10 Best Things to Do in Yosemite National Park (California)

As one of the most popular national parks in the USA, Yosemite National Park boasts some of the best views, hiking trails, and vacation opportunities. Visitors mainly visit its granite cliffs, breathtaking waterfalls, giant sequoia groves, glaciers, lakes, mountains, and meadows. Nearly four million people visit this national park each year. Yosemite National Park in Mariposa County provides us to experience this majestic national park in all four seasons. Let’s see some best things to do in Yosemite National Park.

10 Tenaya Lake

tenaya lake
The granite mountains surrounding the Tenaya Lake at an elevation of 8,150 feet in Yosemite National Park, California, United States.

Tenaya Lake is one of the most striking lakes in Yosemite National Park. The granite peaks and domes bordered on three sides of the one mile long Tenaya Lake.

Without a doubt, we can say it is gorgeous as anything else in Yosemite. But one difficulty is its long ways from Yosemite Valley. Therefore, this spot is not as congested with people as other Yosemite’s water attractions like Yosemite or Bridalveil Falls.

This area is most famous for boating, swimming, kayaking, and even sunbathing. Whenever Tioga Road is open, that is the best time to visit this place.

9 Olmsted Point

olmsted point
View of the Granite Mountains and Half Dome of Yosemite National Park viewed from Olmsted Point on Tioga Road, California, USA.

Olmsted Point is a viewing area that offers scenic hiking trails, natural wonders, and breathtaking views. It is also a must-see vista in Yosemite National Park. We can find it along the high-altitude Tioga Road to Tioga Pass.

Here, visitors will get a unique perspective of Yosemite Valley. We can see Tenaya Canyon and its large boulders to the south. To the east view into Tenaya Lake. Looking north, we will find Clouds Rest and the iconic Half Dome view beyond.

This vista’s parking lot also provides more interesting views like many glacial erratic boulders lounging on the surrounding hillsides. Visitors can always see a lot of hikers climbing up cables to the Half Dome top.

8 Bridalveil Fall

bridalveil fall
Iconic Bridalveil Falls in the Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California, USA.

Bridalveil Fall is one of the most stunning waterfalls in Yosemite National Park. We can see this fall almost every time we visit the park.

We can easily hike the 1/4-mile paved trail up to this waterfall base from its nearest parking lot. Visitors can also experience the drenching mists that swirl at the entire area around its ground during the spring.

However, we need to expect some icy and very slick conditions on the trail in the winter. We can walk along the rocks and boulders to get closer to the falls, but these are slippery even when dry.

7 Tuolumne Meadows

tuolumne meadows
Autumn sunset at Tuolumne Meadow on Tioga Pass, Yosemite National Park, California, United States.

Vast, grassy Tuolumne Meadows is an open sub-alpine meadow situated along the Tuolumne River. Here, we can find diverse landscape, lush forests, scenic mountainscapes, and
carved domes.

It is one of the Sierra Nevada‘s most extensive meadows. This beautiful meadow provides us the breathtaking views of the Cathedral Range, Lembert Dome, and Mount Dana. The fabulous short and long trails are there.

Visitors can also enjoy short to medium climbs of major and minor domes around this Tuolumne Meadows. The small visitor center in a historic cabin of meadow offers the area’s geology, wildflowers, and wildlife. The best time to visit here is in the spring and early summer.

6 Tunnel View

tunnel view
View of Yosemite Valley and Bridalveil Falls from Tunnel View in Yosemite National Park, California, USA.

It is no matter which direction we choose to reach the Yosemite National park from; the Tunnel View along Wawona Road is the must-see stop. Here visitors can see the most famous panorama of Yosemite Valley.

A pine tree forest and wide-open skies in the above perfectly framed this valley. Tunnel View stretches out to Bridalveil Fall on our right that plunging off granite monoliths. On our left is the El Capitan’s stunning granite rock formation, with rising Half Dome in the background.

What’s more, many short-lived lacy cascades steeply dropping to the lush valley’s sides. However, the best times to visit this vista are early spring and winter.

5 Mariposa Grove

mariposa grove
Giant sequoias in Mariposa Grove at Yosemite National Park, USA.

Yosemite National Park’s must-see list could not complete without a trip to Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. The four trails of varying lengths are the most popular way to see the famous giant sequoias like California Tunnel Tree and the Bachelor.

Mariposa Grove is housing about 500 giant sequoia trees that are more than thousands of years old. It also features the sights like the Fallen Monarch and the Grizzly Giant. Trails of this grove range from easy to strenuous.

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Big Trees Loop Trail is the easiest trail. A trip to this grove is undoubtedly bringing us to wander through some of the earth’s largest and oldest living things.

4 Glacier Point

glacier point
Half Dome rock and Yosemite Valley from Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada, California, USA.

It is one of the most spectacular vistas to see in Yosemite National Park. Unlike other Yosemite’s lookout points, we can access Glacier Point via roadway.

Most people described Glacier Point as a truly can’t-miss spot in the park because its sweeping, panoramic vistas are breathtaking. This lookout point also will give us a birds-eye-view of some of Yosemite’s most acclaimed landmarks.

Visitors will have panoramic views of the Yosemite Valley and famed landmarks like Yosemite Falls and Half Dome. Evening visits give us an unforgettable sunset. Visitors can explore numerous trails here.

3 El Capitan

ei capitan
El Captain Rock in Yosemite National Park, California, USA.

El Capitan is a 3,000-foot rock formation on the north side of Yosemite Valley. We can see this striking granite monolith from a variety of vantage points. Additionally, it is one of the most beautiful and largest exposed pieces of granite viewpoints in all of Yosemite.

The most fabled climbing route of this vertical rock formation is “The Nose.” Do you know which is the best time to see it? It is accessible year-round. We can enjoy the valley’s swirling mists in winter that afford El Capitan an almost mystical quality.

We can see lush meadows surrounding this beautiful giant during the spring. Some brave climbers have even made their way up the top of El Capitan without using ropes!

2 Half Dome

half dome
Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, California, USA.

Half Dome is the most recognizable Yosemite landmark. It dares us to view the world from 8846 ft above sea level. Hiking to the Half Dome top is most famous. But this too strenuous day hike requires permits from authorities.

It gives some of the Yosemite Valley’s best views. Non-hikers can enjoy the iconic granite formation, lie at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley. This granite icon look varies depending on the angle we see it from where.

We are evident in the dome shape, so we can quickly know why it’s called Half Dome. From the Mirror Lake trail, we can see almost straight up the rock face.

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1 Yosemite Falls

yosemite falls
Views of Yosemite Falls from Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California, USA.

Yosemite Falls is one of the most striking features and tallest waterfalls in Yosemite Valley. In August, these falls go completely dry. The best time to visit the waterfalls in the spring. Experts widely reported the Yosemite Falls to have a cumulative drop of 2,425 feet.

Many visitors hike to the top of Yosemite Falls. Do you know this hike is a strenuous 3.5-mile climb! These incredible waterfalls bring icy waters when snowmelt from the mountain peaks. We can hear the thundering of waterfalls clear across the valley.

It is a perfect interest point for any one-day trip to Yosemite National Park. There is a short one-mile loop trail that will lead us to the Lower Yosemite Fall’s base. The seven miles of trail for its up-close-and-personal view.