Yosemite National Park is an extremely popular national park in California, United States. It is also famous for being the most revisited national park too. Yosemite is full of breathtaking places like the Half Dome, El Capitan, giant sequoias grove, gorgeous waterfalls, not to mention the amazing wildlife you can spot there.
As it is famous for family camping, Yosemite can be a weekend trip or a longer one. Whichever duration you choose, here are the 10 most gorgeous spots you should definitely visit on your Yosemite National Park trip.
1. Half Dome
Half Dome is a granite dome and a cool rock formation in Yosemite. This is a gorgeous spot to witness a glorious sunrise at. Half Dome has amazing cable routes which you can hike. There are many trails for all fitness levels and the trail to Nevada Falls is recommended even for casual hikers. Do not miss this out-of-the world spot.
2. Mirror Lake
Imagine gazing at sparkling crystal-clear waters and being surrounded with peaceful woods, a great place for self-reflection. This experience is incredible and makes Mirror Lake a must visit spot.
There is a beautiful loop trail around this lake that is highly recommended for Yosemite visitors. Of course, the trail can get slippery depending on the season, so should be trekked with caution. The Mirror lake is full in late spring when all the snow melts and the Tenaya Creek fills this lake.
3. El Capitan
El Capitan is an incredible vertical rock formation in Yosemite and is more than 3000 feet high. It was previously considered as incredibly difficult to scale. Now, climbing over the long projecting part of El Capitan, appropriately named as ‘The Nose’ is a popular activity for Yosemite visitors.
4. Glacier Point
Glacier Point is a wonderful lookout spot to see Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Vernal Falls, Nevada Falls, and many more Yosemite attractions from an elevation. This lookout point gives unmatched panoramic views of the beauty all around Yosemite National Park.
5. Mariposa Giant Sequoia Grove
The Mariposa Grove has awe-inspiring giant sequoia trees that are more than 3000-years-old. It is definitely an incredible park of Yosemite National Park. This is one of the three groves in this national park but is the one which contains the oldest giant sequoias here. Note that this grove was closed for restoration for three years and has been opened to public recently (June, 2018).
6. Yosemite Falls
Towards the end of spring, when the snow melts, Yosemite National Park boasts of another stunning waterfalls in all its glory. Do not miss these falls if you are around in late spring. Typically, around May and June, the water is plentiful, but by August it tends to dry up.
Also, note that finding accommodation in the national park can be difficult if you do not plan your trip in advance. This is because these falls are a major attraction in this season.
7. Tuloumne Meadows
Hiking in these beautiful meadows is a great experience for nature-lovers to discover wild species of plants and flowers. Apart from the day-trips being super cool, camping here is even amazing. Note that the campgrounds are open only during the months of July through late September.
8. Tioga Pass
Tioga Pass is closed from November to May, but, when it is open, you are in for a treat. Cruise along this remarkable road for a heavenly drive. This is a high-elevation mountain pass forming an entry to Yosemite National Park from the east side. This is also part of Highway 120 and closed in winters. Plan your visit only after checking the national park website as it will contain updates of road closures affected by snowfall.
9. Olmsted Point
This is a great lookout point giving beautiful views of Yosemite all round. If you just want to relax right in the parking lot, go ahead and enjoy. Because many people do just stay in the parking lot itself and take in the amazing views. If you want to do short hikes, you will see lesser crowds, but still amazing views to savor.
10. Yosemite Valley
Yosemite Valley gives you the consolidated bundle of wonders of many incredible things to see in Yosemite National Park. It has many easy trails that give you access to stunning waterfalls including Lower Yosemite Falls, El Capitan and the Half Dome. This is also where you find visitor centers, free shuttle’s stops and camping grounds. This valley also has access to highways. Note that Highway 120 is closed in winters.