Best Things To Do in Yosemite California

1. Yosemite Falls

"This is gonna be tough," I said to myself. I have done trails with 3,500 ft elevation gain and 7 miles in length, but it does not get much easier even if you hike often like I do. In addition, it was going to be really warm, mid 70s, and in the sun probably even high 70s. I arrived at the trailhead at 7.45 AM and started the hike around 8 AM. It took me 6 hours of pretty much non-stop hiking (except 25 min at the top) and by 2 PM I was back to my car. The way up was hard. In the blazing sun with no shade as you reach the second half of the trail (pretty steep uphill) you just hope the end will come soon. On the way down it is much easier, but now you have to be careful of where you step because some portions of the trail are pure sand, others are covered in trickling springs flowing downhill. My knees were sore and the next day I felt like I have never exercised my calves. Was it worth it? Yes! The views on the top were really incredible, and the waterfall full with water during this time of the year. As you hike near the falls, closer to the bottom of it, you are gently sprinkled with mist coming from the powerful waterfall. It felt incredible on skin and refreshing enough to continue going. A few tips: 1) get at least 2 L of water; 2) bring sunscreen, and reapply constantly; 3) wear hiking shoes with good traction on the soles; 4) wear a had and sunglasses; 5) bring your good camera. I didn't and some pictures came out not so great because of lots of sunlight.

The stop has a newer restroom location to the left of the walk in. The view is amazing from the bridge or take the left side trail up to the bottom of the falls. Quite the experience. You will get wet. Soaked. The trail itself is a short distance and most should be able to make it. Saw a small Buck and other wildlife.

Great view. Took us 2hrs 19 mins to get to the upper falls. The buyer from there is just priceless worth the pain of hiking up. It got slippery when we were descending so I'd suggest you get some really good hiking shoes. A rain coat is advisable. There's a 50 m decent to get to the point I took this video. Scary but totally worth the pain of getting there.

Tough walk with a constant incline on the Upper Yosemite Falls trail. The first half is all within the forested area before emerging at the base of the upper falls where you feel the spray of the amazing rushing waterfall - we were there in early April. Approximately 2.5 hours up, 2 hours down

It’s frikkin Yosemite Falls, one of the more accessible intermediate hikes to the top of the waterfall, with amazing scenery to boot. Depending on your fitness it should take 2-3 hours to reach peak. For those more ambitious and started earlier in the day consider El Capitan as the follow up. Prob another 3-6 hours depending on how you wanna push it.

2. Yosemite, Tunnel View

A must if you are visiting the Valley, the views from up there are stunning. It does get overcrowded during the day, hard to get a shot without someone else in the way but I'd still recommend it to anyone. If you are wanting another amazing view but FAR less people head on the 120 out of the Valley, there's a beautiful viewpoint just before you hit the tunnel... gives you a chance to enjoy the valley without the crowds.

Absolutely amazing! You must make this one of your priority stops while visiting Yosemite National Park. This is an Iconic photo stop for amateurs and professional photographers alike. If you missed this spot on your last visit to Yosemite, you need to return for another experience in Nature’s Paradise.

Gateway to one of the best view in Yosemite, this is a must see. Parking is usually at capacity but luckily people only stay here for minutes at a time so there's always parking that frees up. During wet season you can see bridal veil falls gushing majestically in the distance!

Definitely go here! It is very to get here, as it is just a drive up the mountain, and there is parking is right there. Not much walking required...just enough to get out of your vehicle and stand by the low stone wall to snap an photo or twelve. They call this tunnel view because it affords you a look along the whole valley (or tunnel, if you will). Go in the afternoon, as the sun will be behind you, shining on the whole valley. I suppose sunrise would be a good time to go as well, since you'd see the sun come up over the valley, but we went in the afternoon and it was splendid!

This is on the way up to the mountains of Yosemite. It’s right at the end of the tunnel you drive through. Easy to park. No hike required. There are many people though. You get to see the nice waterfall.

3. Glacier Point

The place to go to see the iconic valley. This place is majestic. Its best to see the glacier point first, then go down through tunnel view, then spend some time at the park in the valley. On the way home, then visit some waterfalls. This way you see all the sights, avoid double-backing on yourself, and some of the crowds.

The best place in Yosemite! Astonishing breathtaking scenic views of the valley. It takes time to reach there and it is closed for the cold season but definitely worth going!

It's an exciting ride up and down, but well worth the effort. The views are unbelievable in all directions. When you pull into the parking area, PLEASE don't sit there and wait for someone to pull out. There is plenty of parking as well as plenty of restrooms further in. Photos are what you'll see on the way up.

