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Yosemite Valley

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Overview

Not just a great valley, but a shrine to human foresight, the strength of granite, the power of glaciers, the persistence of life, and the tranquility of the High Sierra.

First protected in 1864, Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.

Yosemite National Park includes nearly 1,200 square miles of mountainous scenery, including high cliffs, deep valleys, tall waterfalls, ancient giant sequoias, and a large wilderness. Millions of people visit Yosemite each year to experience its beauty and its many opportunities for enjoyment.

Food & Drink

Eating
Yosemite has numerous restaurants and other dining options all year in Yosemite Valley and seasonally at Wawona, Badger Pass, Glacier Point, White Wolf, and Tuolumne Meadows. Additionally, groceries are available all year in Yosemite Valley, Wawona, Crane Flat, and El Portal, and seasonally at Tuolumne Meadows.

Picnic areas are available throughout the park. Wherever you eat or bring food in Yosemite, please respect animals at a distance; never feed or approach them. Learn more about how to keep your food from bears and what to do if you see a bear.

Camping & Lodging

Lodging
Lodging options in Yosemite National Park range from simple tent cabins at the High Sierra Camps to deluxe rooms at The Ahwahnee. Visit the Delaware North at Yosemite website for full descriptions, prices, and online reservations. Reservations are available 366 days in advance and are strongly recommended, especially from spring through fall and during holidays.

A variety of lodging options are available in the gateway communities surrounding, and on private land within, Yosemite. In these areas, options range from luxurious to affordable, including hotels and motels, bed & breakfasts, vacation rentals, hostels, and tent cabins.

Camping
Yosemite National Park has 13 campgrounds; some are reservable while others operate on a first-come, first-served basis. From about April through October, reservations can be very difficult to get and the first-come, first-served campgrounds often fill up early each day. Learn more about campground reservations, camping without a reservation, and details about each campground. Information about Delaware North at Yosemite's High Sierra Camps is also available.

Recreation.gov and Yosemite.com provide information about camping in communities surrounding Yosemite.

Please note that sleeping in your car or RV is not permitted within Yosemite except in individual campsites.

Overnight Hiking in Wilderness
With nearly 95% of Yosemite National Park designated as wilderness, backpacking is also popular (a wilderness permit is required).

Visiting Tips

Yosemite National Park is open 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, and no reservations are required to visit. However, the Hetch Hetchy Entrance Station is open only during daylight hours (approximately) and some roads are closed due to snow from around November through May or June. (Check road conditions and Hetch Hetchy hours.)

Is there a best time to visit Yosemite? It depends what you're looking for, and each season has its advantages. Learn more about Yosemite in summer, fall, winter, or spring, and find out what kind of weather to expect.

Other Activities

Yosemite is somewhat of a "mecca" for rock climbers. Known for its unrivaled sheer and towering granite domes, Yosemite is home to many of the most classic rock climbing routes in the world. Check out Mountain Project for all of the climbing beta on over 1,300 routes in Yosemite.

Gems in Yosemite Valley - 11

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Gems

gem Favorite Vernal Fall mistin' the rainbow

Vernal Falls

(105) Yosemit…, CA
gem Favorite Yosemite Valley

Tunnel View

(82) Yosemit…, CA
gem Favorite The Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls

(77) Yosemit…, CA
gem Favorite Coming down the cables from the Half Dome summit.

Half Dome

(71) Yosemit…, CA
gem Favorite On top of El Capitan, Yosemite National Park.

El Capitan

(20) Yosemit…, CA
gem Favorite Artist Point Winter Sunset

Artist Point

(17) Yosemit…, CA

Recommended Routes in Yosemite Valley - 13

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Recommended Routes

Favorite Vernal Fall mistin' the rainbow
Difficult

Half Dome

14.5 mi 23.4 km 4,457' Up 1358.42 m Up 4,457' Down 1358.36 m Down

Yosemit…, CA
Favorite The top of Nevada Falls is the best place on earth.
Difficult

Vernal and Nevada Falls Loop

6.2 mi 10.0 km 1,999' Up 609.27 m Up 1,998' Down 608.87 m Down

Yosemit…, CA
Favorite The Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls
Easy

Lower Yosemite Fall Trail

1.0 mi 1.6 km 75' Up 22.74 m Up 84' Down 25.55 m Down

Yosemit…, CA
Favorite Half Dome towering above Mirror Lake/Meadow
Easy/Intermediate

