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Best Things To Do in Yosemite

Yosemite has several natural wonders that anyone who visits must see. Your to-do list should include: Half DomeGlacier Point, Mariposa Grove and Nevada Falls. Hikers, follow the masses along the John Muir Trail and the Mist Trail, but also escape the crowds via Artist Point, an under-visited trail with spectacular views. After a long day of hiking, climbing or skiing, adventurers can put their feet up and grab a bite in Yosemite Village

How we rank Things to Do

#1 Glacier Point

#1 in Yosemite

Glacier Point is considered one of the best and most comprehensive lookouts in the park. It's also one of the highest points, featuring views of Yosemite landmarks like the Half Dome or the floor of Yosemite Valley. Unlike many points in Yosemite, Glacier Point is accessible via roadway, allowing drivers to forego a difficult climb. This is particularly fortunate if you're traveling with young children who would otherwise be unable to enjoy a scenic, high-altitude view of the Yosemite Valley. more
Hiking Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Glacier Point
Glacier Point is considered one of the best and most comprehensive lookouts in the park. It's also one of the highest points, featuring views of Yosemite landmarks like the Half Dome or the floor of Yosemite Valley. Unlike many points in Yosemite, Glacier Point is accessible via roadway, allowing drivers to forego a difficult climb. This is particularly fortunate if you're traveling with young children who would otherwise be unable to enjoy a scenic, high-altitude view of the Yosemite Valley. more

#2 Half Dome

#2 in Yosemite

Hiking Yosemite's Half Dome Cables Route has been described as unforgettable and even life-changing. But this expedition is not for the faint of heart. The challenge begins immediately, with a hike along the Mist Trail to Vernal Fall, a steep ascent that serves as a test to see if you're in adequate condition for the remaining journey. The hike then continues to the top of Nevada Fall, followed by a long, flat section through Yosemite Valley. When you finally reach the base of the dome, a steep rocky climb finally takes you to the Half Dome Cables, a vertical, exposed rock face scalable by two steel cables. more
Hiking Type
More than Full Day Time to Spend
Half Dome
Hiking Yosemite's Half Dome Cables Route has been described as unforgettable and even life-changing. But this expedition is not for the faint of heart. The challenge begins immediately, with a hike along the Mist Trail to Vernal Fall, a steep ascent that serves as a test to see if you're in adequate condition for the remaining journey. The hike then continues to the top of Nevada Fall, followed by a long, flat section through Yosemite Valley. When you finally reach the base of the dome, a steep rocky climb finally takes you to the Half Dome Cables, a vertical, exposed rock face scalable by two steel cables. more

#3 Tuolumne Meadows

#3 in Yosemite

In the east section of the park you'll find Tuolumne Meadows, known for its flat grassland, winding river and excellent rock climbing opportunities. It's also recognized for being one of the Sierra Nevada's largest high-elevation meadows (at 8,600 feet). The area lacks the daunting rock walls of the park's main area and instead features short- to medium-range climbing and hiking routes that are refreshingly devoid of heavy crowds. And with that, the meadows attract a cross-section of travelers, from serious rock climbers to families seeking an alternative place to explore. more
Hiking Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Tuolumne Meadows
In the east section of the park you'll find Tuolumne Meadows, known for its flat grassland, winding river and excellent rock climbing opportunities. It's also recognized for being one of the Sierra Nevada's largest high-elevation meadows (at 8,600 feet). The area lacks the daunting rock walls of the park's main area and instead features short- to medium-range climbing and hiking routes that are refreshingly devoid of heavy crowds. And with that, the meadows attract a cross-section of travelers, from serious rock climbers to families seeking an alternative place to explore. more

#4 Mist Trail and Vernal Fall

#4 in Yosemite

One of the most popular hiking trails in Yosemite, the Mist Trail serves as a gateway to many of the park's top sights, including Half Dome. The trail attracts the hardcore hikers but also accommodates novices with shorter half-day hikes. Consider taking the Mist Trail to Vernal Fall: The challenging hike requires you climb 500 rocky stairs to the top of the waterfall, allowing for a unique vantage point of the waterway and the surrounding park. Vernal Fall's water plummets 317 feet down into the Merced River below. more
Hiking Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Mist Trail and Vernal Fall
One of the most popular hiking trails in Yosemite, the Mist Trail serves as a gateway to many of the park's top sights, including Half Dome. The trail attracts the hardcore hikers but also accommodates novices with shorter half-day hikes. Consider taking the Mist Trail to Vernal Fall: The challenging hike requires you climb 500 rocky stairs to the top of the waterfall, allowing for a unique vantage point of the waterway and the surrounding park. Vernal Fall's water plummets 317 feet down into the Merced River below. more

#5 Ansel Adams Gallery

#5 in Yosemite

If you need a break from the outdoors and are curious about Yosemite's cultural offerings, visit the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Village. The gallery showcases the work of the famous photographer who spent much of his life and career photographing Yosemite in epic, black and white grandeur. Adams' haunting images of Half Dome and Vernal Fall made Yosemite a byword for the drama of the American West, and arguably transformed the park into a nationally renowned institution. more
Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Ansel Adams Gallery
If you need a break from the outdoors and are curious about Yosemite's cultural offerings, visit the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Village. The gallery showcases the work of the famous photographer who spent much of his life and career photographing Yosemite in epic, black and white grandeur. Adams' haunting images of Half Dome and Vernal Fall made Yosemite a byword for the drama of the American West, and arguably transformed the park into a nationally renowned institution. more

#6 Yosemite Village

#6 in Yosemite

One of the few facilities centers in the national park, the Yosemite Village serves as a way station for travelers heading for the hiking trails or campgrounds. If you're looking for nice lodging within the park or simply want to add equipment to your supplies, the Village is the place to go. Several lodges within the village have souvenir gift shops and a handful of hotels offer some upscale dining options, such as The Ahwahnee. Yosemite Village also contains a bike trail and a shuttle stop.  more
Neighborhood/Area Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Yosemite Village
One of the few facilities centers in the national park, the Yosemite Village serves as a way station for travelers heading for the hiking trails or campgrounds. If you're looking for nice lodging within the park or simply want to add equipment to your supplies, the Village is the place to go. Several lodges within the village have souvenir gift shops and a handful of hotels offer some upscale dining options, such as The Ahwahnee. Yosemite Village also contains a bike trail and a shuttle stop.  more

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