The Yosemite Valley, carved by glaciers, surrounded by granite domes, watered by the Merced River, sprinkled with pine trees, is a popular weekend destination among San Francisco Bay Area residents. The beauty of this valley, the multitude of stunning waterfalls and the amazing hiking trails in this valley attracts millions from all over the world. If one of your primary reasons is to see the waterfalls (it is home to the highest waterfalls in North America), head over to Yosemite in spring when the waterflow is at its peak. They literally disappear and become a fine trickle towards end of summer. Here are some of the most popular viewpoints in the Yosemite Valley.
The Tunnel View is one of the most popular viewpoints in Yosemite, so be prepared to brave the insane crowds. Most of the significant Yosemite landmarks could be seen from this viewpoint – El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls and Half Dome looming in the background. Also a great viewpoint to see the Milky Way galaxy at night.
The breathtaking views of the Yosemite Valley, Nevada Falls and Vernal Falls attracts millions of visitors from all over the world. The road up to the Glacier Point is narrow, steep and circuitous, but the views are totally worth the painfully long drive. Glacier Point is also an amazing spot to watch the sunset, when the Half Dome shines with an orange hue, and the sky turns pinkish violet.
For a postcard picture, head over to the Valley View (or Gate of the Valley View). With the Merced River creating a flawless mirror reflection of El Capitan to the left and Cathedral Rocks to the right, the Valley View is a great spot to make a stop both at day and at sunset.
Photographers come swarming to the Sentinel Bridge to see the sight of the massive El Capitan and its reflection on the calm Merced River.
Called because it goes to both sides of the river and is an excellent spot from which one can see and photograph Yosemite Falls.
El Capitan Meadow
The El Capitan Meadow offers a straight up view of the massive El Capitan. See the rock climbers packing up reading for their adventure up the El Capitan. Bring your binoculars and try spotting rock climbers.
If you looking for a solid hike, head over to the Vernal Falls. The steep hike is sure to leave you with sore legs, but the breathtaking Vernal Falls makes it all worth it. A tip is to start early, not only to beat the crowds, but also to beat the intense heat during the day.