El Capitan

El Capitan which includes forest scenes and a gorge or canyon
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Experience the enormity of Yosemite Valley’s glacially carved granite peaks when you gaze upon this distinctive formation and rock-climbing landmark.

El Capitan is one of Yosemite National Park’s best-known features, rising sharply from the valley floor in a spectacular precipitous formation. Translating to “the captain” in Spanish, El Capitan looks out over the magnificent valley and dares rock climbers and hikers to reach its dizzying peaks. See the mesmerizing rock face from one of several roads that wind through the western part of Yosemite Valley or grab your climbing equipment and tackle “El Cap” yourself.

The sheer cliff face of El Capitan stands opposite the magnificent mists of Bridalveil Fall. Drive along the roads that connect Tunnel View, El Capitan Meadow and the Bridalveil Fall area to get clear views of Yosemite’s chief peak and the climbers scaling its face. Rising over 3,000 feet (900 meters) from its base, the granite monolith’s tallest face is easy to identify from the length of the valley. The Mariposa Battalion gave the formation its name while exploring the valley in 1851. The local Native American name for the formation translates to “Rock Chief” or “Captain,” inspiring the Spanish name.

Photograph the precipice and capture the sunlight as it reflects off the rock face. Sunset is a popular time for photographers in this colossal landscape, when the colors of the sunlight cast red and orange hues across the granite sentinel.

Reach El Capitan’s base by hiking out of Yosemite Valley on the trail that heads west from Yosemite Falls. Keen rock climbers have long heralded El Capitan as one of the world’s greatest challenges. If you are an experienced climber, bring your gear and tackle one of the climbing routes ascending the sheer granite face. If not, use binoculars to view climbers on the southwest and southeast faces.

El Capitan is located in the valley’s western section at the center of Yosemite National Park. See the magnificent peak as you drive along one of several scenic routes that pass through the soaring valley. Visit in summer to see the stark contrast of the blue sky above the pale rock or check out the views in winter when snow dusts the formation’s nose.

Top Hotels Close to El Capitan

Curry Village
Curry Village
2.5 out of 5
9010 Curry Village Dr., Yosemite National Park, CA, 93727
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $112 per night from Dec 16 to Dec 17
$112
per night
Dec 16 - Dec 17
Stay at this hotel in Yosemite National Park. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and an outdoor pool. Popular attractions Yosemite National Park and Yosemite Valley ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (131 reviews)
"Nice place if you just want to crach after a long day hiking"

Reviewed on Nov 25, 2022

Curry Village
Yosemite Valley Lodge
Yosemite Valley Lodge
3 out of 5
9006 Yosemite Lodge Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA, 93727
The price is $183 per night from Dec 8 to Dec 9
$183
per night
Dec 8 - Dec 9
Stay at this 3-star hotel in Yosemite National Park. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and 2 restaurants. Our guests praise the helpful staff in our reviews. Popular ...
4.2/5 Very Good! (316 reviews)
"No hot water at all."

Reviewed on Mar 19, 2022

Yosemite Valley Lodge
Housekeeping Camp
Housekeeping Camp
1.5 out of 5
9004 Southside Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA, 95389
Stay at this campground in Yosemite National Park. Enjoy free parking, a free area shuttle, and a 24-hour front desk. Popular attractions Yosemite National Park ...
3.5/5 Good! (105 reviews)
A really fun place to stay in Yosemite
"I was dubious about this place when I booked it as I don't like camping and I do like my creature comforts, but actually I really loved it and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for somewhere to stay in Yosemite. Firstly, it's a really affordable option in Yosemite where the hotels and ..."

Reviewed on Sep 9, 2016

Housekeeping Camp
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Best Lodging Options Near El Capitan

Curry Village
Curry Village
2.5 out of 5
9010 Curry Village Dr., Yosemite National Park, CA, 93727
Curry Village
Yosemite Valley Lodge
Yosemite Valley Lodge
3 out of 5
9006 Yosemite Lodge Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA, 93727
Yosemite Valley Lodge
Housekeeping Camp
Housekeeping Camp
1.5 out of 5
9004 Southside Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA, 95389
Housekeeping Camp
The Ahwahnee
The Ahwahnee
4 out of 5
9005 Ahwahnee Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA, 93727
The Ahwahnee
Yosemite View Lodge
Yosemite View Lodge
2.5 out of 5
11136 Highway 140, El Portal, CA, 95318
Yosemite View Lodge
Large Vacation Home, Former B&B, Inside Yosemite
Large Vacation Home, Former B&B, Inside Yosemite
Yosemite, CA
Large Vacation Home, Former B&B, Inside Yosemite
Scenic Wonders Yosemite Park Place 3 Bedrooms
Scenic Wonders Yosemite Park Place 3 Bedrooms
3.5 out of 5
7507 Yosemite Park Way, Yosemite National Park, CA, 95389
Scenic Wonders Yosemite Park Place 3 Bedrooms
Scenic Wonders El Capitan Loft 3 Bedroom
Scenic Wonders El Capitan Loft 3 Bedroom
4 out of 5
7306 Buck Brush Lane, Yosemite National Park, CA, 95389
Scenic Wonders El Capitan Loft 3 Bedroom
Scenic Wonders Alpine Aerie 3 Bedrooms
Scenic Wonders Alpine Aerie 3 Bedrooms
3.5 out of 5
7306 Yosemite Park Way, Yosemite National Park, CA, 95389
Scenic Wonders Alpine Aerie 3 Bedrooms
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.