The Most Beautiful Places In Yosemite National Park

The Most Beautiful Places in Yosemite National Park

Embrace a remarkable tract of mountain-and-valley scenery in the Sierra Nevada, with over 20 waterfalls, a variety of challenging day hikes, family-friendly trails, and spectacular views — it's no wonder Yosemite National Park ranked No. 1 in our "All 59 National Parks Ranked" list.

You will want to bring your camera and take tons of pictures, as the scenery and wildlife are incredible. View over 400 species of vertebrates — even mountain lions and bears. Also capture the stunning natural sights — meadows, forests, mountain peaks, and groves of giant sequoias — that are accessible throughout the entire park.

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls is one of the world's tallest waterfalls, at 2,425 feet. It is made up of three separate falls; the Upper Yosemite Fall, the middle cascades and the Lower Yosemite Fall. If you are up for it, take an all-day hike to the top of the falls for incredible views. Other falls located in Yosemite National Park include Sentinel Falls, Ribbon Fall and Bridalveil Fall.

El Capitan

El Capitan, located on the north side of Yosemite Valley, is a popular destination among rock climbers and BASE jumpers. It's an approximately 3,000-foot-tall granite cliff that rises above the valley floor.

Glacier Point

Embark on a road trip on about 16 miles of road that leads to some of the most incredible views in Yosemite. Drive up to Glacier Point — 3,000 feet above the valley — and observe the stunning views of Half Dome, look down upon the incredible Yosemite Falls, and watch the beautiful sunset.

Cathedral Peak

Formed by glacial activity, Cathedral Peak offers some of the best alpine rock climbing in Yosemite National Park. It's also a fun and scenic hike with a variety of alternate ascent options and spectacular summit views.

Half Dome

Yosemite is one of the most visited and popular national parks in the U.S. One iconic feature is the granite monolith of Half Dome. Standing nearly 8,800 feet above sea level, Half Dome is an experience you'll never forget, whether you ascend up the cables or admire it from afar. There are steel cables to hang on to, but rain makes it a very slick climb. The Panorama Loop is another popular and stunning hiking route. Along the trail you will also get to see other iconic spots such as the Mist and Vernal Falls, Illilouette Fall, and Glacier Point.

Tuolumne Meadows

At 8,600 feet, Tuolumne Meadows is one of the largest high-elevation meadows in the Sierra Nevada. A recent review on TripAdvisor said: "Tuolumne Meadows offers a very different perspective of Yosemite's beauty compared to Yosemite Valley. This high meadow environment offers beautiful wildflower meadows in the spring and summer, cool lake waters to dip your feet in, and good hiking trail options. Be sure to include this area during your visit!"

Mariposa Grove

Home to 500 giant sequoias, Mariposa Grove is a favorite among Yosemite visitors. It's a great place to stay cool on hot summer days, and a quiet spot for those of you looking to escape the crowds. Take a guided walk or tram ride and make sure you take plenty of photos of these prehistoric giants.

Lembert Dome

This 2.8-mile hike (roundtrip) is perfect for intermediate and expert climbers. The Lembert Dome is a granite dome rock formation that reaches about 800 feet above Tuolumne Meadows and the Tuolumne River. The best time to visit is June through October when the meadows are green.

Vernal Fall

This 317-foot waterfall, located on the Merced River, is a very popular destination among tourists. Go for a walk along the Mist Trail — beginning at the Happy Isles trail head — to get up close to the waterfall or simply admire this attraction at a distance from Glacier Point.

Bridalveil Fall

One of the most popular waterfalls in Yosemite Valley, Bridalveil Fall is a 617-foot masterpiece. Legend has it that inhaling the mist of this waterfall will increase a person's chance of marriage.

Three Brothers

Three Brothers is a rock formation in Yosemite Valley. It is made up of Eagle Peak (the uppermost "brother") and Middle and Lower Brothers, according to the National Park Service. Visitors can see the Three Brothers from the Merced River or Southside Drive.

Tunnel View

For the opportunity to view some of the most spectacular scenery in the entire park, head to the Tunnel View overlook. It's a historic site that offers views of Yosemite Valley, Bridalveil Fall, El Capitan, and Half Dome.

Nevada Fall

Nevada Fall, located in a small glacial valley, is the closest waterfall to the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It's a 594-foot waterfall, known for its turbulent water and gorgeous rainbows.  Hikers can access this waterfall from one of two trails that begin at the Happy Isles trailhead. Bonus: The Nevada Fall flows year-round.