I imagine it is hard to find a more beautiful place in the world then Yosemite National Park. Ansel Adams is one of my favorite photographers of all time, but one would have to admit that he had a pretty good subject to work with whenever he was taking photos of Yosemite. Most people spend their time at the park just seeing Yosemite Valley, and on Karen and my only trip there that is what we did. However, there is a lot more to Yosemite than just the Valley. Unfortunately for us heavy snow was still covering the higher elevations. I guess that just means we will have to plan another trip to this wonderful park so we can visit all of our Top Ten Things to see in Yosemite National Park.
Top Ten Things to see in Yosemite National Park
10. Hetch Hetchy Reservoirvia
Hetch Hetchy is a good place to see what could have happened to Yosemite Valley. Hetch Hetchy is a glacial valley that was turned into a water reservoir for the city of San Francisco in the 1920s. Hetch Hetchy is still a beautiful place and hopefully someday it will be turned back into its natural state.
9. El Capitan
El Capitan and Half Dome are arguably the most famous rock formations in America’s National Park System. El Capitan is roughly a 3,000 pound massive slab of granite that has become a must do for any serious rock climber.
8. Mist Trailvia
Mist Trail to Nevada Falls is the must do day hike for anybody that is in reasonable shape that visits Yosemite National Park. It is just a beautiful area of the park and by taking the proper precautions can be accomplished by just about anyone that is able bodied.
7. Tioga Roadvia
Tioga Road is a high altitude road that traverses Yosemite National Park. Close to 60 miles in length Tioga Road will take its travelers through some beautiful high country. Tioga Road is a great road to help escape the crowds of Yosemite Valley.
6. Tuolumne Meadowsvia
Tuolumne Meadows is another good place to help you escape the crowds of Yosemite Valley. Beautifully situated with Tuolumne River running through it and mountain peaks on the horizon. Tuolumne Meadows is a good place to see the wildlife that calls Yosemite National Park home.
While definitely not the most scenic area of the park it does have its own rustic charm. Wawona has two interesting attractions that are worth seeing first the Pioneer Yosemite History Center where visitors can learn about how life used to be, and the second being the covered bridge which I believe is the oldest in California. There are also some hiking trails, a golf course, and a lodge all located in the town of Wawona.
4. Half Dome
One of the great adventures in Yosemite is climbing to the top of Half Dome either by rock climbing or using the Half Dome Cable route just make sure you sign up for your permits well in advanced. For me, and lot of other tourists who did not get signed up for the permits, we had to just settle for looking at Half Dome which is still pretty amazing.
3. Glacier Pointvia
Like everything else on this list Glacier Point is a must do. Of all the things that I did not get to see when Karen and I were in Yosemite National Park this is the one that I wish most that I could have seen. Unfortunately, when you go the year they have record snowfall it makes it difficult to see anything at the higher altitude. Make sure you go at sunset to take in what some would say is the best view of the valley.
2. Mariposa Grovevia
Being from the Plains and not having a whole lot of trees around Mariposa Grove felt like a completely different planet. Seeing the largest grove of sequoia trees in Yosemite National Park left us awestruck. Seeing tree branches bigger than any tree back home will certainly do that to a person. Mariposa Grove is such a beautiful area of the park, and getting up close and personal with some of those sequoia trees is just magical.
1. Yosemite Fallsvia
The fifth tallest waterfall in the world which makes it easy to understand why Yosemite Falls is the centerpiece of Yosemite National Park. Karen and I got to see the falls at the height of its beauty and let me tell you they were stunning. Just make sure if you are going to Yosemite to see the waterfalls that you go in the spring or the very beginning of summer because the beautiful falls usually do not last all year.