Visiting Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is one of America’s greatest treasures. Located in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Yosemite National Park covers 747,956 acres and includes some of the nation’s most iconic and recognizable rock formations. Each national park has its own identity; Yellowstone is known for its volcanic activity, and Glacier National Park is known for its ancient ice. Yosemite is most well known for its mammoth granite formations and its picturesque valley.
If you’re planning a trip to Yosemite, then there are certain spots you won’t want to miss.
Half Dome is perhaps the most iconic formation on Yosemite’s skyline. Thousands of hikers trek to the top of Half Dome each year, making the trip up the backside of the dome by scaling cables that are anchored into the rock. From the top, you can look more than 4,700 feet down to the valley floor.
Vernal Fall is one of the most popular day hikes in the park. It’s also the first leg on the long trek toward the summit of Half Dome. Climb this waterfall on a hot summer’s day and you’ll benefit from a steady mist from the cascading waters.
El Capitan stands at the entrance of Yosemite Valley, a bookend of sorts with Half Dome. This is one of the nation’s hottest spots for rope and free climbing. It can be hiked from the back side, and it’s visible from most other hikes throughout the valley. This monolith stands an impressive 3,000 feet from base to summit.
Want a day hike that isn’t as grueling as Half Dome? Then travel down the Tioga Pass and go to Lembert Dome. This smaller dome stands 800 feet and can easily be hiked in a few hours. This is in a less-traveled part of the park, offering solace when compared to the traffic-heavy attractions in Yosemite Valley.
Tuolumne Meadows is farther down Tioga Pass. It’s a beautiful place to walk, sit and think after a long day of hiking. Serene, peaceful and quiet, this is a rare part of the park that doesn’t get much attention from Bay Area tourists. It’s also one of the last stops as you leave the park on its eastern border.