For a perspective of Yosemite that few get to see, take a scenic flight with AirBorrn Aviation / Yosemite Airways. On this one-hour tour departing from Mariposa, you’ll fly in a four-seat Cessna aircraft and soar high above Yosemite Valley. Protecting the peace and quiet of Yosemite is important to AirBorrn Aviation, so your plane will fly at altitudes high enough that people and wildlife on the ground below won’t even notice you’re there. The flight provides sweeping views of the park from the air. You’ll peer down at Yosemite Valley, see the imposing faces of El Capitan and Half Dome from above and even pass high above the giant sequoias of Mariposa Grove, which don’t look so giant from the sky.
“No matter what day you go up, the views are always incredible,” says owner Tony Borreson. “Sometimes you’ll see snow-capped peaks or sometimes you’ll see a rainbow in the mist from one of the waterfalls.”
The company has three planes that can fit up to 3 passengers, depending on total weight. Each flight is private so your party will get an intimate experience with a knowledgeable pilot explaining what you’re seeing over a headset. The views are great no matter which flight you choose, but photographers will want to book the plane nicknamed “Joy” which has bubble windows up front and port windows in the rear that open to allow for unobstructed photos. You can book a flight year-round, thanks to heaters inside the plane to keep you warm on winter days.
At $199 per person, these scenic flights are some of the most affordable you’ll encounter. AirBorne Aviation / Yosemite Airways has been in the scenic flight business for seven years and safety is their number one priority. They don’t fly on bad weather days and all planes are well maintained.
The company also offers charter services throughout the West and is planning on adding helicopter tours in 2023. The helicopter tours will remain outside of Yosemite National Park for visitor’s serenity but the views at a distance will still be spectacular.
Learn more and book your flight at yosemiteaviation.com.