Famous around the world for its spectacular landscape, Yosemite National Park is a must-visit on any trip to San Francisco

El Capitan and Half Dome, two cliffs in the heart of Yosemite National Park, are icons of the United States. This incredibly famous park is found in the Sierra Nevada Mountains that run along the eastern edge of California, splitting it from Nevada, and is part of the backbone of America.

Yosemite is best known for its huge, majestic views. Many of the cliffs and peaks are 5,000 feet high and cast their shadows over deep valleys and meadows carved out over millennia by gushing rivers. These are full of local flora and fauna, such as the largest grove of giant sequoia trees at Mariposa, Jeffrey pines and wildflowers, mountain lions, mule deer and northern pygmy owls.

As well as El Capitan and Half Dome, some of the areas that can’t be missed are Yosemite Valley and Bridalveil Fall. In the valley, you’ll find Yosemite Falls, which are the tallest in North America, and the best spots to take pictures of the sunset burning against the cliffs. Bridalveil is one of the first falls you’ll see as you enter the park. The water tumbling over the cliffs can often be seen blowing sideways, which is where the waterfall’s name comes from in both English and Ahwahneechee. Pohono in the Native American language means “Spirit of the Puffing Wind”.

Yosemite’s Panoramic Views

A lake reflects the trees and cliffs of Yosemite on a clear day with blue skies
There are many hiking trails through Yosemite valley to discover panoramic views, and many of the viewpoints are accessible by all
The cliffs of Yosemite at sunset

Experience the majesty of yosemite in private

Many of the viewpoints in Yosemite are easy to reach and provide some of the most spectacular panoramic views known to man. Glacier Point will give you fantastic views of Half Dome, the High Sierra and the Valley. Tunnel View, perhaps the most famous, is the perfect place for pictures as the sun sets against El Capitan. Olmsted Point will show you a completely different perspective of the Valley and its main sights.

There are a number of hiking trails to be explored, as well as horse riding, mountain biking and, of course, climbing. Permits are required for overnight hikes and climbing. These trails are easily the best way to get close to the fantastic nature and wildlife and to discover some of the lesser-known views in the park. There are more than 750 miles of trials waiting for you.

The Inspiration for the First National Park

A deer with antlers looks near the camera in Yosemite National Park
Yosemite is so magnificent and holds so much flora and fauna that it inspired the first national park in the world
A black and white picture of El Capitan

Discover the beauty of El capitan

Yosemite is so beautiful that it inspired the protection of the wilderness across the United States and the world. It was the first region to receive federal money for its care which led to the creation of the first National Park at Yellowstone, which was the first of its kind on the planet. Because of this, the park is passionate about continuing to protect the environment and asks visitors to leave no trace.

Yosemite can be reached easily from San Francisco. It is just a few hour’s ride on an air-conditioned tour bus that will take you to all the main sights. Many of the main locations in the park are fully accessible, including viewpoints and audio and visual descriptions are available. Sign language interpreters are available for many of the programs run by the park service.

A person jumps on a cliff face in Yosemite at sunset

Learn the history and see the incredible natural beauty of Yosemite