One of the first views of Yosemite Valley can be the spectacular Tunnel view. This is because it is the first stop off as you come out of the tunnel leading to Yosemite Valley.
To get the best photograph however it may be worth leaving this until you are on the way out of the valley, because the sun in the summer afternoon is much better than in the morning.
As we shot through the Wawona Tunnel to arrive at the other end, I was unprepared for the spectacular view of Yosemite's geologic wonders. One word comes to mind: awesome! (picture 2)
Not only are you are treated to an incomparable view of El Capitan, but Half Dome, too (picture 3). Bridalveil Falls is to the far right and not captured by my photo.
The Wawona Tunnel, constructed in 1933, provided easier access for the hoards of tourists coming into the Yosemite Valley. The tunnel was quite the engineering marvel with its power lines, carbon monoxide sensors and high-speed fans.
It took nearly two years to drill the tunnel. Workers used 275 tons of blasting power, permitting them to progress about 20 feet a day.
Heading south towards Wawona, there's an opportunity to pull off right before you enter the tunnel. This overlook is imaginatively known as Tunnel View, and what makes it so popular is that you can take in three of the big-name sights at once - El Capitan, Half Dome, and Bridalveil Falls. As you can imagine, there are plenty of cameras out and clicking. Worth the stop to take in some of the wonders of the park.
Emerging from Wawona Tunnel, an amazing viewpoint is to your left; probably one of the most well-known views in the world, Tunnel View has a very beautiful view of Yosemite Valley and its major features. Expect the viewpoint to be very crowded; you'll find bus tourists, RVs, valley tram tours, and many more people crowding to take photos. To sum up the view: To your left, the extremely big rock is El Capitan. Side by side in the center are Clouds Rest and Half Dome. To the right of Half Dome is the Sentinel, with a ridge leading up to Sentinel Dome. On the far right is Catedral Spires, with Bridalveil Falls tumbling in between. The forested Yosemite Valley is beneath everything.
Okay, okay, so Yosemite is not a place that is not well known, but still I enjoyed comparing the pictures that I had seen to the reality when we visited, not to mention taking a few of our own pictures. You can get maps with directions to the various lookout points, trials and camping spots in ranger station. One of the best lookout points with easy access is the Tunnel View that you see here, it is only a few minutes drive from the ranger station on the southern road of the park which also leads to the Mariposa Grove and Glacier Point Lookout. I am still not sure which one of the many beautiful scenes you can see from Tunnel View is the most awesome or impressive or fantastic.
This is one of the most spectacular views of Yosemite Valley. From here you can see El Capitan and Bridalveil Fall rising from Yosemite Valley, with Half Dome in the background. This vista is at the east end of the Wawona Tunnel along the Wawona Road.
The Tunnel Veiw is a breathtaking one. Just after a long tunnel their is a parking lof on your left. From that parking lot is a sight of the valley floor that really inspires. In the evening the shaddows cast by El Capitan on the valley floor and the orange colors reflected off the granite faces make for a perfect picture opportunity.
One of the most spectacular lookouts of the Yosemite Valley in my opinion. It's located just outside the valley before the Wawona Tunnel leading to Highway 41. The parking lots fill up and it's a popular tour bus and tram stop for obvious reasons.
One can view El Capitan on the left, Half Dome in the middle distance, Sentinel Rock, Cathedral Rock & Bridalveil Falls on the right.
This viewpoint offers a beautiful panorama of Yosemite Valley with El Capitan on the left, Bridalveil Fall on the right and Half Dome in the center. The lookout is located on Highway 41 at the western end of the valley.
When entering the park from the south side from 140 this is the tunnel that you go through before reaching the wonderful valley viewpoint. The View is amazing and the tunnel is quite impressive itself. It's about a mile long and solid rock. The walls in parts are concrete but the majority of the walls appear to be the actual hillside.
The classic Yosemite picture taken from the viewpoint by the tunnel on the way to the Mariposa Grove. There is a parking area just by the entrance to a tunnell where you can pull over to get the most beautiful views of the valley.
The view shows the main Merced valley with Bridalveil Falls just to the right, El Capitan to the left and Half Dome in the distance.
on Hwy. 41 is one of the most photographed vistas in the world. It provides a panoramic view of Yosemite Valley, including El Capitan, Half Dome, Sentinel Rock, Cathedral Rocks and Bridalveil Fall. Be prepared to pull into the parking area to the right or left immediately past the tunnel.