Valley, Yosemite National Park

4.5 out of 5 stars 58 Reviews

Yosemite National Park

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • Valley
    by blueskyjohn
  • views easily seen by a short walk in from the road
    views easily seen by a short walk in...
    by blueskyjohn
  • Valley
    by blueskyjohn
  • chewy3326's Profile Photo

    Washington Column

    by chewy3326 Written Jul 5, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Washington Column

    Although it's commonly seen and photographed, most people who've visited Yosemite wouldn't be able to name Washington Column. This pillar of granite is at the end of a ridge leading down from North Dome and can be clearly seen from the eastern half of the valley, including places like Stoneman, Cook's, and Ahwahnee Meadow. Washington Column is very popular with rock climbers (with the famous South Face route. You can find alot of this info around the Mountain Shop at Curry Village...)

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • chewy3326's Profile Photo

    The Three Brothers

    by chewy3326 Written Jul 5, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Three Brothers

    I never figured out which angle most of the photos of the Three Brothers were taken from. This was taken along Northside Drive, not a very good photo. The Three Brothers is a formation of three adjacent rock peaks, named for hte three sons of the chief Tenaya. The Three Brothers have fissures like the ones of Profile Cliff across the valley; they are visible from Taft Point. The Three Brothers are sandwiched between El Capitan and Yosemite Falls.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • chewy3326's Profile Photo

    Happy Isles

    by chewy3326 Written Jul 5, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Merced River

    At the eastern end of the valley, you'll find the Happy Isles Nature Center, as well as a few short nature trails. Happy Isles Nature Center closes at 4 PM, and I arrived later than that, so I was not able to see it; but I walked some of the nature trails. A very short trail, probably a few hundred yards long, leads to the Rockfall Exhibit, where you can view the cliff that the July 10, 1996 rockfall plunged down. It was one of the costliest rockfalls in park history; when rocks fall, they displace air, causing a blast of air to sweep over the surroundings. This rockfall ended up causing damage to the nature center, and killed one man.

    A footbridge leads over the Merced River to the Happy Isles the nature center was named for. Though small, they are heavily forested and pleasant. You could spend a while walking the short path on them, even though each island is probably no more than 50 meters long. There's a plaque on the path that honors Stephen Mather, the first director of the National Park Service.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • chewy3326's Profile Photo

    Stoneman Meadow

    by chewy3326 Written Jul 4, 2006

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Half Dome above Stoneman Meadow
    2 more images

    At the east end of the valley near Curry Village, Stoneman Meadow is easily accessible and makes an excellent place to view a sunset. The most impressive landmark from here is Half Dome; but Staircase Fall, Glacier Point, and Yosemite Falls are still in view. A boardwalk leads across the meadow for views of Glacier Point. You'll often find deer grazing in this meadow.

    Nearby, the Stoneman Bridge spans the Merced River. Unlike the nicer Sentinel Bridge, Stoneman Bridge offers no views except for the Merced River and mosquitoes.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • chewy3326's Profile Photo

    Royal Arches

    by chewy3326 Written Jul 4, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Royal Arches
    1 more image

    Royal Arches is somewhat of a misnomer, considering there are no true arches at Royal Arches (don't expect Delicate Arch or something along that line). Rather, granite on the valley wall below North Dome has exfoliated in a way that has created an arch-like depression on the wall. It is rather photogenic, especially as a backdrop for the Ahwahnee Hotel; Glacier Point, Ahwahnee Meadow and Stoneman Meadow offer other good views. It seems that early in the season, a cascade runs down Royal Arches; unfortunately, it also seems I arrived too late at Yosemite to see it.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • chewy3326's Profile Photo

    Lost Arrow

    by chewy3326 Written Jul 4, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Lost Arrow

    Thundering Yosemite Falls easily outshines any nearby features of the valley wall, and Lost Arrow is no exception. Sometimes this tiny pinnacle of granite will fade into the walls of the valley behind it and disappear; at other times, it's very visible. The rock formation is in-between Yosemite Falls and Yosemite Point, and is a good place to spot rock climbers. It was formed slowly when water in cracks between it and the valley wall froze, enlargening cracks and eventually spliting it apart.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • chewy3326's Profile Photo

    Clouds Rest

    by chewy3326 Written Jul 3, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Clouds Rest
    1 more image

    Though it is largely invisible from car-acessible areas of the valley floor, giant Clouds Rest presents its mighty face to those who hike up Tenaya Canyon, visit Glacier Point, or drive Tioga Road. It is the largest expanse of granite in Yosemite National Park, and at 9926 feet high, more than 1000 feet taller than neighboring (and more famous) Half Dome. Mtncorg has some excellent tips about hiking to the top of this peak; visit his Yosemite NP page for that. When I was in Yosemite, the trail to the top of Clouds Rest was still covered by snow, so I didn't hike it. Clouds Rest was named because clouds often hover about the peak; but when I was Yosemite, I never saw anything along those lines happen.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • chewy3326's Profile Photo

    Liberty Cap

    by chewy3326 Written Jul 2, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Liberty Cap
    2 more images

