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Park Itineraries

Pick Your Perfect Yosemite Activities – Climb, Raft, Bike, Ski, Hike

The ultimate guide to activities inside Yosemite National Park

With so many activity options in Yosemite, ranging from family-friendly to skilled adventures, it can be difficult to plan a vacation in the park. Do you lazily float down a river or make the strenuous climb up a granite dome? Read on to find the Yosemite activities that best suit your style.

What is your vacation style?

  1. Family Time
  2. Adventure Chaser
  3. Sightseer
  4. Winter Warrior

1. Family Time

Bike Yosemite Valley

Cruising Yosemite Valley on a rental bike
Cruising Yosemite Valley on a rental bike (Photo: Yosemite Hospitality)

Rent bikes at Curry Village, Yosemite Village or Yosemite Valley Lodge to explore the bike paths along the valley floor. Hop on the free park shuttle when the kids get tired.

Float Down the Merced River

Rafting on the Merced River in Yosemite with views of Yosemite Falls
Rafting on the Merced River in Yosemite with views of Yosemite Falls (Photo: Grant Ordelheide)

Catch a striking view of Half Dome as you do a gentle float down the Merced River. Rent a four-person raft at Curry Village kiosk, but aim to get there early before the kiosk’s 100 rafts are rented out for the day. You can make in-person reservations 24 hours in advance. The three-mile float through the valley ends at Sentinel Beach where a shuttle will bring you back to the village.

Walk Around Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake in Yosemite National Park
Mirror Lake in Yosemite National Park (Photo: Priyanka Bhandari)

Hike 2 miles round-trip to Mirror Lake in Yosemite Valley, an easy hike with kids. Extend it to 5 miles by walking all the way around the lake.

Camp in a Tent Cabin

Curry Village tent cabins in Yosemite National Park
Curry Village tent cabins in Yosemite National Park (Photo: Yosemite Hospitality)

Sleep in one of Curry Village’s Tent Cabins, a perfect way to glamp with a family.


2. Adventure Chaser

Go On a Guided Backpacking Trip

Hikers at the summit of Clouds Rest in Yosemite National Park
Hikers at the summit of Clouds Rest in Yosemite National Park (Photo: Grant Ordelheide)

Hike with an expert guide to Clouds Rest or the Cathedral Range with Yosemite Mountaineering School. These two-to-four-day trips will get you deep into Yosemite’s backcountry.

Learn How to Rock Climb

Boy learning to rock climb with the Yosemite Mountaineering School
Boy learning to rock climb with the Yosemite Mountaineering School (Photo: Yosemite Hospitality)

The Yosemite Mountaineering School offers excursions range from beginner to advanced. You can even book an El Capitan climb. Each group is limited to six students ages 10 and up and one instructor. The beginner rock climbing class, “Welcome to the Rock,” is based at a beginner’s climbing area where you’ll learn all about rock climbing gear and how to climb Yosemite’s famous granite.


3. Sightseer

Gaze at Historical Architecture

The dining room in the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park
The dining room in the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park (Photo: Yosemite Hospitality)

Dine at the famous Ahwahnee Hotel’s Dining Room. This stunning 1920s hotel was built by architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood to help attract wealthy and influential individuals to visit and support Yosemite. Reservations are recommended.

Take a Bus or Tram Tour

Take a guided tour on a bus or tram to see all the park’s best views with a knowledgeable guide. Summer and winter tours are available.

Bring Your Camera on a Photography Walk

Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Valley
Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Valley (Photo: Grant Ordelheide)

Join a photography workshop hosted by Ansel Adams Gallery where you’ll walk in the famous photographer’s footsteps and learn to take incredible photos.


4. Winter Warrior

Go Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-country skier near the Glacier Point Ski Hut in Yosemite
Cross-country skier near the Glacier Point Ski Hut in Yosemite (Photo: Yosemite Hospitality)

Rent cross-country skis at Badger Pass Ski Area and explore 90 miles of trails, 25 of which are groomed. Reopening in the 2022-23 season, ski 21 miles to Glacier Point and stay in a hut.

Ice Skate Under Half Dome

Ice Skating at the rink in Curry Village in Yosemite National Park
Ice Skating at the rink in Curry Village in Yosemite National Park (Photo: Yosemite Hospitality)

Ice skate at the outdoor rink at Curry Village under snow-dusted Half Dome before warming up next to a fire pit.

Ski or Snowboard at Badger Pass

Girl learning to ski at Yosemite's Badger Pass
Girl learning to ski at Yosemite’s Badger Pass (Photo: Yosemite Hospitality)

Set the little ones up with ski or snowboard lessons at Badger Pass Ski Area, one of the only ski areas in a national park, while the adults enjoy runs ranging from beginner to advanced.


Learn more at travelyosemite.com