Top Yosemite Attractions
From Ansel Adams’ stark, stunning images to John Muir’s captivating prose, Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevada have long served as a source of inspiration for artists, travelers and explorers. It’s impossible to visit here and not see something familiar — and yet still breathtaking with iconic Yosemite landmarks at every turn.
When it comes to things to see in Yosemite, you really don’t want to miss El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and the Ahwahnee Hotel. Here’s a closer look at these and other Yosemite attractions.
We’re not just talking famous here. We’re talking downright iconic. The cliffs and peaks of Yosemite are so spectacular they must be seen in person. Towering over Yosemite Valley and offering uber-challenging climbing routes, El Capitan is the unmistakable sheer, granite monolith immortalized by Adams in the early 1950s. Several miles to the east, you’ll find stunning, panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains from Glacier Point, while Half Dome is a towering granite slab that’s most impressive when viewed from the Yosemite Valley floor.
Historic Yosemite Landmarks
While there’s no shortage of natural Yosemite landmarks, quite a few man-made attractions are also well worth checking out. Offering a glimpse into Yosemite’s past, the historic Wawona Hotel and Ahwahnee Hotel are each notable for being National Historic Landmarks, while Glacier Point Road dates back to the early 1930s and offers unsurpassed views, including Glacier Point and Washburn Point.
Serving as the Eastern gateway to Yosemite, Tioga Pass carves its way through the verdant landscape, while the El Capitan Bridge peacefully spans the Merced River for ease of travel. The nearby Ansel Adams Gallery is found in the heart of the valley, offering a touch of culture for the visually-minded visitor.
Recreation and beauty collide in the best possible way Yosemite Mariposa County’s most famous lakes and rivers. From swimming and boating to fishing and rafting, Yosemite’s bodies of water deliver, big-time. Float the Merced River, or cast a line in Tenaya Lake for an unforgettable experience in Mariposa County.
Forests And Meadows
To see some of the world’s most visually stunning forests and meadows, strongly consider visiting Yosemite Mariposa County. The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias is a can’t-miss highlight for any visit, as it features some of the largest and oldest trees in existence.
Another popular destination is Tuolumne Meadows, which delivers awe-inspiring views of the surrounding mountains in a peaceful setting. The Merced and Tuolumne Groves closer to the Crane Flat Area are home to more majestic trees, offering the rare chance to see the natural world in all its splendor.
Chasing waterfalls in the West? Yosemite National Park and Mariposa County should be on the top of your list, particularly in the spring. Home to magnificent, impossibly tall waterfalls, here you’ll find the iconic Yosemite Falls, which towers at 2,425 feet when you add the Upper and Lower portions together. There’s also Sentinel Fall, which drops 1,920 feet from the valley rim as well as Bridalveil Fall, which cascades down granite cliffs for 620 feet. Smaller, but equally impressive, Vernal Fall plunges 317 feet into the Merced River. Don’t miss Horsetail Fall where the Natural Firefall takes place in mid-February, which, which takes on a fiery, lava-like quality when hit the right way by the rays of the sun.