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Yosemite Valley

From Yosemite Falls to Half Dome and El Capitan, you can see some of the most stunning scenery in the world from Yosemite National Park’s central valley.

Yosemite Valley is the emerald green heart of Yosemite National Park. Marvel at the soaring granite walls, including some of the park’s most iconic landmarks, flanking this 8-mile (13-kilometer) canyon. 

Just about everywhere you turn in Yosemite Valley, you’ll see a thundering waterfall cascading from a clifftop above. The most visited is Yosemite Falls, which is the largest waterfall in North America. Other notable ones include Sentinel Fall, Bridalveil Fall and Nevada Fall. In February, don’t miss Horsetail Fall, which famously appears as if it is on fire when it reflects the sunset.

For a close look at one of the world’s most recognizable rock faces, bring your picnic blanket to El Capitan Meadow. El Capitan, a favorite destination for rock climbers and cliff jumpers, towers above you. This is located along the one-way Northside Drive, so you should stop here on your way out of Yosemite Valley.

Half Dome is an iconic symbol of Yosemite, recognizable in Ansel Adams photographs. Although its face is best left to experienced climbers, hardy hikers can reach its summit along a 15-mile (24 kilometer) loop trail that begins in Yosemite Valley. You can do the climb in a day or to make the experience more relaxed, stay overnight in one of the campsites along the trail. If you’d rather settle for a great vantage point of the vertical face, visit Sentinel Bridge, where you can see Half Dome reflected in the Merced River. 

Get your camera out at Tunnel View, which provides one of the best vistas in Yosemite National Park. Stop at the east end of the Wawona Tunnel and enjoy the panoramic view of El Capitan and Bridalveil Fall with Half Dome towering in the background. 

Driving through Yosemite Valley is allowed throughout the year. During busy periods, avoid traffic congestion and take advantage of the valley’s free shuttle service. With year-round service in eastern Yosemite Valley and summer service as far west as El Capitan, this is an effortless way to see the area’s major attractions.

Popular Activities at Yosemite Valley

Make the most of your time at Yosemite Valley. Below is a list of the top things to do:

Why don't you consider trying out a Beginner Yosemite National Park Guided Adventure Hike for 2 or an Intermediate Yosemite National Park Adventure Hike?

Peruse our California things to do page to learn about more activities while you're in the area.


Guide to Exploring Yosemite Valley


Map

Top Hotel Deals

See all 2,030 properties near Yosemite Valley
Yosemite View Lodge Rs9,572
Yosemite View Lodge

Yosemite View Lodge

11136 Highway 140, El Portal
     
    3.8
    of 5, from 5,906 reviews
    2.5 out of 5.0

    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).

    Yosemite West Scenic Wonders Vacation Rentals Rs42,484
    Yosemite West Scenic Wonders Vacation Rentals

    Yosemite West Scenic Wonders Vacation Rentals

    Various Addresses, Yosemite National Park
       
      4.7
      of 5, from 94 reviews
      3.5 out of 5.0

      These cabins are located throughout the area in Yosemite National Park.

      Yosemite Scenic Wonders - Wawona Area
      Yosemite Scenic Wonders - Wawona Area

      Yosemite Scenic Wonders - Wawona Area

      Various Addresses, Yosemite National Park
         
        4.8
        of 5, from 33 reviews
        3.5 out of 5.0

        These cabins are located throughout the area in Yosemite National Park.

        Brand New Upscale Yosemite West Vacation Home Inside Yosemite National Park Gate
        Brand New Upscale Yosemite West Vacation Home Inside Yosemite National Park Gate

        Brand New Upscale Yosemite West Vacation Home Inside Yosemite National Park Gate

        , Yosemite National Park
           
          4.9
          of 5, from 29 reviews
          0.0 out of 5.0

          Situated in a rural location, this historic holiday home is 2.7 mi (4.3 km) from Sierra National Forest and within 9 miles (15 km) of Badger Pass and Yosemite Valley. Tunnel View and Bridalveil Fall are also within 12 miles (20 km).

          Inside Yosemite Mountain Beauty Rs36,557
          Inside Yosemite Mountain Beauty

          Inside Yosemite Mountain Beauty

          7436 Henness Ridge Road, Yosemite National Park
             
            4.0
            of 5, from 3 reviews
            4.0 out of 5.0

            Situated in Yosemite National Park, this holiday home is 2.9 mi (4.6 km) from Sierra National Forest and within 9 miles (15 km) of Badger Pass and Yosemite Valley. Tunnel View and Bridalveil Fall are also within 12 miles (20 km).

            Inside Yosemite Park Winter Wonderland Rs28,932
            Inside Yosemite Park Winter Wonderland

            Inside Yosemite Park Winter Wonderland

            7428 Yosemite Parkway, Yosemite National Park
               
              4.5
              of 5, from 2 reviews
              4.0 out of 5.0

              Situated in Yosemite National Park, this holiday home is 2.9 mi (4.7 km) from Sierra National Forest and within 9 miles (15 km) of Badger Pass and Yosemite Valley. Tunnel View and Bridalveil Fall are also within 12 miles (20 km).

              Inside Yosemite Lower Cascades Rs34,006
              Inside Yosemite Lower Cascades

              Inside Yosemite Lower Cascades

              7426 Yosemite Parkway, Yosemite National Park
                 
                4.4
                of 5, from 7 reviews
                4.0 out of 5.0

                Situated in Yosemite National Park, this holiday home is 2.9 mi (4.7 km) from Sierra National Forest and within 9 miles (15 km) of Badger Pass and Yosemite Valley. Tunnel View and Bridalveil Fall are also within 12 miles (20 km).

                Storybook Chalet Inside Yosemite National Park
                Storybook Chalet Inside Yosemite National Park

                Storybook Chalet Inside Yosemite National Park

                , Yosemite
                   
                  4.4
                  of 5, from 63 reviews
                  0.0 out of 5.0