Holidays in El Capitan

Holiday Travel Guide
El Capitan featuring a gorge or canyon and forest scenes

Experience the enormity of Yosemite Valley’s glacially carved granite peaks when you gaze upon this distinctive formation and rock-climbing landmark.

El Capitan is one of Yosemite National Park’s best-known features, rising sharply from the valley floor in a spectacular precipitous formation. Translating to “the captain” in Spanish, El Capitan looks out over the magnificent valley and dares rock climbers and hikers to reach its dizzying peaks. See the mesmerizing rock face from one of several roads that wind through the western part of Yosemite Valley or grab your climbing equipment and tackle “El Cap” yourself.

The sheer cliff face of El Capitan stands opposite the magnificent mists of Bridalveil Fall. Drive along the roads that connect Tunnel View, El Capitan Meadow and the Bridalveil Fall area to get clear views of Yosemite’s chief peak and the climbers scaling its face. Rising over 3,000 feet (900 meters) from its base, the granite monolith’s tallest face is easy to identify from the length of the valley. The Mariposa Battalion gave the formation its name while exploring the valley in 1851. The local Native American name for the formation translates to “Rock Chief” or “Captain,” inspiring the Spanish name.

Photograph the precipice and capture the sunlight as it reflects off the rock face. Sunset is a popular time for photographers in this colossal landscape, when the colors of the sunlight cast red and orange hues across the granite sentinel.

Reach El Capitan’s base by hiking out of Yosemite Valley on the trail that heads west from Yosemite Falls. Keen rock climbers have long heralded El Capitan as one of the world’s greatest challenges. If you are an experienced climber, bring your gear and tackle one of the climbing routes ascending the sheer granite face. If not, use binoculars to view climbers on the southwest and southeast faces.

El Capitan is located in the valley’s western section at the center of Yosemite National Park. See the magnificent peak as you drive along one of several scenic routes that pass through the soaring valley. Visit in summer to see the stark contrast of the blue sky above the pale rock or check out the views in winter when snow dusts the formation’s nose.

Top activities in El Capitan

259 Cheap Hotels Near El Capitan

Yosemite Valley Lodge
Yosemite Valley Lodge
3 out of 5
9006 Yosemite Lodge Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA
The price is AU$332 per night from 9 Dec. to 9 Dec.
Situated in a national park, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Cook's Meadow and Yosemite Falls. Yosemite Visitor Center is 0.8 mi (1.2 km) away.
4.2/5 Very Good! (200 reviews)
"There is no wifi or data connection in the lodge. Front desk staff is very uptight. They’ll only reply in minimum words with a straight face 😐"

Reviewed on 2 Dec. 2021

Yosemite Valley Lodge
Curry Village
Curry Village
2.5 out of 5
9010 Curry Village Dr., Yosemite National Park, CA
Situated in a national park, this hotel is within 2 miles (3 km) of Merced River, Yosemite Visitor Center and Yosemite Falls. Yosemite Mountaineering School ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (35 reviews)
"You get what you paid"

Reviewed on 20 Nov. 2021

Curry Village
Housekeeping Camp
Housekeeping Camp
1.5 out of 5
9004 Southside Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA
Situated in a national park, this campsite is within 2 miles (3 km) of Merced River, Yosemite Visitor Center and Yosemite Falls. Ahwahnee Meadow and Yosemite ...
3.5/5 Good! (105 reviews)
A really fun place to stay in Yosemite
"I was dubious about this place when I booked it as I don't like camping and I do like my creature comforts, but actually I really loved it and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for somewhere to stay in Yosemite. Firstly, it's a really affordable option in Yosemite where the hotels and ..."

Reviewed on 9 Sep. 2016

Housekeeping Camp
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Top El Capitan Hotel & Accommodation Deals

Yosemite View Lodge
Yosemite View Lodge
2.5 out of 5
11136 Highway 140, El Portal, CA
The price is AU$176 per night from 7 Dec. to 7 Dec.
Yosemite View Lodge
Yosemite Valley Lodge
Yosemite Valley Lodge
3 out of 5
9006 Yosemite Lodge Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA
The price is AU$332 per night from 9 Dec. to 9 Dec.
Yosemite Valley Lodge
Curry Village
Curry Village
2.5 out of 5
9010 Curry Village Dr., Yosemite National Park, CA
Curry Village
Housekeeping Camp
Housekeeping Camp
1.5 out of 5
9004 Southside Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA
Housekeeping Camp
The Ahwahnee
The Ahwahnee
4 out of 5
9005 Ahwahnee Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA
The Ahwahnee
PaPa Bear Cabin
PaPa Bear Cabin
8004 Cedar Circle, Yosemite National Park, CA
PaPa Bear Cabin
Yosemite Retreat for you and your family
Yosemite Retreat for you and your family
9999 Henness Ridge Dr, Yosemite National Park, CA
Yosemite Retreat for you and your family
The Ahweanee in Foresta, Yosemite National Park
The Ahweanee in Foresta, Yosemite National Park
4234 1st St, Yosemite National Park, CA
The Ahweanee in Foresta, Yosemite National Park
Large Vacation Home, Former B&B, Inside Yosemite
Large Vacation Home, Former B&B, Inside Yosemite
7210 Yosemite Park Way, Yosemite National Park, CA
Large Vacation Home, Former B&B, Inside Yosemite
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.