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Yosemite National Park – Trails & Vistas

Here are a few Yosemite National Park – trails & vistas. It is impossible to suggest the exact best locations to see in Yosemite National Park because, in reality, the views are spectacular from every corner. Regardless, I compiled a list of ideas to get you thinking about locations. I hope you find these helpful as you plan your journey to Yosemite.

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Yosemite Mirror Lake

Things to Consider When You are Planning your Trip

To get the most up-to-date road closure information, read the current conditions from the nps.gov website, which also provides current air quality, live webcams, weather data, and more. Reservations are not required at the moment, but things change, so make sure to continue to check as your trip gets closer.

Here are the current fee details for visiting Yosemite – as of now, it is $35 for a regular vehicle and valid for seven days. I suggest going in the fall or wintertime if you want to see the park with fewer crowds. If you go at the beginning of spring, it is a lot better than going in the summertime when it makes it harder to find a place to park or stay.

Yosemite National Park – Trails and Vistas

Wampama Falls – 5.5 miles, moderate, out and back

This is a unique location in Yosemite and a less visited park area. If you want to explore this region and ditch the main valley crowds, Wampama Falls is located in the northwest corner of the park. Once you reach Hetch Hetchy Road, you follow that road for about 16 miles until you get to the end of the parking lot.

The trail begins where the O’Shaughnessy Dam is located. Hetch Hetchy is a rare location and was once considered its own valley. Many believe this beautiful place should be restored to its former state by removing the dam. You can read more about it: [Restore Hetchy Hetchy].

I highly recommend a few safety tips: This area is much warmer than Yosemite Valley, so I suggest visiting early if you are going in the summertime. It gets hot, and the trail is mostly exposed. Black bears are active in the area quite often, so make lots of noise when you hike, and be on the lookout for rattlesnakes as well.

Wapama Falls

Inspiration Point – 2.6 miles, moderate, out and back

One of the most picturesque sights in Yosemite is Tunnel View; many people don’t realize that the parking area also has hiking trails behind it. There are several trails along the way, but if you want to get a different sight of Tunnel View with fewer people, you can hike to Inspiration Point. It is a short hike with a bit of incline – keep in mind that there is always elevation gain in Yosemite, so even a short hike can feel a little heavy.

Along the trail, you will catch different viewpoints of Tunnel View from many angles and perspectives. You can see El Capitan and Bridalveil Falls, with Half Dome in the background – Yosemite Valley looks beautiful on this trail. This viewpoint is located at the east end of the Wawona Tunnel along Wawona Road, which is Highway 41. Parking can be tricky, so wait around if needed, as people always get in and out of their cars to capture quick pictures.

Inspiration Point Yosemite

Vernal Falls via Mist Trail – 3 miles, hard, out and back

The Mist Trail has two spectacular and very popular waterfalls to see in the area. The first is Vernal Falls, one of the park’s most iconic locations! It takes about 3 miles to get to the falls. Those three miles can be pretty challenging for someone who doesn’t have much experience hiking, but it’s a hike worth the challenge.

Seeing Vernal Falls when it is flowing heavily is spectacular, and there are different vistas to get a nice view of this gigantic body of water. If you choose not to continue to the next location at Nevada Falls, you can head back down.

Mist Trail Yosemite

Nevada Falls via Mist Trail – 7 miles, strenuous, out and back

Continuing the trek to Nevada Falls will be another 4 miles from Vernal Falls. This route is much less popular via the Mist Trail and quieter if you want to avoid the crowds. I recommend taking the John Muir Trail back down instead of going to Vernal Falls again. This route will lead you to Yosemite Valley after 2.3 miles, and it’s a quicker way down.

Nevada Falls

Mirror Lake via Valley Loop – 4.4 miles, moderate loop

There are many Yosemite National Park – trails & vistas. A popular location is Mirror Lake. Great for those not looking for a hike with high elevation or difficulty. Mirror Lake is paved in several areas and is flat, making it an easy hike. The lake is only there for a short amount of time each year; don’t be alarmed if you find zero water.

Mirror Lake

Glacier Point Trail – Glacier Point Road, 0.6 miles

This is one of Yosemite National Park’s shortest “hikes” and has one of the most beautiful views of Half Dome. Glacier Point Trail is an easy 0.6-mile loop. To access Glacier Point, you must take the Four Mile Trail, which is about nine miles of hiking with 3,200 ft of elevation gain.

Glacier Point

Washburn Point– South of Glacier Point Road, 20 stair steps

Washburn Point is south of Glacier Point. This area has views of Half Dome, but you also get views of Vernal, Nevada, and Illilouette Falls. This is one of my favorite views of the park and one I wouldn’t want to miss! Once you find parking, you take 20 stair steps to the lookout point.

Washburn Point

Places to Stay – Lodging and Campsites

There are so many places to stay in and around Yosemite. Lodging options are the most expensive, but you can occasionally get some pretty good deals. Your other option is to stay at one of the campsites when they are open for the season. Check the resources below for campgrounds and lodging in Yosemite. Remember to book months in advance to secure a spot before your trip!

Lodging: National Park Reservations, distance, and information are detailed.

Campsites: Recreation.gov, all Yosemite National Park Campgrounds are listed.

Your Thoughts: What is your favorite Yosemite trail or vista?

This post was about Yosemite National Park – Trails & Vistas. Which location in Yosemite do you like the most? Share a comment below and let me know your favorite place in this beautiful National Park.

Read more about these other national parks: [Lassen Volcanic National Park] and [Pinnacles National Park].

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