Points of Interest
With over 750, 000 acres to experience, Yosemite can become overwhelming for some. If you want to remove any worry from your vacation, visit our partner Yosemite Family Adventures and see if they have the perfect sightseeing tour for your family and group. They will also customize the perfect tour that will cater to your specific requests.
Yosemite Valley is world famous for its impressive waterfalls, meadows, cliffs and unusual rock formations. Yosemite Valley is accessible by car all year.
Tunnel View: Provides one of the most famous views of Yosemite Valley. From here you see El Capitan, Bridalveil Fall and Half Dome. The viewpoint is on the east end of the Wawona Tunnel on Highway 41.
El Capitan Meadow: Provides a view straight up of El Capitan and Cathedral Rock. Located along the one-way Northside Drive
Sentinel Meadow and the Yosemite Chapel: A great place to see Yosemite Falls.
Sentinel Bridge: This is famous for its views of Half Dome and a popular place to get married.
The best time to see the falls is during the spring runoff; they have little or no water in the late summer and fall.
Yosemite Falls: Flows approximately November through July with the peak flow in May. Yosemite Falls is one of the world’s tallest waterfalls. It’s made up of Upper Yosemite Falls (1430 feet), the middle cascades (675 feet), and Lower Yosemite Falls (320 feet). There’s a one mile loop trail that leads to the base. There is a shuttle stop at the base of the fall. You can park at the Yosemite Falls parking lot or at the Yosemite Lodge and walk across the street.
Bridalveil Fall: This waterfall usually flows year round with its peak flow in May. The top is 620 feet high. You can see the fall from the Wawona Road (Highway 41) or Big Oak Flat entrance. There is a signed parking lot on your way into the parking lot. You can walk to the base.
Horsetail Fall: This is 1000 feet high and flows typically December through April. To see Horsetail, park at the El Capitan picnic area on Northside Drive, west of Yosemite Lodge. You can see it from the road.
Nevada Fall: This waterfall flows all year with its peak in May. It’s
594 feet high. To get to Nevada Falls, you need to hike to it from Happy Isles. (see the information on the hiking trails) You can also see the falls from the top of Glacier Point viewing area.
Vernal Falls: Flows all year. It’s 317 feet high. You can hike to the top from Happy Isles (see the information on hiking trails) or walk to the base at the bridge from Happy Isles. You can also view it from the top of Glacier Point.
Sentinel Falls: About 2000 feet. Flows approximately March through June. This waterfall is located on the south side of Yosemite Valley, just west of Sentinel Rock.
Ribbon Fall: Flows March through June. 1612 feet high.
Chilnuala Falls: This waterfall is located in Wawona. It’s 2200 feet high and flows all year with its peak in May. You can’t see this waterfall from the road, you can only hike to it on a very steep trail (see hiking trails).
Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias
The Mariposa Grove is located 36 miles (one hour) south of Yosemite Valley or 30 minutes south of Yosemite West at the south entrance on Highway 41. It is the largest stand of giant Sequoias in Yosemite. The road to Mariposa Grove is closed to cars during the winter months. There are also hiking trails (see the hiking information).
CLOSED FOR RESTORATION – MAY, 2015 – 2017
Wawona is the home to the historic “Big Trees Hotel” (formerly known as the Wawona Hotel), dating from the late nineteenth century. The Pioneer Yosemite History Center is a collection of historical buildings. It’s located just over the covered bridge from the hotel. There is also a small market and gift shop. This area is open all year.
Glacier Point is a spectacular viewing area of the whole valley waterfalls and half dome. The road ends at Glacier Point where there is a large parking area. It’s an easy walk to the viewpoint. There are also hiking trails. The road is closed during the winter.
Tioga Road and Tuolumne Meadows
The Tioga Road (Highway 120 through the park) is generally open to vehicles from late May or early June through some time in November. It offers a 39 mile scenic drive between Crane Flat and Tuolumne Meadows through forests, meadows, lakes and granite domes. There are many turnouts to pull over and enjoy the view or park and picnic at one of the lakes. Tenaya Lake actually has a beach, so it’s a great place to go swimming and the water is shallow at the shore for the kids. You’ll also see plenty of hiking trails along side the road.
If you continue to Lee Vining, Mono Lake, stop at the Mobil Station just before the 395 (395 south heads over to June Lake and Mammoth), it’s a great place for lunch. It has a large patio to enjoy your lunch and the view of Mono Lake. On Thursday and Sunday evenings, they even have live music.