Discover Yosemite National Park

Located in the heart of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, Yosemite National Park is a sanctuary of towering granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and lush valleys teeming with diverse wildlife. Whether you’re an avid outdoor enthusiast or simply seeking a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Yosemite offers an unforgettable experience for everyone.

From must-see attractions like El Capitan and Half Dome to insider tips on hiking trails, camping essentials, and wildlife encounters, we’ve got you covered. Get ready to immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of Yosemite National Park and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Top 3 Facts About Yosemite National Park


Giant Sequoias

Yosemite is home to some of the world’s largest and oldest trees, the Giant Sequoias. Mariposa Grove, located in the southern part of the park, houses over 500 of these towering giants, including the famous Grizzly Giant, estimated to be over 1,800 years old.



Yosemite boasts some of the tallest waterfalls in North America, including Yosemite Falls, which plunges a staggering 2,425 feet in three tiers. Bridalveil Fall, with its delicate mist and the thundering cascades of Vernal and Nevada Falls, are among the park’s other spectacular water features.


Annual Visitors

Yosemite National Park consistently ranks among the most visited national parks in the United States. On average, it welcomes over four million visitors annually, making it one of the busiest parks in the National Park System.

Camping and transportation in Yosemite National Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Yosemite National Park

Getting to Yosemite National Park can vary depending on your starting point and mode of transportation. Here are some common ways to reach the park:

  • By Car: Many visitors drive to Yosemite, especially if they’re coming from nearby cities like San Francisco (about four hours away) or Los Angeles (about 6fourhours away). The park has multiple entrances, including the Big Oak Flat Entrance, the Arch Rock Entrance, and the South Entrance. It’s important to check road conditions and any closures, especially during winter months when some routes may be affected by snow.
  • Shuttle Service: During the peak season (spring through fall), Yosemite operates a free shuttle service within the park, making it easy to get around without a car. The shuttle stops at various points of interest, trailheads, and visitor centers.
  • Airports: If you’re flying in from out of state or internationally, the closest airports to Yosemite are Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT) and Mammoth Yosemite Airport (MMH). From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service to reach the park.

Places to Stay Near Yosemite National Park

There are various accommodation options available near Yosemite National Park that suit different preferences and budgets. Here are some popular choices:

  • Lodges and Hotels: Within the park are several lodges and hotels operated by the Yosemite Hospitality concessionaire. These include The Ahwahnee, Yosemite Valley Lodge, and Wawona Hotel. These accommodations offer convenient access to the park’s attractions and stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Campgrounds: Yosemite offers numerous campgrounds for those who prefer to experience the park’s natural beauty up close. Campgrounds like Upper Pines, Lower Pines, and North Pines are located in Yosemite Valley, while others like Wawona, Bridalveil Creek, and Tuolumne Meadows are in different parts of the park. Advanced reservations are highly recommended, especially during the peak season.
  • Cabins and Vacation Rentals: Cabins and vacation rentals are available near Yosemite, offering a more private and cozy lodging experience. These options can be found in nearby towns such as Groveland, Mariposa, Oakhurst, and Fish Camp, providing easy access to the park while allowing for a quieter retreat.
  • Bed and Breakfasts: For a more intimate and personalized experience, consider staying at a bed and breakfast in one of the charming towns surrounding Yosemite. These accommodations often offer comfortable rooms, home-cooked meals, and local insights from the hosts.
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Best Time to Go to Yosemite National Park



Summer is the peak tourist season in Yosemite, offering warm temperatures and long daylight hours for outdoor activities. Visitors can enjoy hiking to iconic landmarks like Half Dome and Yosemite Falls, rock climbing on granite cliffs, and swimming in the Merced River. However, popular areas can be crowded, and accommodations and campsites are often booked up months in advance, so planning ahead is essential.



Winter transforms Yosemite into a serene winter wonderland, with snow-capped peaks, frozen waterfalls, and peaceful snowy landscapes. While some areas of the park, such as Tioga Road and Glacier Point Road, may close due to snow, Yosemite Valley remains accessible and offers opportunities for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and even ice skating at the Curry Village Ice Rink.



In spring, Yosemite comes alive with vibrant wildflowers, rushing waterfalls, and awakening wildlife. The melting snow from the winter months fills the rivers and creeks, creating spectacular displays of cascading water. With milder temperatures and fewer crowds than summer, spring is ideal for hiking, birdwatching, and enjoying the park’s natural beauty.

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Fall brings cooler temperatures and stunning foliage as the leaves of Yosemite’s deciduous trees turn vibrant shades of red, orange, and gold. With fewer visitors compared to summer, fall offers a more tranquil experience in the park, making it an excellent time for peaceful hikes and photography. Additionally, wildlife sightings increase as animals prepare for winter, adding to the park’s allure during this colorful season.

Must-See Attractions

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El Capitan

Towering over Yosemite Valley, El Capitan is one of the world’s largest granite monoliths and a mecca for rock climbers. Watch climbers tackle its sheer face from viewpoints like El Capitan Meadow or take a leisurely drive along Northside Drive for panoramic views.

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in North America, with a total drop of 2,425 feet in three distinct sections: Upper Yosemite Fall, Middle Cascades, and Lower Yosemite Fall. Hike to the base of the falls for a close-up view, or admire its beauty from various viewpoints around Yosemite Valley.

Half Dome

Rising nearly 5,000 feet above the valley floor, Half Dome is one of Yosemite’s most iconic landmarks and a popular challenge for hikers. The strenuous Half Dome hike takes adventurers along a steep trail with cables to assist in the final ascent, rewarding them with breathtaking views from the summit.

Helpful Tips: Making the Most of Your Adventure to Yosemite National Park

Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

Research the park’s attractions, trails, and facilities before your visit. Consider the time of year, weather conditions, and any road closures or construction that may affect your plans.

Pack Appropriately

Pack Appropriately

Bring plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a first aid kit. Dress in layers and wear sturdy hiking shoes for comfort and protection on the trails.

Respect Wildlife

Respect Wildlife

Keep a safe distance from wildlife and never feed or approach them. Practice Leave No Trace principles by disposing of trash properly and respecting wildlife habitats.

Stay Informed

Make Reservations

If you plan to stay overnight in the park, make reservations for accommodations, campsites, or wilderness permits well in advance, especially during peak season.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Yosemite National Park

You’ll find that May through September offers the most pleasant weather for exploring Yosemite. These months provide a comfortable climate for hiking and sightseeing. Just remember, summer can get busy, so plan accordingly!

Start early to beat the crowds, pack layers for changing weather, and always keep a map on hand. Exploring with a guided tour can also enrich your experience with expert insights.

Don’t miss the iconic Yosemite Valley, home to breathtaking waterfalls and towering cliffs. The ancient giant sequoias are awe-inspiring, and make sure to visit the subalpine meadows for a serene getaway.

From April 13 through October 27, 2024, you’ll need a reservation to drive into the park between 5 am and 4 pm. Fees vary, but an annual pass is available if you plan multiple visits. Keep an eye on the National Park Service’s website for the latest updates.

Pets are allowed in Yosemite National Park but must be kept on a leash at all times and are not permitted on trails, in meadows, or in wilderness areas. Certain designated areas, such as campgrounds and paved roads, allow pets, but owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets and ensuring they do not disturb wildlife or other visitors.

Yes, Yosemite offers a free shuttle service during the peak visitor season, typically from spring through fall. The shuttle operates within Yosemite Valley and provides transportation to various points of interest, trailheads, and facilities, reducing traffic congestion and parking shortages.

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