How to Explore Yosemite


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beauty doesn’t get much better than Yosemite National Park in California. As
the gateway to the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Yosemite Valley is famous for
its striking peaks and idyllic waterfalls. Visitors can enjoy a wide variety of
activities, but keep in mind, the timing of your visit is essential. For
instance, winter weather can close off portions of the park, but also presents
the opportunity to take in the splendor of Yosemite in the snow.

enough to keep you busy in Yosemite for weeks, but this guide will focus on the
highlights and more accessible perks the park has to offer for new visitors.

Getting to Yosemite

countryside in and around Yosemite is spectacular. Getting the most out of your
visit should include a scenic drive along California’s Highway 140, which
starts in El Portal and winds through the
quaint town of Mariposa
. You’ll enjoy redwood-lined highways and views of the Merced River. In
Mariposa, you can breathe in a tiny village that has resisted change for many
years and visit local historical museums. If you love exploring dirt trails,
this area offers superb off-roading, but not in Yosemite itself.

Top Sights and Experiences

on how long you’ve got to spend, there are so many impressive sights
and things to do
in Yosemite National Park. Guided tours, hikes, climbs and camping are
some of the most popular ways to spend your time in the expansive Yosemite
Valley. A word to the wise: If you’re planning to visit during the summer,
you’ll be fighting crowds and will not be able to do as much, so consider visiting
during the “shoulder season” in spring or early winter. If you enjoy
the snow, go for a full-on winter trip, but be aware parts of the park may be

are some of Yosemite’s primary attractions. Highway 41, which runs through the
park, will take you past one of the most
majestic of them all
, Bridalveil Falls, as well as Half-Dome, the rounded granite peak that
is Yosemite’s most recognizable feature. Ribbon and Horsetail Falls are equally
impressive, though they can be seasonal. Many of the hiking trails around the
park will take you to scenic vantage points where you can watch the falls and
take pictures.

wildflowers make for wonderful viewing in the springtime, and if you’re lucky,
you can see the natural phenomenon of a moonbow, which happens when light
reflects off the mist from the waterfalls. The valley’s many simple campsites
and cabins offer you the opportunity to spend a night in Yosemite Valley and
experience these special moments. In the morning, you can rise and if the
timing is right, possibly catch Yosemite’s famous Firefall, an effect created
when the light on Horsetail Falls makes it look bright orange like liquid magma.

so much to do, you owe it to yourself to spend at least a few days in this
place of natural splendor. But even if you don’t have time to do that, you can
experience a glut of once-in-a-lifetime scenery at the Ansel Adams Gallery.
There, you can purchase pieces by the legendary wilderness photographer, whose
name is honored with a section of land that spreads through the park. It’s a
place everyone should see, so plan your trip today!