Parking was packed, but it did cycle pretty quickly, so we were able to park without an issue within a 15 minutes. Prepare yourself for pit toilets, bring your hand sanitizer. Dogs are allowed on trail in this area, but not the trails that go off from here. The views are stunning as always, but why, oh why, do people have to balance in precarious positions on the very edge of a 4000 foot drop? Sure it makes for a cool picture or whatever, but can we just sit down when a momentary lapse of balance is all it takes to die with 300 onlookers? Sorry to get all negative, but it just gave me a panic attack. NPS needs their own version of "Dumb Ways to Die - Yosemite Version". Enjoy! Safely!

Point where you can see Half Dome. Scenery is so breath taking. You can spend all day just seeing the view and looking down. This one of the beautiful spot for photography.

4. The Majestic Yosemite Hotel

For the price of a room per night... i could have booked a 5 star suite at Ritz-Carlton instead of a cabin just a little bigger than a closet with a wore out mattress and no AC or Heat... no microwave... and a refrigerator that keep everything at a chilling 80 degrees... and a bathroom that my 5 year old granddaughter could have made better repairs on... seems that everyone was eager to charge the hell out of you for every little amenity.... but somewhere down the road forgot what hospitality and basic comfort needs are for guest... balloon billing is most DEFINITELY the priority with the Majestic... it should be renamed the: Squeeze and Shaft.... it was truly a overpriced dated dump...

Lunch on Tuesday after Easter. Beautiful weather, great place but service and menu from the last century. Waiter with an attitude and totally disorganized service, It took almost an hour from ordering a Reuben, a salad and pasta to get delivered. Nevertheless the waiter came by 3 times to tell that the food would be coming, then always disappeared. When asked about the food he displayed a wonderful arrogance, service with charm. The food menu for lunch was standard sandwiches, salads and some ordinary main dishes. A place like this should be more creative and innovative, just check out the kitchen of Timberline Lodge in Oregon. Definitively will not come back for food here.

We'd gone for breakfast to the hotel. Hotel ambience is nice. Service was exceptional. I'm a vegetarian so it was nice to see veggie options. The food that I ordered was delicious.

We had gone to have drinks at the bar and possibly to grab a bite to eat. We were quickly greeted and seated but once we sat down we were told there were a few items on the menu that were not available. Normally that would be fine but there was already a limited number of items on the menu and to not have three items well that sounded like not a good idea to ha e anything to eat there. We had some drinks and were on our way. The waitress was very friendly and drinks were mad pretty quick.

Went in to peruse the bookstore and enjoy the art, and stayed to enjoy dinner at the bar. Classy, but still casual, the bar was inventive and efficient. The food was affordable, delicious, and clever. Absolutely loved the fruit leather and corned lamb. Staff was very attentive and friendly.

5. Yosemite Valley

My nephew got married at the YMCA camp where he and his bride worked as counselors. Very idelic and breathtaking setting. We did not stay in the rustic tent cabins because we'd heard the mattresses are thin and bathroom is a trek in the dark at night. They took my 96 year old Mom in a small golf cart which was very appreciated to the outdoor wedding spot.

A must see. This place will inspire you!! Words cannot express the raw beauty of God's creation in its beautiful splendor.I

Good views. A must go place.

Awesome views...too many people

Bucket list must see. Only down side is its really busy, because it's on everyone else's bucket list. Don't let that stop you, take a camera of views you will never forget.

6. Yosemite National Park

One of the best places I’ve visited. There are amazing sights wherever you look. So many waterfalls and cliffs. Great hiking trails for you to go on, and they are all labeled properly and allow you decide whether or not you can tackle it. My favorite National Park for sure. Definitely recommend!

I absolutely love this place. The natural beauty is honestly breath taking. The drive from San Fran to Yosemite was totally worth it. Yosemite falls was really stunning. I recommend coming here! All love and positivity here.

Hugely popular place. However in comparison to other national parks I found this average for a foreign tourist. It is a great hiking and family outing place. It is is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more. Different seasons have different experience. so you must check the current status of the park before visiting especially for the waterfalls.

Gorgeous. Gorgeous. Gorgeous. I CAN NOT wait to go back and continue exploring the park! We visited three days and every day we had a brand new experience. They have great treks for avid hikers & for children. Beautiful and inspiring sights, sounds, and memories!

What can I say about this. Absolute beauty. Life time experience. Enjoyed 3 days stay. Many places to visit. Plan before leaving and book a place to stay at least 3-4 months ahead.

7. Yosemite Valley loop trail

Very well organized area. Many tourists. It is pure nature

Gorgeous and the miles just melt away, you have to lace up some sturdy sneakers and see some waterfalls and look for climbers on El Capitan.

Amazing, high waters made the waterfalls a trip to remember. We even were rained on close up to the falls!

We didn't walk the whole loop but it was fun watching people rock climb around camp 4

amazing place!

