Not just a great valley, but a shrine to human foresight, the strength of granite, the power of glaciers, the persistence of life, and the tranquility of the High Sierra. First protected in 1864, Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.
Yosemite Valley is world-famous for its impressive waterfalls, cliffs, and unusual rock formations. It is open year round and can be reached via Highway 41 from Fresno, Highway 140 from Merced, Highway 120 West from Manteca, and via the Tioga Road (Highway 120 East) from Lee Vining in summer. The Valley is known for massive cliff faces like El Capitan and Half Dome, its plunging waterfalls including the tallest in North America, and its attractive meadows. While Yosemite Falls will be dry until rain and snow recharge it, a moderate hike will take you to Vernal and Nevada Falls. Yosemite’s meadows are great places to see wildlife and to photograph fall and winter scenery. Admire El Capitan, the massive granite monolith that stands 3,593 feet from base to summit. Whether you explore the Valley by foot or car, the scenery will leave you in awe and eager to see what’s around the next corner.