Looking for great things to do in Yosemite? It is the land to explore the true beauty of nature. From waterfalls, historic art, traditional culture, hiking trails, and valleys, you will have one of the chances to see all this in one location.
Yosemite is a popular attraction of millions of hikers, nature lovers, artists, and campers. It consists of breathtaking views of the forest, wildlife and you can the diversification of plants and trees.
From climbing difficult peaks to the magnificent view of mountains and valleys, all are present in a single location. We have listed out the best things to do in Yosemite Nation Park and hope you like everyone on the list.
Things to do in Yosemite
Visit Yosemite falls
one of the tallest Yosemite falls is the most popular destination for hikers and adventurers. This is a huge fall that is made up of three different falls; Upper Yosemite Fall (1,430 feet), the middle cascades (675 feet), and Lower Yosemite Fall (320 feet). These three falls combine makes one of the iconic waterfalls and heaven place on the earth.
While you plan your visit to Yosemite falls, make sure you go in spring because that is the season when the fall is at its peak (because of ice melt, water volume increase). You can expect to see an ice con on the upper fall in winters, and the running water flows in summers and spring.
You can get a breathtaking view of falls from different locations in the valley- Yosemite Village and Yosemite Valley Lodge. If you want some thrill then a 1km loop trail is also there which will take you to the lower Yosemite falls. For explorers who want to see the upper falls an extra trail is also there which will be a day hike for you.
The trail begins from camp 4 and climbs up immediately after few minutes of walking. The trail is full of switchbacks, and through your journey, the trail will take you through Oakland woods.
After reaching Columbia rock (which is a 1-mile walk from the camp), you will be rewarded with some photogenic and breathtaking views of the valley and Sentinel Rock. To get a view of the upper fall, you have to walk 0.8km downhill from Columbia rock.
There is no doubt you will be surprised and amazed by the beauty up there. Besides that, the trail up there is rocky and steep. It’s amazing to see the small creek feeding one of the tallest waterfalls in North America.
Do River rafting
If You want to add some thrill to your journey then river rafting in Merced river will do it for you.
Not only that if you are who want to test the water by using their skill then this is the place for you(before doing anything you should always read the guidelines and protect yourself from hazards and other things).
There are 2 locations provided for river rafting: One is in Yosemite valley and the other is on the outer park of Merced river.
Both routes are easily accessible and fun experiences, while the one inside Yosemite valley is smoother than the outer which is level 2 or 3, depending on the weather conditions and the time of the year.
Your river rafting journey will go something like this- you will be with 2 to 4 people on the raft, and the trip will be a 3mile in a raft.
Before planing your river rafting trip you should know that this activity totally depends on the season, depth of the river, and seasonal snowmelt. Mid-July to August is regarded as the rock season for river rafting activity.
Hike to Half Dome
Half dome is one of the popular attractions of Yosemite National Park. It is one of the strenuous trails in America which makes it one of the few hikes you don’t want to miss out.
Half Dome is almost 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) above the valley floor and 8,800 feet (2,682 meters) above sea level and covering over 17 miles. While hiking through the trail you can see breathtaking views of Vernal and Nevada Falls, and a whole view of the Yosemite Valley and the High Sierra.
To be at the peak of the Half dome, most hikers almost requires 8 to 12 hour and they must be in a good shape.
As it is one of the strenuous trails in America, hikers must attain a permit for hiking the trail. If any hikers are looking to hike this amazing trail, he should always the dates as the cable route is only accessible before Memorial Day weekend in May and it closes after Columbus Day weekend in October.
Also, every hiker must attain a permit and should be fully fit when hiking. There are many cases and hikers are rescued every year. To get a permit, the hiker must apply with the reservation system.
There are only 300 hikers allowed to hike on Half dome each day. The reservation system is selected via the lottery system.
The hike consists of two metal cables that help the hikers to climb 400 feet to the summit without rock climbing equipment.
Hiking between cables is one of the thrilling adventures you can experience in your lifetime.
If you are scared of hiking you can also see the magnificent glory of Half dome from a Tunnel view of glacier point, and for the closest view, Mirror Lake hike is the best option.
Explore Tunnel View
The magnificent entrance to the Youstremate valley where you can see the wonders of El Capitan on the left and Bridalveil Fall on the right. Hikers could easily see the Half dome summer and amazing waterfalls around the corner.
The best time to visit the tunnel view is in the afternoon, as in the morning the shadows cover the entire tunnel.
In the afternoon, you are capable of seeing every inch of the tunnel. The tunnel is filled with wilderness, diversity of plants and animals. According to a few hikers, the center of the tunnel has the magic power of making everyone peaceful.
Well, to know for sure check out the best hiking trails in Yosemite. If you are thinking about visiting, always make sure to visit early before summer as it is mostly crowded at that time.
No advance hiking equipment is required and the trail is accessible near the parking lots. The ultimate thing about the tunnel view is that it changes every season.
In early springs the Bridalveil Fall is at peak flow and in the winter every inch of the mountains and trails are covered with snow.
Visit El Capitan
Visit Glacier point
Glacier point is one of the shortest hikes in Yosemite national park yet one of the most popular destinations for visitors and photographers who visit here every year.
Glacier point is a 7,200 feet overlook which provides beautiful scenic views of Yosemite Valley. Some of the highlights of the trail are- the point near sunset where you can meet with a lot of photographers and enjoy the view of sunset on rocks.
Another main highlight of the trail is a scenic view of half dome and Nevada & Vernal Falls which are Yosemite’s two famous landmarks.
This is one of the most crowded trails in Yosemite because the trail is closed from May to November and the only way to reach there is through skis.
