Yosemite National Park Travel Guide

  • Yosemite National Park
    by Sevsa
  • Half Dome from Glacier Point, Yosemite National Pk
    Half Dome from Glacier Point, Yosemite...
    by vichatherly
  • Half Dome About 1 Hour Before Sunset
    Half Dome About 1 Hour Before Sunset
    by riorich55

Yosemite National Park Highlights

  • Pro
    chewy3326 profile photo

    chewy3326 says…

     Beautiful and magnificent scenery, a lot of waterfalls 

  • Con
    goingsolo profile photo

    goingsolo says…

     Crowded, congested and hot, hot, hot during the summer 

  • In a nutshell
    mrclay2000 profile photo

    mrclay2000 says…

     Contains in Yosemite Falls the greatest natural spectacle in North America! 

Yosemite National Park Things to Do

  • Glacier Point

    Nothing prepares you for what you see when you get to Glacier Point in Yosemite. It is a high point way above the valley floor. From the gate, it is about a 25-30 minute drive. There is parking and one view point prior to getting to the actually Glacier view point. My family and I spent 3 nights in the park, during which we toured and hiked the...

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  • Mist Trail

    We hiked the "Mist Trail" in June 2010 and it was about a four hour round trip. We only walked up to Vernal Falls, which is the first set of falls and then took the top route back down again to the valley. The walk itself can be quite steep at the beginning, as we only started off at about 10:30, it was also rather crowed with other hikers. There...

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  • Mariposa Grove

    Mariposa :Grizzly Giant,Tunnel Tree & Fallen Giant Walk the Talk from Mariposa Grove. This is about 2 Kms drive from the South Entrance of Yosemite National Park. Close places to stay are the hotels around Tenaya Lake and Mariposa Town. Park the car at the designated Parking and take a hike of about 800 metres from the parking space. You will see...

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Yosemite National Park Hotels

Yosemite National Park Restaurants

  • Curry Village

    The Curry Village restaurant is a cafeteria style restaurant. You can go through pick what you want and buy it at the counter. We got some Italian food with two sides, a salad, and a drink and for both of us it was about $40. Whew. Super expensive. They also have a pizza place, a bar, and a coffee shop all in the same building. The food was not bad...

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  • Ahwahnee Restaurant

    The great architectural wonder of the Ahwahnee Hotel is best appreciated at lunch, when the light and views of the mountains are seen through the expansive wall of windows. The vintage 1927 interior architecture log construction can be seen in natural light. For this reason, those with some financial means are obligated to dine here at least once...

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  • Degnan's Deli

    Degnan's Deli pretty much has the lunch trade in Yosemite Village wrapped up, but that doesn't mean that they rest on their laurels. We had some of their outstanding homemade minestrone with Parmesan cheese on a cold spring day, and it was just what we needed.

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Yosemite National Park Nightlife

  • Night Hiking / Stargazing

    I can't believe we skipped this. There is a standard moonlight tour that meets at Yosemite Lodge, shuttle stop #8, costs $20 and lasts about 2 hours. The times vary depending the moonlight. That sound great enough, but the one night we were in Yosemite happened to be a full moon. The staff at our hostel suggested that we do the moon tour, but we...

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  • Nighttime - Put your food away

    We camped for 4 nights and it is a necessity to put your food away in the boxes they provide, so the bear do not come around during nighttime!! (Rangers rule, or $100 penalty per cooler) We saw lots of deers, they are not scared at all but no bears!!

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  • Moon Walking

    I can't believe we skipped this. There is a standard moonlight tour that meets at Yosemite Lodge, shuttle stop #8, costs $20 and lasts about 2 hours. The times vary depending the moonlight. That sound great enough, but the one night we were in Yosemite happened to be a full moon. The staff at our hostel suggested that we do the moon tour, but we...

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Yosemite National Park Transportation

  • Driving / Roads

    As the URL below notes, the carrying and use of chains by all vehicles, including rentals and those with all-weather tires, can be required at any time there is snow or ice. This can occur both on the road to the Park and within the Park -- decisions on use of tires are made independently. In other words, you may be allowed to drive to the entrance...

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  • Combined Suggestions

    Yosemite in the winter is great. 3.5 million people visit the park yearly, but 65% of those people go during the summer months. Winter is where it's at -- All the best minus the huge crowds. Read an article written by the San Francisco Chronicle about Yosemite in the winter time...

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  • Shuttle Bus

    PLANNING TO VISIT YOSEMITE? Go to the Village, park and take the shuttle bus. Trying to help out the environment as well as taking the driver out of the car, the new electric hybrid technology powered shuttle buses are doing the driving for the tourists as well as making most of the Yosemite National Park within walking distance without need of...

