Best Viewpoints in Yosemite National Park
When you visit Yosemite, there are so many gorgeous overlooks that it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are some of the must-see viewpoints in Yosemite.
You’ve undoubtedly seen this Ansel Adams classic on Instagram or on a Yosemite ad somewhere. El Cap on the left, Half Dome in the distance, and Bridalveil Falls on the right. When the Mariposa Battalion entered the Valley through this spot in 1864, they didn’t stop to admire it for fear of an Ahwahneechee ambush!
One of the most awe-inspiring views in the park, it places the viewer at eye level with Half Dome. Here, you are looking down on most of the Valley and it’s waterfalls. There aren’t many views like this in the world that a person can drive to without hiking.
It is home to about 20 mature Giant Sequoias. Go see the largest known living organisms on the planet (dare we say, largest known in the universe!?!). These behemoths grow from a tiny seed 4-5 mm in length. The trail is only a 2.5 mile loop with about -/+ 400 feet of elevation, and is much less crowded than the Mariposa Grove.
Only accessible when Tioga road is open from about May – late October, Tuolumne Meadows is a serene area in the Yosemite High Country with many granite domes to explore, wildflowers in the spring, gorgeous sunsets, and sits just north of the Cathedral Range.
Half Dome from Sentinel Bridge
While strolling around the Valley’s meadows, don’t miss the photographer’s favorite spot on Sentinel Bridge where Half Dome is in full view reflecting a mirror image in the Merced River.
Climber spotting from El Capitan Meadow
Grab your binoculars and head to the meadow. There is a large shoulder where you can park right in front of El Cap. Take one of the trails into the meadow (Save the butterflies! Don’t walk off trail!). More often than not, you will spot the tiny colorful dots of climbers along The Nose.