Park Views, Yosemite National Park
Yosemite Valley is the largest and most popular area in the park. Yosemite Village is the hub of it all and is where all park services are located. Large crowds of tourists stream off buses and gather in masse on the restaurant patio and in the general store, seemingly unaware of the granite monoliths that loom in the distance.
The valley is a canyon carved by the Merced River. The river carried glaciers through the valley, chipping away at weaker granite and leaving intact portions now known as El Capitan and Cathedral Rocks.
A shuttle bus system runs through the Valley, stopping at the hotels, popular trails such as Yosemite Falls and the visitor centers throughout the valley. Paved bike trails stretch for about 12 miles through the valley, providing an alternative to the crowded confines of the shuttle buses.
Yosemite Valley is really the nerve center of the park. Many tours and trams depart from Yosemite Village. Nearby Curry Village and Happy Isles are the starting point for several hikes, including the Mist Trail. Because of its popularity, the area is extremely crowded and parking is scarse in the summer. Your best bet is to leave your car in a day parking lot and navigate by shuttle, bike or on foot throughout the valley.
Favorite thing: Yosemite is a plethora of striking sights, but this was one of my favorites. Driving on the one way road, the forest opens up to a wide meadow and, looking to the side, you find yourself at eye level with El Capitan. The Captain is so close that it is nearly impossible to take a photo which covers it in its entirety.
The whole persona of the park is the amazing scenery. Most of the time one is trying to get to a vantage point so one can take a picture that will capture in some small way the amazing waterfalls and rock formations.
Fondest memory: My mom wanted to get a good picture of the reflection in Mirror Lake. So we got up early because the 'mirror' didn't work if there was any wind and we wanted to have the lake be absolutely still.
There was a little boy with his dad throwing rocks into the lake making ripples. My mom soon set them straight, and we did get our picture.
Favorite thing: Get up. Get out of bed. See what the new day has in store. Don't be afraid. Go ahead and point your camera into the glare of the rising sun. It's all a new adventure just waiting especially for you. And there is no place better to greet the new day than Yosemite National Park.
Favorite thing: This view of a portion of Cathedral Rocks is typical of what can be seen on the floor of Yosemite Valley. An amber meadow, the deep green of towering pines, which are in turn dwarfed by the sheer granite cliffs. Cliffs that were carved into these fascinating formations by milenia of advancing and retreating glaciers.
This is my favorite spot in Yosemite. A mountain stream and a tranquil little forest glen. Just perfect under the late afternoon sun. If only I could stop time and stay a spell, getting lost in the wonderment of nature in the high country.
(and no I'm not going to tell you where this is--find your own perfect spots, the thrill is in the discovery)
Favorite thing: At sunset there will be throngs of photographers complete with tripods and lenses the size of a volkswagon at any popular turnout. But don't let yourself be intimidated by their swagger and talk of f-stops. Muscle your way to the front and snap away, even if all you have is a point and click camera. The rocks don't know the difference between a Minolta pocket camera and a multithousand dollar Hasselblad. Chances are, your pictures will turn out just fine.
"Scoured by glaciers and sculpted by water, nowhere in the world is granite so overwhelming as here. The towering cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome are but two of many that leave you breathless. Most of the others have names but the public do not know them, unlike the waterfalls whose wafting voluminous waters leave you gasping in awe as they slew from side to side at the mercy of wind pushing up the canyon.
If you enter Yosemite from Hwy 41 (from Fresno), you'll come to this fairly long tunnel. Once you get out of the tunnel, you'll come upon this view. Quite stunning.
My favorite thing about Yosemite is the beauty and freshness of it all. Also, it's so peaceful there. I only had part of one day there-wish I had more.
Favorite thing: Heading up Glacier Point road, you'll come upon Washburn Point. Make sure to stop at the turnoff and check out the view. Its a nice one, although it can't beat the sight of Half Dome from the summit of Glacier Point Road.
* The huge valley arose from grated forces of glaciers which worn off the more soft granite layer.
* Of all the waterfalls in the park Upper Yosemite Falls is far out the highest.
* El Capitan (1067m) is the largest visible monolith on earth; it's three times the height of the Empire State Building.
* The Miwak and the Paiute Indians were the first people who discovered the beauty of Yosemite.
* The history of these tribes can be seen at the Indian Cultural Museum in Yosemite Village.
* You will have the best view over the park at Clacier Point (975m);
* The Half Dome was used as a logo for the well known computer software comapny, Sierra Entertainment.
All those tall trees, some hundreds of years old.and the huge cones which must stay in the park. Awesome sight.
We travelling on the little train with a guide taking through the history of the park and the ages of the trees
Favorite thing: As you near the rim of Yosemite Valley, at the first "scenic view," you must pull off the road and take a look. Off in the distance you see Halfdome and all the grandeur that is Yosemite. You get to let the impending feelings of peacefulness start to seep in, and you get a chance to stretch your legs after a long drive.
Yosemite Valley Tour was worth the history lesson and drive to Glacier Point was breathtaking. I would recommend Yosemite as a 'must see'. Naturally the hiking is spectacular.
Fondest memory: I could not take my eyes off the El Capitan and the way the light changed the face of this rock. The drive into the park is totally awesome every step of the way.
Favorite thing: Traveling along Hwy 41 past Wawona, you'll come across a tunnel. Just after the tunnel is a pullout with an incredible view of El Capital, Sentinel Dome, Half Dome and Bridal Veil Falls.