Yosemite National Park

Vacation Travel Guide
Yosemite Falls showing a waterfall and mountains

The hiking trails, waterfalls and mountains full of diverse wildlife make this national park one of the country’s most picturesque.

Yosemite National Park is an area of extraordinary natural beauty in the center of California. It has abundant flora and fauna in addition to majestic mountains, giant trees, vast valleys and peaceful lakes. Every year, millions of travelers visit the park, which stretches across 747,956 acres (302,687 hectares). Glaciers formed the fascinating landscape about 1 million years ago.

See Yosemite Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in the United States. The 2,425-foot (739.1-meter) attraction is one of the park’s most visited sites. Enjoy a picnic on a grassy area nearby while listening to the flowing water.

Get a permit in advance to make the arduous 8.5-mile (13.7-kilometer) hike up Half Dome. Steel cables help hikers climb the steep final section. Some attempt this trek overnight to watch the sunrise from the summit and avoid the afternoon heat. Plan for more than 10 hours for the round trip.

While views from Yosemite Falls and Half Dome are impressive, Glacier Point may be the park’s most spectacular spot. Access the area by car or on foot or skis in winter. Capture photos of the panoramic vista incorporating sparkling granite mountains and tree-covered valleys.

Descend into Yosemite Valley to explore lakes and vegetation. Paddle in the chilly waters of the Merced River.

Investigate some of the world’s largest trees in the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. The Grizzly Giant has a 27 foot (8.2 meter) diameter. Walk through carefully carved gaps for the bizarre experience of standing inside a tree.

Look for many types of wildlife, from spotted owls and white-headed woodpeckers to king snakes and American black bears.

Amtrak trains and tour buses arrive in Yosemite Valley from Los Angeles and San Francisco, which are respectively 300 miles (482.8 kilometers) and 200 miles (321.9 kilometers) from the park. Be sure to make an advance reservation if you plan to stay overnight.

Yosemite National Park is so vast and diverse that you can spend weeks exploring the picturesque region.

Yosemite National Park Travel Guide Video

Top things to do in Yosemite National Park

Top Hotels Close to Yosemite National Park

Yosemite View Lodge
Yosemite View Lodge
2.5 out of 5
11136 Highway 140, El Portal, CA
The price is $154 per night from Nov 3 to Nov 3
Situated on a river, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Merced River and Yosemite National Park. Yosemite Arch Rock Gate Entrance is 2.5 mi (4.1 km) ...
4/5 Very Good! (2,275 reviews)
"Regular maintenance in every room is needed. Update carpet to wood/vinyl flooring to eradicate musty smell, culk tiles/ jacuzzi, chnage shower curtain liner (it has molds on the seams), check electrical outlet and tv functionality… other than that, i think the location and its view is just so ..."

Reviewed on Oct 18, 2021

Yosemite View Lodge
Yosemite Valley Lodge
Yosemite Valley Lodge
3 out of 5
9006 Yosemite Lodge Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA
Situated in a national park, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Yosemite Falls, Cook's Meadow, and Merced River. Yosemite Falls Trailhead and Swinging ...
4.2/5 Very Good! (198 reviews)
"Amazing views and close to trails. Absolutely a great time"

Reviewed on Mar 18, 2021

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Yosemite Valley Lodge
The Ahwahnee
The Ahwahnee
4 out of 5
9005 Ahwahnee Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA
Located near the slopes, this Yosemite National Park hotel is in the mountains, within a 10-minute walk of Ahwahnee Meadow and Merced River, and close to winter ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (200 reviews)
"No housekeeping and food was very good but no table service (Covid rules) but rules were dated."

Reviewed on Jun 11, 2021

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The Ahwahnee
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 Yosemite National Park

Curry Village
Curry Village
2.5 out of 5
9010 Curry Village Dr., Yosemite National Park, CA
The price is $90 per night from Nov 15 to Nov 15
Curry Village
Yosemite View Lodge
Yosemite View Lodge
2.5 out of 5
11136 Highway 140, El Portal, CA
The price is $154 per night from Nov 3 to Nov 3
Yosemite View Lodge
Yosemite Valley Lodge
Yosemite Valley Lodge
3 out of 5
9006 Yosemite Lodge Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA
Yosemite Valley Lodge
The Ahwahnee
The Ahwahnee
4 out of 5
9005 Ahwahnee Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA
The Ahwahnee
Housekeeping Camp
Housekeeping Camp
1.5 out of 5
9004 Southside Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA
Housekeeping Camp
Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite
Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite
4 out of 5
1122 Highway 41, Fish Camp, CA
The price is $148 per night from Nov 4 to Nov 4
Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite
PaPa Bear Cabin
PaPa Bear Cabin
Yosemite National Park, CA
PaPa Bear Cabin
Yosemite Retreat for you and your family
Yosemite Retreat for you and your family
Yosemite National Park, CA
Yosemite Retreat for you and your family
B104 · 1 BDR Studio w Full Kitchen- Inside Yosemite National Park
B104 · 1 BDR Studio w Full Kitchen- Inside Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park, CA
The price is $197 per night from Oct 28 to Oct 28
B104 · 1 BDR Studio w Full Kitchen- Inside Yosemite National Park
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.