Mirror Lake Loop

4.7 mi 7.6 km 290' Up 88.29 m Up 289' Down 88.22 m Down

Yosemit…, CA
Favorite Yosemite Falls with Half Dome in the background.
Difficult

Upper Yosemite Falls and Yosemite Point Hike

8.0 mi 12.8 km 3,374' Up 1028.33 m Up 3,374' Down 1028.39 m Down

Yosemit…, CA
Favorite Bridalveil Waterfall, Yosemite
Easy

Bridalveil Falls Trail

0.4 mi 0.7 km 98' Up 29.98 m Up 98' Down 29.86 m Down

Yosemit…, CA
Favorite Views galore en route to North Dome.
Intermediate

Porcupine Creek - North Dome

8.7 mi 13.9 km 1,206' Up 367.44 m Up 1,207' Down 367.97 m Down

Yosemit…, CA
Favorite John Muir Trail Vista, Yosemite National Park
Difficult

Yosemite Valley Traverse

13.1 mi 21.0 km 3,990' Up 1216.16 m Up 3,931' Down 1198.11 m Down

Yosemit…, CA
Favorite Such an incredible spot in Yosemite. Clouds Rest is appropriately named with 360 views of the park including Half Dome.
Difficult

Happy Isles to Clouds Rest

18.3 mi 29.5 km 5,782' Up 1762.48 m Up 5,782' Down 1762.38 m Down

Yosemit…, CA
Favorite Yosemite Falls with Half Dome in the background.
Difficult

Eagle Peak and Yosemite Falls Extravaganza

11.0 mi 17.8 km 3,840' Up 1170.31 m Up 3,840' Down 1170.32 m Down

Yosemit…, CA
Favorite Half Dome after the storm subsides.
Easy

Cook's Meadow Loop

1.2 mi 1.9 km 31' Up 9.37 m Up 30' Down 9.27 m Down

Yosemit…, CA
Favorite Yosemite Falls with Half Dome in the background.
Intermediate/Difficult

North Dome Out and Back

15.5 mi 24.9 km 4,760' Up 1450.88 m Up 4,760' Down 1450.9 m Down

Yosemit…, CA
Favorite This is one of the early views along the trail before you get down into the forest.
Difficult

Tamarack and Cascade Creek Tour

8.0 mi 12.8 km 1,418' Up 432.19 m Up 1,418' Down 432.12 m Down

Yosemit…, CA

Yosemite Valley Hiking

  • 221 Miles 355 Kilometers of Trail
  • 13 Recommended Routes
  • 11 Gems Gems
  • 11 Easy Trails Easy Trails
  • 21 Intermediate Trails Intermediate Trails
  • 5 Difficult Trails Difficult Trails
Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Share what you know about this area!

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Trails in Yosemite Valley - 24

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Trails

3.0 mi 4.9 km #1Upper Yosemite Falls
Difficult
Yosemite Valley, CA
Difficult
Yosemite Valley, CA 125 
4.2 mi 6.8 km #2Four Mile Trail
Difficult
Yosemite Valley, CA
Difficult
Yosemite Valley, CA 97 
1.6 mi 2.6 km #3Mist Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Yosemite Valley, CA
Intermediate/Difficult
Yosemite Valley, CA 68 
2.1 mi 3.4 km #4Half Dome Trail
Very Difficult
Yosemite Valley, CA
Very Difficult
Yosemite Valley, CA 19 
22.5 mi 36.2 km #5JMT: Segment 1 - Happy Isles to Tuolomne Meadows
Intermediate/Difficult
Yosemite Valley, CA
Intermediate/Difficult
Yosemite Valley, CA
0.3 mi 0.5 km #6El Capitan Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Yosemite Valley, CA
Easy/Intermediate
Yosemite Valley, CA
4.0 mi 6.4 km #7Mirror Lake Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Yosemite Valley, CA
Easy/Intermediate
Yosemite Valley, CA 17 
0.6 mi 0.9 km #8Eagle Peak Trail
Intermediate
Yosemite Valley, CA
Intermediate
Yosemite Valley, CA
2.3 mi 3.7 km #9Snow Creek Falls Trail
Difficult
Yosemite Valley, CA
Difficult
Yosemite Valley, CA 12 
5.3 mi 8.5 km #10North Rim Trail
Difficult
Yosemite Valley, CA
Difficult
Yosemite Valley, CA

Photos of Yosemite Valley - 331

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Photos

Yosemite Valley
Aug 25, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
Berkeley REI Employees Volunteering in Yosemite.
Nov 12, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
The top of Nevada Falls is the best place on earth.
Mar 31, 2017 near Yosemit…, CA
Vernal Fall mistin' the rainbow
May 7, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
Vernal Falls in Yosemite National Park.
Aug 11, 2017 near Yosemit…, CA
Yosemite Falls with Half Dome in the background.
Jun 2, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
Coming down the cables from the Half Dome summit.
Dec 17, 2015 near Yosemit…, CA
Yosemite Valley as seen from Tunnel View.
Oct 26, 2016 near Yosemit…, CA