10 Things to Do in Yosemite National Park

Top ten things to do on your Yosemite Park vacation, including view a waterfall, see black bears, and top sights like Half Dome.
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1. See Yosemite Valley Waterfalls

Family watching the falls in Yosemite Valley. Photo by Joseph Fabian

Family watching the falls in Yosemite Valley. Photo by Joseph Fabian

When snow melt from mountain peaks brings icy waters rushing downstream into Yosemite Valley, great waterfalls spring to life. During the peak seasonal flow, which usually happens in April through June, the thundering of waterfalls can be heard clear across the valley. See our waterfall photo gallery.

2. See Famous Viewpoints

Glacier Point Overlook. Photo by Grant Ordelheide

Glacier Point Overlook. Photo by Grant Ordelheide

Yosemite’s Tunnel View with Half Dome, Valley View with Merced River, Glacier Point, and Olmsted Point are the most famous views in the National Park.

3. Walk Among Giant Sequoias

Giant Sequoias. Photo by Grand Ordelheide

Giant Sequoias. Photo by Grand Ordelheide

Start by taking the whole family on a joyful nature walk through a grove of giant sequoias. While the Mariposa Grove is closed for renovations until the summer of 2017, visit the other two smaller groves.

4. See Black Bears & Wildlife

American Black Bear

With more than 400 kinds of animals and multiple life zones for plant life, Yosemite is a top spot for wildlife watching.

5. Explore Yosemite Trails

The John Muir Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail join together in the Sierra Nevada Mountains

Whether you want to get out of the car and do a little exploring, or you’re planning a backcountry adventure on foot or horseback, we’ve got just the thing for you and your family. Find the hike for you.

6. Go Camping


Nothing beats sleeping under the stars in Yosemite National Park, especially if you’re looking for a little family togetherness.

7. Go Rock Climbing


Stalwarts like the giant wall of El Capitan, the polished promontory of Half Dome, and skyscraping Glacier Point all call to expert climbers, who sometimes bivouac overnight while suspended in mid-air.

8. Ice Skate in Half Dome Village

Ice Skating Rink at Curry Villiage

When Yosemite is covered in powdery blankets of snow, the valley becomes a winter wonderland. Skate underneath the Half Dome then take a break and make s'mores over a fire pit.

9. Explore History

John Muir in Yosemite

Yosemite is the wild, wild West. From its earliest Native American inhabitants, to the mid-19th-century California Gold Rush, and the later arrival of ranchers, loggers, and hoteliers, the land surrounding Yosemite National Park is amazingly rich in historical sites. Near the Mariposa sequoia grove, step across a covered bridge into a the the Pioneer Yosemite History Center, a collection of historic buildings from Yosemite’s past. In Yosemite Valley's Visitor Center, pose next to a life-sized John Muir as you learn of his love for the park. Near neighboring Mariposa, stop at the California State Mining and Mineral Museum to see a huge, 13.8-pound nugget of gold.

10. Go on a Tour or Ranger-Led Activity

Yosemite Junior Ranger Walk. Photo by Grant Ordelheide

Yosemite Junior Ranger Walk. Photo by Grant Ordelheide

Come to watch waterfalls in spring, go hiking in the Sierra Nevada high country in summer, roast marshmallows over your campfire in fall, and go skiing and snowshoeing in winter. Timing your visit to coincide with one of the region’s many festivals will only enhance your Yosemite vacation.