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Yosemite Valley picture in Yosemite
Yosemite Falls  picture in Yosemite
El Capitan picture in Yosemite
Bridalveil Falls picture in Yosemite
Yosemite Valley picture in Yosemite
Yosemite Falls  picture in Yosemite
El Capitan picture in Yosemite
Bridalveil Falls picture in Yosemite

Details

  • Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Neighborhood/Area Type
  • More than Full Day Time to Spend
4.6
Overall
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  • Value
    5.0
  • Food Scene
    2.5
  • Atmosphere
    5.0

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Unless you are solely planning backcountry expeditions during your trip to Yosemite, chances are you'll end up in Yosemite Valley at one point or another. That's because Yosemite Valley features much of the park's top attractions, including Tunnel View Outlook and a handful of Yosemite's most famous waterfalls, including Vernal Fall, Nevada Fall, Bridalveil Fall and Yosemite Falls, to name a few. One of the world's largest granite monoliths, El Capitan, is also located here. 

Yosemite Valley is an excellent place for first-time visitors to set up shop. In addition to housing many of the park's most popular points of interest, Yosemite Valley is home to Yosemite Village, where you'll find plenty of amenities and lodging options, including campsites and hotels as well as visitor centers, some dining options, including a grocery store, and a couple shops. There are also a handful of lookout points, picnic areas and light trails, perfect for those who aren't looking to do strenuous hiking in Yosemite.

Many of the trails in Yosemite Valley are short, flat and lead directly to top attractions. You'll find trailheads to El Capitan and Lower Yosemite Falls as well as the Valley View lookout point situated along Northside Drive. On Southside Drive, you'll find a couple short trails leading to Bridalveil Fall and the Sentinel Bridge, favored for its views of Half Dome. If you're seeking something more than a photo op or stroll, hike longer trails, such as Mirror Lake loop, a 5-mile roundtrip journey, or the Yosemite Valley Trail. The Yosemite Valley Trail is 7 miles for the half loop and 11 miles for the full loop, taking hikers through valley meadows and to El Capital and Lower Yosemite Falls.

Yosemite Valley is accessible via highways 120, 140 and 41. Yosemite Valley is also where you'll find the bulk of the park's free shuttle stops. The shuttle stops at campsites, places to eat, as well as trailheads, including the Mist Trail. There are no set hours or admission fees for Yosemite Valley, though businesses have their own hours. For more information on Yosemite Valley, visit Yosemite National Park's website

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Hotels Nearby

  • Thing to Do
  • Hotel
The Majestic Yosemite Hotel

The Majestic Yosemite Hotel ...

  • 1.0 Miles Away
  • 4.0-star Hotel Class
Yosemite Lodge at the Falls

Yosemite Lodge at the Falls ...

  • 0.3 Miles Away
  • 2.0-star Hotel Class
Housekeeping Camp

Housekeeping Camp ...

  • 0.6 Miles Away
  • 1.5-star Hotel Class
See all hotels in Yosemite »

More Best Things to Do in Yosemite

Yosemite Valley picture in Yosemite
Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Neighborhood/Area Type
More than Full Day Time to Spend
Tunnel View picture in Yosemite
Hiking, Natural Wonders, Recreation Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
Glacier Point picture in Yosemite
Hiking, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Half Dome picture in Yosemite
Hiking, Natural Wonders, Sightseeing Type
More than Full Day Time to Spend
Golden Tuolumne Meadows picture in Yosemite
Hiking Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Mist Trail picture in Yosemite
Hiking, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Mariposa Grove picture in Yosemite
Hiking, Natural Wonders, Sightseeing Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
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#1 Yosemite Valley Unless you are solely planning backcountry expeditions during your trip to Yosemite, chances are you'll end up in Yosemite Valley at one point or another. That's because Yosemite ... Read more » Photograph by Chanon Kanjanavasoontara / Getty Images

#2 Tunnel View Outlook Along with Glacier Point, Tunnel View is widely considered to be the most popular outlook in all of Yosemite. From its vantage point, travelers get an eyeful of the majestic ... Read more » f11photo / Getty Images

#3 Glacier Point Glacier Point is considered one of the best and most comprehensive lookouts in Yosemite. Visitors regularly describe Glacier Point's sweeping, panoramic vistas as "breathtaking," calling it a truly can ... Read more » Powerfocusfotografie / Getty Images

#4 Half Dome Hiking Yosemite's Half Dome Cables Route has been described as unforgettable and even life-changing by travelers. But this expedition is not for the faint of heart. The trail is ... Read more » Mark C Stevens / Getty Images

#5 Tuolumne Meadows In the east section of the park you'll find Tuolumne Meadows, known for being one of the Sierra Nevada's largest high-elevation meadows at 8,600 feet. Here, you'll find ... Read more » David H. Carriere / Getty Images

#6 Mist Trail The Mist Trail is one of the park's most popular trails. What makes The Mist Trail so unique is not its sites Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall but how ... Read more » Anna Gorin / Getty Images

#7 Mariposa Grove "Giant" seems to be an understatement for this expansive grove of Sequoia trees in the southernmost section of Yosemite. Mariposa is one of three groves in the park where visitors can ... Read more » Scott_Walton / Getty Images

Yosemite Valley picture in Yosemite
Tunnel View picture in Yosemite
Glacier Point picture in Yosemite
Half Dome picture in Yosemite
Golden Tuolumne Meadows picture in Yosemite
Mist Trail picture in Yosemite
Mariposa Grove picture in Yosemite
Yosemite Valley picture in Yosemite
Tunnel View picture in Yosemite
Glacier Point picture in Yosemite
Half Dome picture in Yosemite
Golden Tuolumne Meadows picture in Yosemite
Mist Trail picture in Yosemite
Mariposa Grove picture in Yosemite

For an excellent photo op in Yosemite Valley, head over to Valley View You can find this beautiful view right off of Northside Drive near Pohono Bridge.  Photograph by Chanon Kanjanavasoontara / Getty Images

Tunnel View is the most popular lookout spot in Yosemite. From here, you can see top sights such as Half Dome and El Capitan, both of which are located in Yosemite Valley f11photo / Getty Images

Glacier Point's summit offers spectacular views of the Yosemite Valley, particularly Half Dome. Powerfocusfotografie / Getty Images

Half Dome is probably Yosemite's most famous rock formation, towering at more than 8,800 feet above Yosemite Valley. Mark C Stevens / Getty Images

Tuolumne Meadows is known for being one of the Sierra Nevada's highest elevation meadows at 8,600 feet above sea level.  David H. Carriere / Getty Images

Easily one of Yosemite's most popular trails, the Mist Trail takes visitors right up alongside Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall. Anna Gorin / Getty Images

Mariposa Grove is the largest seqouia grove in Yosemite, housing about 500 mature sequoia trees. Scott_Walton / Getty Images

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