    Though Liberty Cap appears in many famous photos of Vernal and Nevada Fall, it is not very well known. Named for it's shape like the Liberty Bell, Liberty Cap is 6,811 feet tall and rises about 1000 feet above Nevada Fall. It is surrounded by nearby Mt. Broderick, Little Yosemite Valley, and Half Dome. Liberty Cap is visible from just about everywhere on the Mist and John Muir Trails, as well as from Glacier and Washburn Points.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • chewy3326's Profile Photo

    Valley Visitor Center

    by chewy3326 Written Jul 2, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Valley Visitor Center

    If you've lost (or found) something, need to ask a ranger a question, or want to learn about various park formations, head to the Valley Visitor Center, just west of Yosemite Village. The visitor center opens at 8 AM and closes at 6 PM (summer hours). Inside, you'll find an information desk, a model of Yosemite Valley as well as the entire park, and a large number of interpretive panels explaining various things on places like El Capitan, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and the Three Brothers. A bookstore is immediately to your left after entering the visitor center. Exiting out the back door, you'll find the small theater, where the Spirit of Yosemite shows every half hour; it's an interesting though not too educational film.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • chewy3326's Profile Photo

    North Dome

    by chewy3326 Written Jul 2, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    North Dome
    2 more images

    North Dome is a somewhat irregularly shaped dome, and except from some viewpoints, doesn't look very round. It's just across the valley from the more famous Half Dome (once called 'South Dome'), rising just above Royal Arches and Washington Column; adjacent to North Dome is Basket Dome, which, when viewed from Glacier Point, is similarly shaped. It is possible to hike to the top of North Dome; we did not do it, though. Trails lead to the top either by climbing up from valley via the Yosemite Falls Trail, or descending Indian Ridge from a trailhead on Tioga Road.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • chewy3326's Profile Photo

    Mt. Watkins

    by chewy3326 Written Jul 2, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Mt. Watkins
    1 more image

    Though not particularly well-known, Mt. Watkins is one of Yosemite's most commanding and impressive domes. It rises to a height of 2000 feet above Tenaya Canyon, and is especially impressive when viewed from the lower reaches of Tenaya Canyon or Mirror Lake. You can also see it from Glacier Point, where the dome seems particularly round. Mt. Watkins is somewhat popular with climbers. In his book "The Yosemite," John Muir described Mt. Watkins as "the El Capitan" of Tenaya Canyon, saying it rivaled the more famous monolith.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • Martin_S.'s Profile Photo

    Yosemite, "The" Valley

    by Martin_S. Updated Jul 2, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Yosemite, view from valley floor
    3 more images

    Along the valley floor and on your way from the visitor center to any of the entrances you should stop and take a look around. From the huge vistas looming overhead to the grassy meadows and small lakes or river you will find much to occupy your eyes.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

  • chewy3326's Profile Photo

    Cook's Meadow

    by chewy3326 Written Jul 1, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Half Dome from Cook's Meadow
    4 more images

    Cook's Meadow is undoubtably the most beautiful meadow in the park, rivaling even Tuolumne Meadows. The five photos shown here were taken on four different visits to the meadow. Ansel Adams took many photos here, and it's really not hard to see why. There is probably no greater perspective of Half Dome than from here; walk out onto the boardwalks in the meadow and you'll also be able to see Glacier Point, Three Brothers, the Sentinel, Cathedral Spires, and both Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls. Since the view is so wide, you'll probably want to come to meadow at least three times: sunrise, noon, and sunset. If you start at either the Sentinel Bridge Parking, Yosemite Falls Parking, or the Valley Visitor Center, you can make a short loop around the meadow. Although it would probably only take you 20 minutes to walk the meadow, plan on at least an hour; this is captivating place. Cook's Meadow was named after a certain Cook who once grazed cattle here; the meadow was originally formed by the Ahwahneechee who periodically burned this area. Please stay on maintained trails or boardwalks; the Park Service is trying to restore Cook's Meadow.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • chewy3326's Profile Photo

    Ahwahnee Meadow

    by chewy3326 Written Jul 1, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Half Dome
    1 more image

    As far as meadows go, this is not my most favorite in the valley; certainly, it sees less visitors compared to Cook's and Sentinel Meadows. But Ahwahnee Meadow does have a classic view of Half Dome and Washington Column, and is a good, if mosquito-ridden, place to watch a sunset. If you visit www.yosemite.org/vryos/, you'll find a live webcam from the meadow. Other features visible from the meadow are North Dome and Yosemite Falls. The Ahwahnee Hotel is nearby.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • chewy3326's Profile Photo

    Valley Portal

    by chewy3326 Written Jun 30, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Valley Portal View

    As far as views go, Valley Portal is not the best. But it is very beautiful and very accessible. Just off Hwy 120 (Big Oak Flat Road), you can take in a view of the Merced River Canyon, giant Elephant Rock, Cascade Falls, and Cathedral Spires towering over Bridalveil Fall. Notice how this area, which has been less glaciated than Yosemite Valley, is more V-shaped contrasting to Yosemite Valley's U-shaped evidence of glaciation. This viewpoint is best visited in the afternoon.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Yosemite National Park

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

87 travelers online now

Comments

Hotels Near Valley
4.0 out of 5 stars
4 Reviews
0.2 miles away
Show Prices
3.5 out of 5 stars
24 Reviews
0.3 miles away
Show Prices
4.0 out of 5 stars
15 Reviews
1.3 miles away
Show Prices

View all Yosemite National Park hotels