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.
There's no place in the world exactly like Yosemite National Park (and vicinity). So you can make the most of your visit, we've put together a list of the most popular activities:
If you'd like more options, have a look at our Central Interior California things to do page.
This family-friendly El Portal hotel is located on the riverfront, 2.5 mi (4 km) from Yosemite Arch Rock Gate Entrance, and within 12 mi (20 km) of Cathedral Beach and Bridalveil Fall. Yosemite Valley and Tunnel View are also within 12 miles (20 km).
This family-friendly Fish Camp resort is located in the mountains, within 3 mi (5 km) of Sierra National Forest, Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad and Yosemite South Entrance. Mariposa Grove and Wawona Golf Course are also within 9 mi (15 km).
Located in the mountains, this Mammoth Lakes hotel offers ski-in/ski-out access within 3 miles (5 km) of Sierra Star Golf Course and Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center, and is convenient for winter sports, such as cross-country skiing and skiing lessons. Mammoth Hospital and Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center are also within 2 miles (3 km).
Situated in Mammoth Lakes, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Mammoth Hospital and Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center. Edison Theater and Mammoth Ski Museum are also within 1 mile (2 km).
Situated in Coarsegold, this spa hotel is 0.8 mi (1.4 km) from Coarsegold Historic Museum and 1.9 mi (3 km) from Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians. Indian Lakes Park and Children's Museum of the Sierra are also within 12 miles (20 km).
Located in the mountains, this Mammoth Lakes hotel offers ski-in/ski-out access within 3 miles (5 km) of Sierra Star Golf Course and Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center, and is convenient for winter sports, such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Mammoth Hospital and Edison Theater are also within 3 miles (5 km).
Located in the mountains, this Mammoth Lakes hotel offers ski-in/ski-out access within 3 mi (5 km) of Sierra Star Golf Course, Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center and Mammoth Ski Museum. Rainbow Falls is 13.2 mi (21.3 km) away.
Situated in Groveland, this hotel is 1.5 mi (2.4 km) from Yosemite Big Oak Flat Entrance, and within 20 mi (32 km) of Yosemite Valley and Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. Bridalveil Fall and Yosemite Falls are also within 32 mi (52 km).