beauty. Yosemite offers various biking trails suitable for both beginners and seasoned riders. Feel the rush as you cycle past towering sequoias, flowing waterfalls, and scenic vistas that will leave you in awe.
  4. Rafting the Tuolumne – Take your adventure to the water and embark on a thrilling rafting journey down the Tuolumne River. This exhilarating ride offers Class IV rapids amid stunning canyon scenery. Whether you’re a seasoned rafter or a first-timer, the Tuolumne River guarantees an unforgettable experience.
  5. Rafting the Merced River: Get ready for an adrenaline-pumping adventure as you conquer the rapids of the Merced River. Rafting down this scenic river offers an exciting and refreshing way to experience Yosemite’s natural beauty. Navigate through thrilling Class III rapids while taking in the picturesque surroundings of the park’s stunning wilderness. Whether you’re an experienced rafter or a novice seeking an exhilarating challenge, rafting the Merced River promises an unforgettable journey.
  6. Photography in Yosemite – Bring your camera or smartphone and capture the park’s natural splendor. Yosemite is a photographer’s dream, boasting stunning landscapes, unique wildlife, and captivating vistas at every corner. Snap shots of iconic landmarks like El Capitan or simply let the park’s beauty be your inspiration.
  7. Sights to See in Yosemite Valley – Don’t miss the must-see attractions that define Yosemite’s allure. Gaze in wonder at the towering granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome, marvel at the Yosemite Falls—the tallest waterfall in North America—and stand in awe at the beauty of Glacier Point’s panoramic views.
  8. Winter Skiing and Snowshoeing – Embrace the winter wonderland of Yosemite by engaging in skiing and snowshoeing adventures. When the snow blankets the landscape, the park transforms into a serene paradise. Hit the slopes on Badger Pass Ski Area or explore the quiet trails on snowshoes for an unforgettable winter experience.

Lodging in Yosemite

Lodging in Yosemite has great options for most budgets. Historic, Luxury, glamping and rustic. Take your pick on location, price and amenities.

Places to Stay in Yosemite National Park

  1. Ahwahnee Lodge: Experience luxury in the heart of Yosemite with the historic Ahwahnee Lodge, offering elegant accommodations amidst breathtaking views of the valley.

  2. Yosemite Valley Lodge: A convenient lodge located near Yosemite Falls, providing comfortable rooms and easy access to the park’s main attractions.

  3. Curry Village: Embrace the classic Yosemite experience in rustic cabins or tent cabins, nestled beneath Glacier Point and close to Half Dome.

  4. Wawona Hotel: Step back in time at this Victorian-style hotel, situated amidst towering trees and boasting proximity to Mariposa Grove’s giant sequoias.

  5. Tenaya Lodge & Cottages: Enjoy a modern mountain resort experience near the park’s south entrance, featuring cozy rooms, cabins, and a variety of amenities.

  6. Rush Creek Lodge: An inviting lodge near Yosemite’s Big Oak Flat entrance, offering comfortable rooms, a saltwater pool, and scenic views of the surrounding forests.

  7. Evergreen Lodge: Escape to the wilderness in this charming lodge, offering cabins and adventure packages in the serene Hetch Hetchy area.

  8. AutoCamp: A unique lodging option combining luxury with the great outdoors, providing stylish Airstream trailers or luxury tents nestled in nature.

Yosemite itineraries

Yosemite Trip Itineraries

Yosemite national Park Day trips are a specialty at Sierra Rec. We visit the park multiple times per year each time making a new adventure. here are some of our favorite downloadable trip itineraries for Yosemite National Park.

  1. Yosemite National Park Trip Planning
  2. Visit 3 of California’s National Parks in 3 Days
  3. Hiking Cathedral Lakes in Yosemite National Park

Editors Choice Yosemite National Park

Nevada Fall Yosemite National Park

Nevada Fall Yosemite National Park

Echo Peaks Echo Lake Yosemite

Backpacking Echo Lake – Yosemite National Park

Backpacking in Yosemite National Parks Cathedral Range

Hiking Cathedral Lakes in Yosemite National Park

Fletcher Lake and Vogelsang High Sierra Camp

Fletcher Lake and Vogelsang High Sierra Camp

Yosemite National Parks Granite Lake

GAYLOR LAKES LOOP – Yosemite National Park

Boothe lake yosemite national park

Boothe Lake – Yosemite National Park

May Lake – Yosemite National Park

May Lake – Yosemite National Park

Sunset on Young Lakes white mountain and Mt Conness in Yosemite

Young Lakes – Yosemite National Park

Blue lake, Lake of the woods

Explore Lake of the Woods in Desolation wilderness

Nevada Fall Yosemite National Park
Echo Peaks Echo Lake Yosemite
Backpacking in Yosemite National Parks Cathedral Range
Fletcher Lake and Vogelsang High Sierra Camp
Yosemite National Parks Granite Lake
Boothe lake yosemite national park
May Lake – Yosemite National Park
Sunset on Young Lakes white mountain and Mt Conness in Yosemite
Tamarack Lake Desolation wilderness
Echo Lake boat ramp sunrise
susie lake desolation
Blue lake, Lake of the woods

Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.

Add New Playlist

Update Required Flash plugin