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Yosemite National Park Shopping

  • Great Collection of Photographic Prints

    Ansel Adams (rip) and other famous photographers have thousands of photographic prints featuring Yosemite for sale at the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Village. There are other handicrafts sold here as well. Don't expect any bargains, but these are collectible prints, not just posters.

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  • California Indian Baskets and Books

    California Native American's produced the finest basketry in the world--there is no dispute about this among basket lovers. At the museum gift shop, there are numerous baskets on an upper shelf that range in price from about $500-$5,000-. Some of these are recently made by the growing number of California Indians who have relearned the complex...

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  • Yosemite Souvenir Store

    In Yosemite Valley/Center by the big parking lot is a souvenir store where you can buy any kind of Yosemite National Park gifts, clothes, coffee cups, hats, key chains and lots more, Nice store, worth checking it out! they also sell food!

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Yosemite National Park Local Customs

  • Yosemite History

    Inspired by the scenic beauty of Yosemite and spurred on by the specter of private exploitation of Yosemite's natural wonders, conservationists appealed to Senator John Conness of California. On June 30, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill granting Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias to the State of California as an...

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  • the history of feeding bears in Yosemite

    There is a misconception that black bears are relatively harmless, at least compared to grizzlies but this is assuredly not the case. This probably stems from size comparisons and the fact that grizzlies are more noted to eat meat as well as plants. The truth is that both can be dangerous and that bears truly do differ between individuals. This can...

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  • The Legend of El Capitan

    The Yosemite Indians did not have a written language, so through the ages orally passed down stories to explain the world around them. Here is another legend that explains how El Capitan rose from the earth:Long ago in the Valley of Ahwahnee two cub bears wandered away from their mother. They saw the cool water and went in for a swim. Afterwards,...

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Yosemite National Park Warnings and Dangers

  • Animal Dangers

    During my hike of the Valley loop trail we came across a black bear. It was about 2pm just off the trail between us and the South Side drive. The bear didn't seem to notice us or at least paid us no mind. Although the bear is brown, it was considered a black bear. So be alert and if/when you encounter a bear, and it is off the trail, just mind you...

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  • Driving / Traffic

    I will echo a bit what Al has said: Yosemite in one day will be no fun. Leaving from SF and driving by car or bus is a 6 hour round trip. June is a summer vacation month so the park will be a lot more crowded as will the roads going to the park. And you mention that you will have children with you also, it will be a long and tiring day for them and...

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  • Walking / Hiking

    I bought a book called "Off the Wall - Deaths at Yosemite". It's available at the tourist shops in Yosemite and should be recommended reading for all those who venture off the main road. I shudder at times when reading it as it records many wrong things I have done bushwalking (hiking) in Australia. Even simple short walks in Yosemite can end up...

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Yosemite National Park Tourist Traps

  • Photographers Stumble Over Each Other

    It's really amazing how much photography goes on in Yosemite during the average day. Thousands of photos of Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, Bridle Veil Falls, El Cap, and so on, all day long. I found this family of Asian tourists trying to capture their son doing the Jumping Norman, with limited success. There's not much one can do, except be polite and...

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  • Too Many Gift Shops

    Yosemite is run by a concession company based in North Carolina, so I'm told, so virtually everything in the valley generates huge profits for this company. While browsing the many gift shops is certainly entertaining, be careful that this indoor activity doesn't eat up time better spent outside sightseeing around the valley.

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  • you can't miss Yosemite Falls or can...

    It's a safe bet to say that many people come to Yosemite National Park just to see the waterfalls and no falls are more famous than the park's namesakes. Unfortunately, this popularity makes them very crowded and many are left a bit disappointed by the lack of serenity. To put it simply, it's a zoo. You can actually get amazing views of the two...

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Yosemite National Park What to Pack

  • Warm Clothes / Hiking Shoes

    This being one of the top backpacking destinations in the US, a backpack might be a good thing to bring along. There is such a big network of trails, you just couldn't see them all day-hiking so you'll need to carry all your gear...you guessd it, on your back. A day hiking pack is also necessary if you don't plan on backpacking. Even if you're not...

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  • A Decent Water Bottle

    One if the most important items that you can buy, bring and use, in Yosemite is a decent water bottle. You'll need plenty of water on your summer hikes. The thin plastic shop bought bottles are okay for small hikes, but if you’re driving around the park, you'll find that because of the change in pressure, when you go from the valley floor to...

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  • Bring munchies

    A backpack of course, and water bottles. Curry Village has a cold filtered drinking water spigot inside by the buffet and you can refill free. There is ice by the coffee shop. I have an insulated water bottle and it would keep ice water cold for hours. Hat for the sun Flip flops for the showers at Curry Village, soap Recharging outlets are...

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Yosemite National Park Off The Beaten Path

  • Hikes / Trails

    The "Great Sierra Mine" sounds like a huge operation, doesn't it? Well, it's not much of a mine and certainly not great, but the trail up to it, which skirts the jewel-like Gaylor Lakes, is one of the best short hikes in Yosemite. Four miles round trip which can be done in 2-3 hours, you get a good heart-accelerating ascent then a pleasant meander...