8. Olmsted Point

The lot was packed but I was still able to easily find parking. Yes it was swarming with tourist, but they all seem to not even bother walking the very short and rewarding trail. I was very pleased.

Absolutely awe inspiring, no words i could say could ever do Olmstead Point justice, the views are absolutely spectacular. We was on our way out of Yosemite heading to Bishop and pulled in about half an hour before sunset (how lucky) my wife and i hiked to the top overlooking the pull in down below for an even better vantage point. To see Half Dome and the surrounding peaks from this angle was jaw dropping. We stayed in Half Dome Village in tent cabins and would wake up every morning and come out of our tent to saviour the views, it seemed like we could actually touch Half Dome it was that close, It was amazing to see Half Dome from a different view and perspective altogether. We will never forget our trip of a lifetime our adventure of a lifetime to the Wondrous Yosemite National Park :)

Our last stop in Yosemite NP, right after sunset all the granite was looking pink along with the sky, beautiful! We visit in mid-October and there were only 3 other visitor on the parking with us.

Absolutely gorgeous. The view is stunning and the sunsets up here. WOW!! Olmsted Point is amazing. I've been all over Yosemite, and this place is spectacular.

Outstanding views. 1st time coming to Yosemite from The east. Neat views of half dome in the distance

9. Pioneer Yosemite History Center

Great place to see some traditional professions and crafts reenacted. Friendly volunteers. Lots to see. Not super busy.

The Center is a decent stop between Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove. It is a good place for the kids to run around. You may have to park here if the car park at Mariposa Grove is full. This is a good place to rest and have a lunch break and the river provide a pleasant place for it.

Beautiful, one word

It is like a museum but a really dull one. I ended up spending more time on the river side than in this center itself.

Marché sur les traces des pionniers...

10. Swinging Bridge Picnic Area

A great place to stop. There is miles of trails that go throughout the valley and this is a great place to hook up if there is parking. In the right light there can be a mirror reflection of Yosemite Falls in the river.

Great place to have a picnic. Beautiful scenery.

Beautiful place for a picnic. Not usually very many people here. Fun for kids to play by the river. Great views of the waterfall.

In Yosemite Park. One of the most beautiful places in the west.

The main draw at this location is the bridge. The "Swinging Bridge" is a misnomer because the bridge does not actually swing. It's a sturdy wooden bridge, and word has it that it was actually a swinging bridge in the past. Other than some panoramic views of other Yosemite landmarks, there is not a whole lot else to see. You can take a small set of stairs down to a lake area. I did see people picnicking here and grilling food, which was nice to see. I counted four bathrooms, so this could serve as a nice bathroom run that also functions as a photo stop. Stop by if you have the time, but don't go out of your way if you're short on time and want to explore the more well-known spots.

11. YExplore Yosemite Adventures

We had an amazing time! Our guide, John, was incredibly knowledgeable and welcoming. We aren't experienced hikers and he really took his time with us. We learned all about the history and geology of the park and took some incredible photos of some spectacular views! We did the Inspiration Point hike.

Our guide was fantastic and knowledgeable! We had a great time, and it was a wonderful way to experience the park.

YExplore was great to work with. Catherine was always available to answer my questions on arranging the trip. Erik, our guide was very knowledgeable and capable. He kept us on track, encouraged us, made sure we stayed hydrated and energized. He was very patient with (me especially) traversing the more difficult areas. I would recommend this company and our guide to anyone wishing to take this hike.

Cannot say enough good things about yExplore. This was our second hike with them, and John guided us expertly to the summit of Half Dome and back down safely. The experience was amazing, spectacular, just too wonderful for words. John knows the trails and peaks of Yosemite inside and out, down to the history, geology, and wildflowers -- he is a fabulous guide and generously shares his love and respect for nature to make any trip with him special.

John took us on a really enjoyable 5-hour hike to Inspiration Point in early January. John is extremely knowledgeable on a wide range of subjects (geology, trees, animals, history, etc.) and will happily answer any questions you have. The pace of the hike was perfect and the views among the best I have seen anywhere in the world. Very competitively priced and worth every penny. Thanks a million! P.s. I know John also leads trips on more technical/demanding routes, so also a good option for more the experienced.

12. Half Dome

Great place to visit with awesome views. A must see sometime in your life. It's mesmerizing how big this rock is.

Just amazing and spectacular views. Be ready for an 12+ hour hike from the valley floor. Hiking poles are highly recommended and good hiking shoes. The last stretch to the top of Half Dome is not for the faint hearted.

The Half Dome hike was an AMAZING experience. Once in a lifetime! You do need to be in good shape to complete the hike, it took us about 16 hours. The cables were not as bad as some folks make them out to be, however, you do need to be someone in very good physical condition. Remember to slowly drink water and eat food on the way up and you will be good! The views and accomplishment are more than worth it!!!

