by Bhoomi Shah Updated on 15 Oct 2018
Yosemite National Park is the symbol of United States’ natural beauty, and the park draws millions of visitors from all over the world. Its majestic waterfalls, abundant wildlife, giant sequoias and amazing cliffs make this a favorite among nature-loving tourists and also those who want an adventure in the wildlife. It is not without reason that is considered as one of the most beautiful places on earth. The natural calmness and the beauty will engulf you in itself. There are a number of things to do in this park, and a trip would be completely worth it. This list of the 15 best places to visit in Yosemite national park will help you plan your vacation.
Let's explore Yosemite National Park attractions and 15 best things to do in Yosemite National Park:
1. Glacier Point
This is not the usual high points where you simply take in the sights and click some photos and come back. The Glacier Point will pull you into the lap of Mother Nature, and you will be captivated by the views from up there. You will be able to see the entire park from up there and other features such as the Half Dome, the Vernal Fall, the Nevada fall and the Cloud’s Rest. The best view is of the sunrise and sunset. The amazingly pink and pretty sunsets and sunrise will fill your soul with warm and cozy happiness. Even though the climb to the top may be a bit difficult, it will be all worth it at the top.
2. Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias
If you think you have seen old and large trees then wait till you visit the Mariposa Grove. The giant sequoias do justice to their name. They are immensely huge and very old, some are about twenty-four hundred years old. A trip through this grove will feel like being in a movie and surrounded with giants. The path may be a bit difficult, but you will not be able to stop since the size of these trees will truly impress you. You will definitely appreciate the sheer grandness of the trees. Some of the ones to look out for is the Grizzly Giant, the Fallen Monarch, the Bachelor, the Faithful Couple and the Telescope trees. Each has their own characteristic and story behind their names. A visit to this grove is a must because this place is one of its kinds.
3. Yosemite Falls
The Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in North America, and thus this is very popular among tourists and locals. If you are in the Yosemite Park, then this waterfall is a must due to its sheer grandeur. The waterfalls down from a height of 739 meters which makes this the seventh highest waterfall in the world. There are trails to access the top and also the third stage of the fall is visible from a suitable location. There are high chances of rain so remember to bring your rain gear.
4. Tunnel view
The Tunnel View is the combination of El Capitan on the left, the Bridal Veil Fall on the right and the Half Dome on the axis. The view from here is mesmerizing, and tourists mainly come here for award-winning photographs. Do not expect to find any fun activity around here because all will be captivated by the view from here. It is easy to reach here and stock up on food and water so you can stay up here for a long time.
5. Bridal Veil Fall
Certainly this is one of the most romantically named waterfalls in the world. The reason behind the story is that the 189-meter drop creates a white blanket of water and it gets more astonishing during a breeze. Even if you stand at a safe distance, you are sure to get wet due to the mist. The local tribe believed that the waterfall was the hiding spot of the spirit of Pohono. This is the reason for the name of the waterfall. This fall certainly creates a feeling of hiding something. Expect good photographs of this fall, and as a result, millions of people visit this place to simply capture the view in their lens.
6. Vernal Falls
It is a simple waterfall that is visible from a great distance and runs throughout the year. To reach the fall, there is a hiking trail that needs to be followed. The hiking is certainly the most interesting part of the journey to here. The views along the hiking trail and from the fall is beautiful and so do not forget your camera. Avoid swimming in the Emerald Pool since there is a high chance that you might be swept off by the powerful current.
7. Sentinel Dome
Until 2003, there used to be a Jeffrey Pine up on the dome. But now the Sentinel Dome serves a great tourist. Once up here you can star gaze and look around to take in the breathtaking view. You can see all the major spots from up here including the waterfalls. This place has some great options for camping. Trekking to here is relatively easy, so it is an easy to reach but a fun place to be in.
8. Nevada Falls
The Nevada Falls is 181 meters high, and the water creates a dramatic white mist all around itself that will surely get wet. When the water strikes the rock, it gives a distinct shape of the fall, and thus it results in a lot of good photographs. The Nevada Falls is the spiritual sister of the Vernal Falls and to reach this fall you need to start trekking from the Vernal Falls.
9. Ansel Adams Gallery
This gallery is located in the heart of Yosemite National Park and holds a lot of significance in the world of art and the park itself. Ansel Adams was a famous photographer whose main focus was this park. He would go on difficult and treacherous paths just to get a good photograph. He even participated in wildlife conservation activities since he knew the dangers of uncontrolled commercialization in the park. Though the gallery is small, it is free for all, and so you do not have to spend money to view the masterpieces that are exhibited there. The gallery contains exclusive photos and contemporary arts. This is a place you need to visit to see the adventure of the photographer and see the park through a lens.
10. Yosemite Museum
Do not expect this to be a huge museum which has dinosaur skeletons hanging from the ceiling. This museum was built with the belief that buildings are a part of the environment and not stand out from it. The design of this museum was based on the designs of houses by the early settlers. The exhibits of this museum are based on the Ahwahnechee Tribe. You can also get to see photos and sketches of the park and baskets woven by famous native weavers like Lucy Telles. This is the oldest museum that was set up by the park authorities.
11. El Capitan
El Capitan is depicted on the quarter dollar coin of America. However, the reason for its popularity is the huge number of opportunities for adventure sports and activities. El Capitan stands at a height of 7,573 feet and is a popular spot for adventure junkies and rock climbers. If you want to enjoy free climbing, base jumping, hiking or simply photography, then this is the best place for you.
12. Cook’s Meadow Loop
If you want to see the best that nature has got then Cook’s Meadow Loop is the perfect place for this. This is an all-weather location which attracts tourists from all over the world. You will get excellent views of Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and other spots from here. You can also relax by the lagoon by the bridge and watch the blooming wildflowers and the lush green meadows. This is the best place to take some photographs and relax after a long day of hiking and trailing.
13. El Capitan Meadow
If you think you have seen all the natural wonders of the park then you are in for a surprise. The El Capitan Meadow offers a majestic view of the greatest rock on earth, the El Capitan. You can also enjoy the sunset and kayak in the Merced River. There are several picnic shelters where you can spend some quality time with your family.
14. Swinging Bridge Picnic Area
If you are planning a picnic in the midst of nature, then the Swinging Bridge Picnic Area will be the perfect fit for you. This place is not too well known so you might find peace in this area with the absence of a crowd. As the name suggests, there is a bridge that was supposedly a hanging bridge way back, but now it is a sturdy wooden bridge. The place offers beautiful views of the surrounding and lets you relax and unwind.
15. Cathedral Bouldering
If you love mountaineering then the cathedral Bouldering is a place you cannot miss. Cathedral Bouldering has some of the most unique and beautiful granite walls, where you can try your hand at rock climbing. The best time to visit this is the summers, but you can also visit in winter and try skiing.
These are some of the things you can do and see in the Yosemite National Park. You will never get bored in here, and if you are planning a family vacation, then this is the perfect place. Here, you will get an opportunity to escape the grasps of the city and get closer to nature.