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  • Mono Lake

    It is a very long drive over to Mono Lake but if you are driving the Tioga Road it is a side trip well worth the effort and if camping at Tuolomne Meadows, the town of Lee Vining where the lake is located is your closest place to shower, pick up supplies, or find a restaurant. The lake is not man-made but man sculpted in a sense. With Los Angeles'...

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  • Roads / Drives

    Driving up Highway 120 from Lee Vining and Mono Lake, you enter the Sierra Nevada Mountains through the Tioga Pass. The roadside scenery is breathtaking. While the western slopes of the Sierra Nevadas are covered by foothills which slowly peter out, the eastern slopes rise dramatically from the high deserts along the California-Nevada border. The...

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Yosemite National Park Sports & Outdoors

  • Rock Climbing Opportunities

    Along the north face, just west of Yosemite Falls, and near the climber's Camp 4, is a section of granite face with cracks that are ideal for beginning to moderate level climbing exercises. If you aren't a skilled climber, try just walking along the path here and see what happens. Maybe you can do as we did and strike friendship with climbers who...

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  • Valley Floor Hike

    This hike loops the valley floor. The total hike is 13 miles but has a good half way mark to make the 6.5 miles. It is a beautiful trail, very easy to hike BUT very difficult to find, especially near the village and camp 4. One main problem is the lack of signage throughout the trail but especially in the more popullar areas near Yosemite Falls. I...

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  • Tenaya Lake, kids boating fun!!

    We spent an afternoon by Tenaya Lake, it was lots of fun, we found this body of water right next to the lake, like a small whitewater rafting area, that allowed us to put our kids in an inflatable boat and let them float down (we had them on a string of course). The around scenery was beautiful, lots of trees and mountains. Fun time!

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Yosemite National Park Favorites

  • Hikes / Trails

    After a lengthy break and snack, we pushed further up the trail with the crowds thinning out considerably. We reached the Little Yosemite Valley Campground in no time but had been told we would have to camp up the trail due to it being full. There certainly seemed to be plenty of open spots and one big group of boisterous guys told us to just set...

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  • Water Falls

    "There is so much water coming over them after all time record snowfalls that Bridal Veil, one of the two most popular, is unobtainable unless you wish to partake in a shower that starts 100 meters before the viewing platform. By the time you get another 50 metres you may turn around, as many do, or brave the elements and come away drenched after...

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  • Weather Wise

    Temperatures in April can range between 32 (freezing) and 66 (relatively pleasant), but the weather can go from gorgeous to dangerous in a matter of an hour - very unpredictable, still, in April. That being said, I don't want to discourage you from going because it's a beautiful time of the year, waterfalls are flowing strongly as the snow is...

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Comments (1)

  • goodfish's Profile Photo
    Mar 25, 2014 at 3:34 AM

    Annual National Park Week is April 19-27 this year with lots of special events happening at the parks. Even better, Saturday 4/19 and Sunday 4/30 are FREE admission days so it's a great opportunity to pack up the car with family and/or friends and go check out one of our national treasures!

    http://www.nps.gov/npweek/

 
Explore Deeper into Yosemite National Park
Bridal Veil Falls
Things to Do
El Capitan
Things to Do
Wildlife
Things to Do
Half Dome
Things to Do
Valley
Things to Do
Falls
Things to Do
Information / Sources
Favorites
Water Ways
Off The Beaten Path
Park Views
Favorites
Domes
Favorites
Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad
Off The Beaten Path
Water Ways
Favorites
Giant Sequoia
Favorites
Information / Sources
Transportation
Oh yes, the park!
Things to Do
Im sure we could smell the BBQ from Yosemite
Restaurants
Tires chains into Yosemite
Transportation
Visiting the famous Sequia Trees at Mariposa Grove
Things to Do
Bus Routes inside Yosemite
Things to Do
About a 1000 foot incline
Things to Do
The Salad was great
Restaurants
Yosemite Falls
Things to Do
Mariposa Grove: Giant Sequoia Trees
Things to Do
Beautiful Waterfalls
Things to Do
Giant Granite Rock
Things to Do
Bridalveil Fall
Things to Do
Tunnel View
Things to Do
Yosemite Tunnels
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Tenaya Lake
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Advanced Hiking
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Spotlight Views
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Sentinel Rock South
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El Capitan in April 2013
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Lost Arrow in April 2013
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Lehamite Falls April 2013
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Half Dome April 2013
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Controlled Burning Program
Favorites
Post Office Location
Favorites
Ansel Adams Gallery
Things to Do
Yosemite Village Cemetery
Things to Do
Map of Yosemite National Park

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