Beautiful area. Nice camping but get there early to get a spot.

As technology shrinks the world around us, it becomes more and more difficult to find ourselves truly lost in the outdoors. This makes the particular moments and scenes in which we truly can lose ourselves in the wondrous beauty of nature that much more special. I captured the accompanying image below of a tent on Half Dome’s “Diving Board” while camping in Yosemite National Park. Getting to the Diving Board was quite a challenge, as there is no official trail that leads to it. Nevertheless, for anyone who is prepared, careful, and respectful of nature, the reward upon arrival at the Diving Board is one of the most breathtaking views in all of Yosemite, in my opinion.

13. Tuolumne Meadows

Gorgeous Alpine meadow, almost untouched by the tourist masses in the valley. It’s a bit of a drive and has almost no facilities, so keep that in mind when visiting. Weather is cool, even in summer when the valley is roasting. Pacific Crest Trail comes down near here, so you may encounter hikers at the general store. If you’re looking for a short hike, a trip to the soda springs is recommended. The meadow sits over 8,000 feet in elevation and won’t be open until the snow melts. Ask before you start driving. Keep in mind that some members of your party may be sensitive to high elevation. We ended up leaving early due to one person feeling really miserable.

Simply breathtaking!! I would like to come back time and time again. Nice cool weather (on labor day weekend) when the valley was 100°f. Beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and there are streams cutting the meadows. We got our kids Park Passports to start recording their times at National Parks.

I usually don't write reviews, but I was surprised to see a 4.2 score of this place (at the time of this review), so I decided to contribute my very first review here. My personal experience was a solid 5+. I went there late fall with my wife, days before it's closed for the season, and the beauty of the scenery was beyond words. We took some 100 photos here within an hour. It's an easy place to visit too. Just off the road, you can freely explore this trail-less meadow in whatever way you want.

Breathtaking meadows! Worth to stay for whole afternoon.

This part of the park really sucks. Skip it in favor of Yosemite Valley so you can check out the visitor center.

14. Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad

Beautiful steam train. Lots of history!! The forest fires almost destroyed this whole area last year. Luckily they were able to save it. The forest around them are devastated. However nature is already in renewal cycle. Rp

I really enjoyed my visit to this shortline logging style railroad. I was fortunate enough to get a cab ride then just had to ride again to see it from a passenger point of view. The line runs through a picturesque forest. Sadly much of it was burnt in the railroad fire 2017. The railway itself survived along with most of its rolling stock and engines and facilities. The people were really friendly. They have simple food and drink available at reasonable prices.

This place is pretty cool! We came really late in the season ( maybe even one of the last weekends) so they were short staffed and not everything was open. I can't wait to go back earlier in the season and try gold panning, visit the little museum and of course go on the train again! Everyone that works there is super friendly and the conductor/host filled the ride with interest facts and stories.

A nice old train. A lot of fun.

Worth it to stop at least once. Had the dinner a few years back, really enjoyed it. Food was okay, but entertainment was really good. The trains are very cool to see and ride. Everyone working there was pleasant that I interacted with.

15. Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite

Liked it a lot. Snow storm all day 3/22/18. Looked like out of a magazine or movie. All cars buried in snow next day. Hotel had shovels handy to clear the car. Spacious room. The pianist in the lobby sang so many nice tunes like Hotel California. Will come back for next Horsetail fall. Indoor swimming pool and jacuzzi, both were appreciated for relaxing before bed.

Wonderful venue for our annual retreat. We used the hotel's Confrence rooms, catering service (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), rooms, and pool/spa. Highly satisfactory staff and management. No complaints. I would recommend for any group event (ours was over 50 people). We will be coming back again!

We really enjoyed our stay here. The rooms were well appointed. Good amenities too, great pools both indoor and outdoor, with adults only areas away from the kids which was a nice touch. Would definitely bring my family back here again.

The motel is nice clean. The grounds are well maintained. Great place to stay in the summer and more fun in the winter when there's snow. Lots of activities. However, the restaurant is another matter. The food is expensive but ud expect that from a mountain resort. The food comes out cold, even when they aren't busy. The servers would rather chat amongst themselves then pay attention to their tables. I had to to go to the bar to get water refills. The beer was like warm, I had to add ice cubes to chill it.

Nice place, comfortable beds, indoor and outdoor pool. Good food, a little overpriced for what you get. The burgers are the best value and very good! Take some time and rent the bikes to go see the waterfall. It's about 6 miles round trip most of its on a well maintained dirt road. The path off the dirt road is good enough for bikes too so no walking needed if you don't want to. They also have a tesla charging station in their parking lot.