Beginning of main content

Yosemite Valley

From Yosemite Falls to Half Dome and El Capitan, you can see some of the most stunning scenery in the world from Yosemite National Park’s central valley.

Yosemite Valley is the emerald green heart of Yosemite National Park. Marvel at the soaring granite walls, including some of the park’s most iconic landmarks, flanking this 8-mile (13-kilometer) canyon. 

Just about everywhere you turn in Yosemite Valley, you’ll see a thundering waterfall cascading from a clifftop above. The most visited is Yosemite Falls, which is the largest waterfall in North America. Other notable ones include Sentinel Fall, Bridalveil Fall and Nevada Fall. In February, don’t miss Horsetail Fall, which famously appears as if it is on fire when it reflects the sunset.

For a close look at one of the world’s most recognizable rock faces, bring your picnic blanket to El Capitan Meadow. El Capitan, a favorite destination for rock climbers and cliff jumpers, towers above you. This is located along the one-way Northside Drive, so you should stop here on your way out of Yosemite Valley.

Half Dome is an iconic symbol of Yosemite, recognizable in Ansel Adams photographs. Although its face is best left to experienced climbers, hardy hikers can reach its summit along a 15-mile (24 kilometer) loop trail that begins in Yosemite Valley. You can do the climb in a day or to make the experience more relaxed, stay overnight in one of the campsites along the trail. If you’d rather settle for a great vantage point of the vertical face, visit Sentinel Bridge, where you can see Half Dome reflected in the Merced River. 

Get your camera out at Tunnel View, which provides one of the best vistas in Yosemite National Park. Stop at the east end of the Wawona Tunnel and enjoy the panoramic view of El Capitan and Bridalveil Fall with Half Dome towering in the background. 

Driving through Yosemite Valley is allowed throughout the year. During busy periods, avoid traffic congestion and take advantage of the valley’s free shuttle service. With year-round service in eastern Yosemite Valley and summer service as far west as El Capitan, this is an effortless way to see the area’s major attractions.

Popular Activities at Yosemite Valley

Get the most out of your time spent at Yosemite Valley. Below is a list of the best activities:

You ought to consider buying a Yosemite Self-Guided Audio Tour or a Beginner Yosemite National Park Guided Adventure Hike for 2 during your visit. These activities are a few of the most sought-after.

Check out our California things to do page to discover more activities while you're in the area.


Guide to Exploring around Yosemite Valley


Trip Type
Flight 1
Flight 2
Flight 3
Flight 4
Flight 5

Search over 1,000,000 properties worldwide and 550 airlines worldwide.

Search over a million flights, hotels, packages, and more

No Expedia cancellation fee to change or cancel almost any hotel reservation.

Map

Lodging Near Yosemite Valley

See all 137 Properties near Yosemite Valley
Yosemite West Scenic Wonders Vacation Rentals $275
Yosemite West Scenic Wonders Vacation Rentals

Yosemite West Scenic Wonders Vacation Rentals

Various Addresses, Yosemite National Park, CA
     
    4.7
    of 5, from 113 reviews
    3.5 out of 5.0

    These cabins are located throughout the area in Yosemite National Park.

    Brand New Upscale Yosemite West Vacation Home Inside Yosemite National Park Gate
    Brand New Upscale Yosemite West Vacation Home Inside Yosemite National Park Gate

    Brand New Upscale Yosemite West Vacation Home Inside Yosemite National Park Gate

    Yosemite National Park, CA
       
      4.9
      of 5, from 29 reviews
      0.0 out of 5.0

      Situated in a rural location, this historic vacation home is 2.7 mi (4.3 km) from Sierra National Forest and within 9 mi (15 km) of Yosemite Valley and Badger Pass. Tunnel View and Bridalveil Fall are also within 12 mi (20 km).

      Inside Yosemite N.p. Gates!, Our Cozy Rooms Are Minutes From Valley Attractions
      Inside Yosemite N.p. Gates!, Our Cozy Rooms Are Minutes From Valley Attractions

      Inside Yosemite N.p. Gates!, Our Cozy Rooms Are Minutes From Valley Attractions

      Yosemite National Park, CA
         
        5.0
        of 5, from 2 reviews
        0.0 out of 5.0

        Situated in Yosemite National Park, this romantic property is close to Yosemite Arch Rock Gate Entrance and Badger Pass. Area attractions also include Tunnel View and Bridalveil Fall.

        Yosemite Hideaway "A" 3br 2ba $511
        Yosemite Hideaway "A" 3br 2ba

        Yosemite Hideaway "A" 3br 2ba

        Yosemite National Park, CA
           
          0.0 out of 5.0

          Situated in Yosemite National Park, this vacation home is close to Yosemite Arch Rock Gate Entrance. Area attractions also include Badger Pass and Tunnel View.

          Inside Yosemite N.p. Gates!, our Luxury Home is Minutes From Valley Attractions
          Inside Yosemite N.p. Gates!, our Luxury Home is Minutes From Valley Attractions

          Inside Yosemite N.p. Gates!, our Luxury Home is Minutes From Valley Attractions

          Yosemite National Park, CA
             
            4.9
            of 5, from 54 reviews
            0.0 out of 5.0

            Situated in Yosemite National Park, this romantic vacation home is close to Yosemite Arch Rock Gate Entrance and Badger Pass. Area attractions also include Tunnel View and Bridalveil Fall.

            Inside Yosemite N.p. Gates!, Our Cozy Rooms Are Minutes From Valley Attractions
            Inside Yosemite N.p. Gates!, Our Cozy Rooms Are Minutes From Valley Attractions

            Inside Yosemite N.p. Gates!, Our Cozy Rooms Are Minutes From Valley Attractions

            Yosemite National Park, CA
               
              5.0
              of 5, from 1 reviews
              0.0 out of 5.0
              Inside Yosemite N.p. Gates!, Our Cozy Rooms Are Minutes From Valley Attractions
              Inside Yosemite N.p. Gates!, Our Cozy Rooms Are Minutes From Valley Attractions

              Inside Yosemite N.p. Gates!, Our Cozy Rooms Are Minutes From Valley Attractions

              Yosemite National Park, CA
                 
                0.0 out of 5.0
                Cozy Hideaway Studio B
                Cozy Hideaway Studio B

                Cozy Hideaway Studio B

                Yosemite National Park, CA
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0

                  Situated in Yosemite National Park, this apartment building is close to Yosemite Arch Rock Gate Entrance. Area attractions also include Badger Pass and Tunnel View.