You’ve been planning this Yosemite trip for weeks and now you’ve arrived. The time is here. It’s the quintessential Yosemite location, and you’re trying to act calm, waiting for that perfect moment to take her hand. Your eyes meet as you kneel and hold out the ring. Watch her face as the emotions flicker across her face – surprise, delight. Yes, yes of course. Everything is just perfect.
It’s a moment you’ll both remember for the rest of your lives.
But where will it be?
Yosemite, of course. Where else will you find a more expansive, enduring and memorable place to propose?
The iconic scenery in Yosemite compliments and heightens the emotions that fill it. It’s as solid and steady as the granite cliffs, as patient and unwavering as ancient sequoia tress, and at the same time as joyful as a singing river winding through this magical landscape.
Getting engaged in such a spectacular place begins a story of love that will be proudly told for generations.
But where in Yosemite? There are so many beautiful places to choose from. It would be impossible to list all the options, but here are a few highlights to consider.
Taft Point is beautiful all day long, and becomes magical in the light of the setting sun. Imagine proposing in this amazing location.
Taft Point has become one of the most popular spots in Yosemite for wedding and engagement photography in the last few years. Only a 2.2 mile (3.5 km) round-trip hike from Glacier Point Road, Taft Point boasts stunning overlooks of Yosemite Valley including El Capitan from atop striking cliffs. Photographers love this location especially at sunset when the warm evening sun bathes couples in a flattering and dramatic light.
It would be worth it to get a picture together on the dramatic granite outcrop overlooking Yosemite Valley anyway. Just be aware of the edge. You don’t want anyone backing off it in their excitement.
Even if you aren’t there for the photo, Taft Point’s location at the edge of Yosemite Valley makes it a perfect place to find a quiet spot to take in the beauty of Yosemite Valley together.
If you are going for sunset, don’t forget to bring a headlamp or flashlight for the return hike.
A romantic scene? Just minutes later, this couple was engaged at Glacier Point. Photo: Tony McDaniel (@TMcD_Photography)
If you’re looking for the dramatic Taft Point-like view down into Yosemite Valley without the walking, be sure to check out Glacier Point.
At sunset, Half Dome reflects light from the setting sun and glows pink and orange, and the view from Glacier Point is simply unbeatable.
Because it’s so accessible, this area will tend to be more crowded during the summer than Taft Point, but the views of Half Dome are absolutely legendary.
Because the sun rises over the mountains to the east this isn’t a conventional sunrise-watching location. However, if you’re willing to get up early, you’ll find a solitude that is rare later in the day. The moment when the sunlight crests the high mountains is magic.
Find a secluded spot along the Merced River with some iconic Yosemite scenery like Half Dome for your special moment. Photo: Patrick Pike
Honestly, nearly any spot along the Merced River is a gorgeous place to propose. Suggest a romantic picnic for two down by the water. Find a secluded spot and settle in to be mesmerized by the swirling waters of the Merced. When the time comes to pop the question, you’ll have the singing river at your feet and grand mountain scenery behind.
In Yosemite Valley, Sentinel Beach, Cathedral Beach and the Swinging Bridge picnic area all offer easy access to the river with amazing scenery. Enjoy views of Upper Yosemite Fall from Swinging Bridge Picnic Area and Sentinel Beach, or take in El Capitan towering above the nearby pines at Cathedral Beach.
For a more private moment, there are dozens of quiet pull-outs along the Merced River between Yosemite and the town of Mariposa. Lodging options like Cedar Lodge in El Portal are even located right on the river, with a private sandy beach where you can lounge and enjoy the water.
The Faithful Couple. These two giant sequoia trees have literally grown together over the years to become a single tree at the base.
“The Faithful Couple Tree” by DoNotLick is licensed under CC BY 2.0
What could be more symbolic than declaring your lifelong love beneath two ancient sequoia trees that have literally grown together into a single tree over the centuries?
Strolling through a grove of giant sequoias is already a magical experience. There is something about their quiet and stately steadfastness – a presence that is at once both patient and immense.
If you meander up to the Faithful Couple past the Grizzly Giant and California Tunnel Tree it’s just under 2 miles (3.2 km) one way, but you can also short-cut back to the bus stop along the Outer Loop Trail which is only about 1.25 miles (2 km). That said, if you have the energy, it’s worth the walk into the upper grove as well.
Imagine yourself here at Olmsted Point with the sun setting beyond Half Dome.
Olmsted Point offers a simply breathtaking view of Yosemite Valley and Half Dome, from the ‘other side’.
From this perspective, you can watch the sun set with Half Dome and Yosemite Valley stretched out before you and the sky filled with fiery colors behind.
The scenery is splendid right from the parking lot off Tioga Road, but if you want to get a little further from the hubbub, it’s easy to take a short walk across the granite slabs to find a small corner of serenity just far enough from other visitors for a quiet moment in a spectacular setting.
Note that Olmsted Point is located just off the Tioga Road which closes in the winter after the snow falls, so this is a summer-only proposal location.
Tenaya Lake’s shoreline ranges from this scenic view on the western shore to a sandy beach beneath Tenaya Peak on its eastern edge.
Also located just off Tioga Road and surrounded by magnificent granite domes and peaks, Tenaya Lake is one of the most picturesque locations in a region known for being picturesque.
The east end of the lake has the best views and warm granite slabs that extend out in to the clear blue waters, but many people prefer the comfortable sandy beach on the west end of the lake for a romantic water-side stroll in the mountains.
Almost everywhere you turn you’ll find a beautiful location for an engagement proposal. Photo: Damian Riley
In a place like Yosemite, epic romantic destinations can be found almost anywhere. There are just too many to list. You can go the popular places, or transform any spot into your own romantic corner.
Go for a walk under the stars. Check out the high country lakes. Find a view of one of Yosemite’s many waterfalls.
Couples have chosen meaningful locations for marriage proposals all over the park including on the ice rink at Curry Village and mid-slope at Badger Pass Ski Area.
She said yes. You’re both grinning madly, ear to ear, in between kisses. The ring fits her perfectly and she can’t keep her eyes off it. You catch her glancing down at her finger every 5 seconds. And now what?
Have you made dinner plans?
The Yosemite area is filled with top-notch dining venues. Take a look at our top picks for the perfect romantic Yosemite restaurant.
Or maybe you want to head back to your room for some cozy one on one time. For an extra special touch, make sure you’ve booked a place with a warm fireplace to snuggle by. (You can use the Advanced Filter on Yosemite.com’s lodging pages to find a hotel, bed and breakfast or vacation rental cabin with a fireplace, or even better a pool/spa service.
Once you’re ready to start planning, why not share the Yosemite experience for the wedding with your guests?
When the sun goes down and the waterfalls are rushing in Yosemite, an amazing experience takes place when the Yosemite Moonbow comes out at night.
Whether it’s taking a walk in the crisp, fresh air to count your blessings, or photographing Half Dome floating like gold in the still waters of Mirror Lake, reflections abound in Yosemite National Park.
El Portal may seem to be a sleepy little town along Highway 140 just outside the Yosemite National Park gate, but there are loads of fun activities and surprises for all ages to be found on and off the beaten track.