Mountains & Landscapes

Prehistoric glaciers that once washed down over the mountains and cliffs have formed unusual U-shaped valleys and left behind granite rock formations for you to marvel at, such as Half Dome and El Capitan in the Yosemite Valley.

Above: Project Yosemite is a timelapse video project set in Yosemite National Park and shot by Colin Delehanty and Sheldon Neill.

Tioga Road going over Tioga Pass in Yosemite National Park

3 Stops on Tioga Road in Yosemite

Although just about every bend in Tioga Road reveals another awesome view, here are three stops you won't want to miss on the eastern section at Tioga Pass.

View from Glacier Point's Upper Terrace looking down at Yosemite Valley. Way to the left is Overhanging Rock. Photo by Gloria Wadzinski

Canyons and Valleys in Yosemite Park

During the earth's last ice age, massive glaciers moved down from the Sierra Nevada's high country, polishing not just the mountain peaks and iconic granite domes, but also softening and widening Yosemite's ancient valleys and canyons.


Famous Mountains in Yosemite

Apart from its grand waterfalls, Yosemite National Park is best known for its towering granite rock formations and epic Sierra Nevada mountain peaks, a couple of which rise above a breathtaking 14,000 feet. But to enjoy these natural wonders, you don't have to be an accomplished alpinist or an expert rock climber.

Yosemite's granite domes from Tunnel View including Half Dome and El Capitan

Forming Yosemite's Granite Domes

Toward the end of Earth's last ice age, huge glaciers moved down from the Sierra Nevada high country carrying debris that scoured and polished Yosemite's granite rocks to a smooth surface.

View of the Half Dome from Glacier Point in Yosemite

Glaciers in Yosemite

Yosemite’s cliffs, domes, and valleys are products of powerful forces. Watch a video about the past and 2 remaining Sierra glaciers, Maclure and Lyell.

Entering Lee Vining Canyon east of Yosemite. Photo by Gloria Wadzinski

Lee Vining Canyon Scenic Byway

This picturesque canyon borders the east edge of Yosemite. To drive the 12-mile byway thru the Inyo National Forest, start at Yosemite’s Tioga Pass Entrance


Mountains Beyond Yosemite Park

Take time to explore the granite domes and craggy peaks of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and the eastern Sierra Nevada.


Reading the Rocks

Signs of Yosemite’s glacial past are everywhere. Follow these tips on what to look for and where to find them.

Mammoth Mountain

Renaming Mammoth Peak after Jessie Benton Fremont

Yosemite National Park’s Mammoth Peak may be renamed in honor of 19th century female preservationist Jessie Benton Fremont. The measure would be a tribute to a woman who worked doggedly to preserve the land that would become Yosemite in 1890.

Rockfall at Yosemite Falls Lower Falls. Photo by James Sumner [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Rockfalls in Yosemite Valley

To get a good look at evidence of rockfall in any season, just follow the easy walking trails that lead right up to base of the valley's famous waterfalls, including Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Fall.

Glacier Point

Yosemite Geology 101

Learn how volcanoes, glaciers and erosion from millions of years ago shaped today's gorgeous landscape of Yosemite National Park.


Yosemite HD Video

Beauty of Yosemite you could never even begin to imagine. By Project Yosemite


Yosemite Wildflowers

Yosemite’s wildflowers may be small in scale but they are just as showy as the park’s dramatic domes, waterfalls and giant trees. See poppies, shooting stars, lupine, lilies, monkey flower, paintbrush, and columbine

Clothespin Tree in the Mariposa Grove of Sequoia. Photo by Peter Flanigan

Yosemite's Landscapes and Life Zones

The Yosemite region encompasses a diversity of life zones, rising from the foothills of California's Central Valley into high country of the Sierra Nevada.