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Yosemite Valley

From Yosemite Falls to Half Dome and El Capitan, you can see some of the most stunning scenery in the world from Yosemite National Park’s central valley.

Yosemite Valley is the emerald green heart of Yosemite National Park. Marvel at the soaring granite walls, including some of the park’s most iconic landmarks, flanking this 8-mile (13-kilometer) canyon. 

Just about everywhere you turn in Yosemite Valley, you’ll see a thundering waterfall cascading from a clifftop above. The most visited is Yosemite Falls, which is the largest waterfall in North America. Other notable ones include Sentinel Fall, Bridalveil Fall and Nevada Fall. In February, don’t miss Horsetail Fall, which famously appears as if it is on fire when it reflects the sunset.

For a close look at one of the world’s most recognizable rock faces, bring your picnic blanket to El Capitan Meadow. El Capitan, a favorite destination for rock climbers and cliff jumpers, towers above you. This is located along the one-way Northside Drive, so you should stop here on your way out of Yosemite Valley.

Half Dome is an iconic symbol of Yosemite, recognizable in Ansel Adams photographs. Although its face is best left to experienced climbers, hardy hikers can reach its summit along a 15-mile (24 kilometer) loop trail that begins in Yosemite Valley. You can do the climb in a day or to make the experience more relaxed, stay overnight in one of the campsites along the trail. If you’d rather settle for a great vantage point of the vertical face, visit Sentinel Bridge, where you can see Half Dome reflected in the Merced River. 

Get your camera out at Tunnel View, which provides one of the best vistas in Yosemite National Park. Stop at the east end of the Wawona Tunnel and enjoy the panoramic view of El Capitan and Bridalveil Fall with Half Dome towering in the background. 

Driving through Yosemite Valley is allowed throughout the year. During busy periods, avoid traffic congestion and take advantage of the valley’s free shuttle service. With year-round service in eastern Yosemite Valley and summer service as far west as El Capitan, this is an effortless way to see the area’s major attractions.

Popular Activities at Yosemite Valley

Like to make your stop at Yosemite Valley even more special? Don't miss the chance to try out some of these things to do:

You might like to consider purchasing a Beginner Yosemite National Park Guided Adventure Hike for 2 or an Intermediate Yosemite National Park Adventure Hike while you're visiting. These experiences are a couple of the most sought-after.

If you're after more activities, peruse our California things to do page.


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Top Yosemite Valley Hotel & Accommodation Deals

See all 272 properties near Yosemite Valley
Yosemite Valley Lodge
Yosemite Valley Lodge

Yosemite Valley Lodge

9006 Yosemite Lodge Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA
     
    3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Situated in a national park, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Yosemite Valley and Yosemite Falls. Yosemite Visitor Center is 0.8 mi (1.2 km) away.

    The Ahwahnee
    The Ahwahnee

    The Ahwahnee

    9005 Ahwahnee Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated in a national park, this historic hotel is steps away from Ahwahnee Meadow and Yosemite Valley. Yosemite Falls and Yosemite Visitor Center are also within 2 miles (3 km).

      Curry Village
      Curry Village

      Curry Village

      9010 Curry Village Dr., Yosemite National Park, CA
         
        2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated in Yosemite National Park, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Yosemite Mountaineering School and Yosemite Valley. Yosemite Falls and Yosemite Visitor Center are also within 2 miles (3 km).

        Yosemite Vally RV Campsite -
        Yosemite Vally RV Campsite -

        Yosemite Vally RV Campsite -

        9010 Curry Village drive, Yosemite National Park, CA
           
          0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Situated on the riverfront, this holiday home is steps away from Yosemite Mountaineering School and Yosemite Valley. Yosemite Falls and Yosemite Visitor Center are also within 3 miles (5 km).

          Yosemite View Lodge AU$400
          Yosemite View Lodge

          Yosemite View Lodge

          11136 Highway 140, El Portal, CA
             
            2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Situated on the riverfront, this hotel is 2.5 mi (4 km) from Yosemite Arch Rock Gate Entrance and within 12 miles (20 km) of Yosemite Valley and Tunnel View. Bridalveil Fall and Cathedral Beach Picnic Area are also within 12 miles (20 km).

            Loft of Yosemite-a205
            Loft of Yosemite-a205

            Loft of Yosemite-a205

            7540 Henness Cr, Yosemite National Park, CA
               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in Yosemite National Park, this apartment building is 2.9 mi (4.6 km) from Sierra National Forest and within 9 miles (15 km) of Yosemite Valley and Badger Pass Ski Area. Tunnel View and Bridalveil Fall are also within 12 miles (20 km).

              Cozy Bear North
              Cozy Bear North

              Cozy Bear North

              7226 Yosemite Park Way, Yosemite National Park, CA
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated in Yosemite National Park, this cabin is within 9 miles (15 km) of Sierra National Forest, Yosemite Valley and Badger Pass Ski Area. Tunnel View and Bridalveil Fall are also within 12 miles (20 km).

                Yosemite West Scenic Wonders Vacation Rentals
                Yosemite West Scenic Wonders Vacation Rentals

                Yosemite West Scenic Wonders Vacation Rentals

                7540 Henness Circle, Yosemite National Park, CA
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Situated in a national park, this cabin is 2.8 mi (4.6 km) from Sierra National Forest and within 9 miles (15 km) of Yosemite Valley and Badger Pass Ski Area. Tunnel View and Bridalveil Fall are also within 12 miles (20 km).