The best time to visit the trail is in spring because the views from the point are more amazing like sunsets and view of two waterfalls.
Although you can visit the glacier any day when the trail is open but if you want to get the most out of it then spring is the best time because water is on its peak in waterfalls and the view is more clear.
Trail also has a gift shop and cafeteria area for snacks, you can buy gifts from the shop as a memory sign, just keep in mind that shops are not open during winter.
Visit Yosemite Museum and Indian village
Located near valley visitor center Yosemite museum and Indian village is full of fascinating displays of culture, and history of native Miwok and Paiute Indians.
This is a great place to know about the cultural history of the place and to know how people contributed to the place. This is a great place to enrich your experience when visiting Yosemite valley.
The Indian village of Ahwahnee consists of a Bark house, Miwok cabin, chief house, sweet house, and ceremonial roundhouse. Each house has its own meaning. The simple description of each house goes like this- Bark-covered houses were homes to the people who once used to live in Yosemite Valley.
Miwok are also homes to people back from 1820 to 1920, this change from bark house to Mikow occurred in 1830 when non-Indians settled in Yosemite in 1830.
Chief houses are specially given to chiefs or leaders of mikow to host large dinners. Sweet house is used before hunting by men and to heat, the room oak-wood fire was used.
Ceremonial roundhouses were used by villagers for special activities or functions, these are also known as Hanni.
Museum and Indian village near the valley visitor center can be accessed throughout the year anyday. The entry is totally free here.
If you are a hiker who loves to trek the earth by your footsteps then Yosemite valley has a lot to offer you. There is every trail from mild to tough that suits a particular hiker whether you are experienced or not.
Covering over 1000 sq foot miles, Yosemite National park has many trails that are just one foot away. So, if you are a hiker then pack your hiking boots with you and explore the beauty of the valley by witnessing awe-inspiring vistas, granite icons, breathtaking waterfalls, and fascinating history.
Halfdome cable hike is one of the most popular hikes in Yosemite which combines two other trails that lead to Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls where you can witness the breathtaking view of the waterfall.
Besides that, Yosemite valley has a lot of other trails that will take you through the wilderness of Yosemite valley and give you a memorable and thrilling experience.
Every trail in Yosemite has something different to offer its visitors. Trails
You may like- Best Day Hikes in Yosemite
Camp on Tioga Road
One of the best relaxing places is near Tioga Road, Highway 120 where you can see the alpine magnificent scenery.
All of the Yosemite valleys can be seen from one point and every hiker who visited uses this for summer hiking and camping.
At night there is a clear sky filled with stars and in the front, you have the ultimate view of the whole valley. It is considered the most photogenic spot in the entire world.
You can also mountain peaks and sky reflection in the water. The election is almost 9,945 feet and it is associated with the east entrance known as Tioga Pass. To get to this amazing location, you should wait till summer as it is only open at that time.
The few things that attract visitors to this gorgeous place are Olmsted Point and Tenaya Lake and along with this, there are multiple hiking trails.
For a short hike, you can visit from Tuolumne Meadows to Lembert Dome. Visiting this spot is the best thing you can do in Yosemite National park.
Enjoy cuisine in the Ahwahnee Dining Room
Sightseeing is never finished and enjoyed without the finest cuisine in your stomach. But if you are in Yosemite national park, you’ll have the option to eat the best food in a world-class restaurant.
Stared in 1927 and located on the outskirts of the national park, this restaurant is providing delicious traditional food. The Ahwahnee is about 150,000-square-foot and consists of 97 hotel rooms, parlors, and suites.
Every inch of the hotel is designed in an original native culture. Hikers can enjoy the views of Yosemite icons, including Glacier Point, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls from the hotel as it is located below the Royal Arches.
When the hikers get inside the dining room, they can enjoy the old historic sculptures and 130 feet long seating area. The hotel is also featured in the classic horror movie of 1980 The Shining.
If you want to eat traditional American cuisine, you may have to change your attire a bit.
According to hotel policy, gentlemen should avoid shorts, T-shirts, tank tops, flip-flops, and baseball caps and only should only wear long pants and a shirt with a collar.
And for women, it is acceptable to wear a dress, skirt, or long pants with a blouse.
Visit Ansel Adams Gallery
Want to know the original story of the Yosemite National park, Ansel Adams Gallery is the one where you go.
In the memory of the late Ansel Easton Adams who shot his first photos at the age of 12. After being inspired by the beauty of the Yosemite National park and his love for photography he worked as a member of the Sierra Club.
He was known for his black-and-white images of America’s natural grandeur and the first one who shot the inner beauty of the park.
You can see the early photographic works in the gallery and a few of his photos were sold at Sotheby’s New York in 2010 for $722,500. You can see them go through history and see how the park is changed.
The gallery is located in the heart of the Valley where visitors can enjoy the beauty of Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, and Glacier Point. Visit the gallery to see the masterpiece work of fine arts, handicrafts, and an original collection of Ansel Adams photographs.
Visit Bridalveil Fall
Located on the south side of the Yosemite valley, you can enjoy the magnificent views of the waterfall. Falling from the height of 188 meters (617 ft) and could easily be reached with the foot.
Although it is not as huge as Yosemite falls, it is still worth visiting. To visit the Bridalveil fall, you only have to take down a short trail that direct is connect the end of the base.
It is one of the easiest trails that does not require any experience and any age group people can easily visit the fall.
Where visitors can enjoy the water spray on their faces and the sound of the water as it crashed on the boulders.
These falls easily can be sighted from the Tunnel view and you can get great photographic scenery from that spot. It is one of the most favorite locations to click a picture.