10 Top Attractions in Yosemite National Park

Martina Rosado
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Tuolumne Meadows

Tuolumne Meadows is a gorgeous meadow next to the Tuolumne River. The meadows sit at an altitude of 4100 feet. The meadows are home to a variety of wildlife and a variety of wildflowers.

The most common wildlife are black-tailed deer, Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, various types of wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, and various bird species.

Yosemite Nature Notes

The National Park Service is an amazing organization. They work extremely hard to educate the public about the amazing natural wonders that you can experience in Yosemite National Park. If we don’t know the difference between a rattlesnake and a garter snake, the National Park Service does. When I was in Yosemite National Park, I was able to get a free pamphlet from a park ranger. It had different facts about the wildlife, plants, and history of the park. I highly recommend that you get one!

Bridalveil Falls

There is a popular saying that goes; when you are in Yosemite National Park, you are not in the United States, but in the world. It is because the Yosemite park is amazing and offers endless sights; its sights that make the Yosemite National Park one of the world’s best known destinations. Bridalveil Falls, located on Mist Falls Trail, is hailed by some as the best waterfall in the world.

It is heavy with water and has a splendid appearance that makes it better than any other waterfall for having just the right amount of mist to show off its beauty. This is where the saying “You do not know what you have, until it is gone” becomes applicable. You will see Yosemite National Park when you visit this place, and you will definitely go back the next time you visit.

Sentinel Dome

Sentinel Dome is Yosemite’s first high point. The trail is steep and you gain almost 2000 feet in elevation in a 2-mile round-trip hike. At the top, you will find yourself surrounded by granite spires and wooded valleys.

If you can make the journey to the top, you will definitely consider yourself one of Yosemite’s fittest because it is a difficult trail.

It’s such a unique and beautiful place.

It’s completely open and offers great views of El Capitan and Yosemite Valley. There are benches located along the way for you to take a rest or lean on.

When it first opened in 1880, Sentinel Dome was not accessible to the public. It was a major engineering feat and also a huge financial investment. The US Army put thousands of Civil War prisoners to work, pressuring their bodies physically and mentally. As a result, the road was finished in a year.

The inside is hollowed out and is in use as a hollow.

By looking at the slope, you will be able to get a general idea of the job. By comparing it to the completed building, you will be able to visualize the amount of difficulty involved.

El Capitan

This enormous monolith stands 1,534 feet above Half Dome. The cliff face is roughly 3,000 feet high in the center of El Capitan. No one knows who established the first routes here, but at some point in the 1960s its vertical face was free of fixed anchors and became ideal for leading lines and free climbing.

After free climbing, the next big advance was aid climbing – a style of climbing that places set anchors in the rock to provide a fixed point for the placement of protection bolts.

Without these fixed points, progress up El Capitan would be difficult and painful.

Despite its size, people are drawn to El Capitan for its beauty. At first the sight looks like distant hills, but as you get closer the texture of the rock reveals itself, which usually happens near the top. This texture is sometimes called the Patina Effect, created for years by the dripping water and freeze-thaw cycles.

At the very top, the pyramidal shape of El Capitan drops away, leaving an empty space. It’s hard for climbers to describe the feeling of reaching the top of El Capitan. Words are inadequate. El Capitan is just one of Yosemite’s iconic features.

Mariposa Grove

Located in the center of the park since 1894, the Mariposa Grove is over 1000 acres in size and contains more than 700 species of trees, ferns, fern allies, and other plants.

The grove is steeped in Californian history as well as the cultural history of Native Americans. The Yosemite Museum includes artifacts and dioramas with pictures that illustrating the lives of the Native Americans in the area.

First built in 1852, the Mariposa Grove is the second-largest conservatory in the world. The original structures displayed include the Bark House, which features a huge collection of sequoia bark and the Yosemite Museum, is a historical diorama featuring pictures and articles on the life of the Indians in California.

For a special sightseeing trip, head over to the Niffles Institute, which features a lovely collection of huge sequoia trees, planted in the 1890s.

Half Dome

Half-Dome and Inspiration Point are two of the most frequented areas in the park; during the peak season, they are at capacity and extended hours are necessary to maintain order. These are the most scenic views in the mid-valley area, and Half Dome is called "the most spectacular feature" of the park by many people.

Looking down Yosemite Falls from Half-Dome covers approximately 3 square miles and an estimated 1 square mile of Yosemite Valley surrounding Half Dome. The morning and evening light on Half-Dome and Inspiration Point is some of the most unusual in the Yosemite area.

A cable car ride down and across Yosemite Valley is a popular way to see the Valley and is highly recommended on days without headaches and allergies. Weather permitting, fresh chillies are planted and seeded along the lower elevations close to El Capitan. The seeds are then transported to the top of Half Dome, to be planted and sprinkled over the area. Visitors can buy a souvenir chilli seed packet at the visitors' center.

One of the best ways to see the Valley and the scenery including Half-Dome and Inspiration Point is by horseback. On long, quiet rides, you can really take in the full Valley view.

Vernal Falls

Located in Yosemite National Park, Vernal Falls is a very lovely and beautiful 99-foot waterfall with a very short path to it. This waterfall can be seen from the Mist Trail, which is located near El Capitan Meadow.

At the waterfall, you will find a footbridge that leds you to the top of the falls. To get to the waterfall itself, you’ll most likely have to walk down a rugged trail with lots of switchbacks. You might have to fight your way through thorns and over fallen trees at times, but it’s definitely worth it.

Yosemite Falls

Tunnel View

The Tunnel View Campground is a scenic spot, providing a beautiful view of Yosemite Valley and El Capitan. Located 1.3 miles (2.1 km) after you pass through the Wawona Tunnel, the Tunnel View Campground features 31 sites on a hillside overlooking the valley. It’s in a nice, quiet area with a pack station nearby.

Getting here by foot or bike is a great way to minimize the strain on your car engines.

Back in the days of the gold rush, this is the spot where everyone would stop to take in the view and recover from the climb, and it’s still a beautiful spot today.

This campground is currently occupied by housekeeping staff. They let hikers camp here for free, but they only allow two hikers to stay at each campsite.

There’s an overnight horseback ride that offers tours of the area. The ride includes dinner, and you can also add cowboy camping to the mix if you’d like.

Glacier Point

The Glacier Point parking lot is located 3 miles past Yosemite Falls. From this area, you have a clear view of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, El Capitan, Mt. Watkins, Cathedral Rocks, Cathedral Peak, Vernal Fall, Nevada Fall, and Liberty Cap. To the left, you can see the rest of Yosemite Valley.

Glacier Point is the best place to view Half Dome, the granite monolith that soars continuously 3,000 feet above the valley floor. At one time, its sheer height and appearance stopped visitors on Yosemite’s southern entrance to Glacier Point. Now, however, this powerful sight is a magnificent reflection of the dawn and sunset.

The road from Glacier Point to El Capitan is paved, while the rest of the entire South rim is not. So, you should hire a 4WD jeep when you come here. The park offers Glacier Point to Half Dome Tour, which you can take up to Half Dome by trails or by cable car.