If you love the great outdoors and a bit of an adventure you’ll be hard pressed to find many places more stunning than Yosemite National Park. Boasting incredible landscapes Yosemite has breathtaking views and more hiking trails than you can shake a stick at. Here’s a list of our top 5 things to do on your next visit:
1) Spot Mountain Climbers on El Capitan
At nearly 3,000 feet (900m) El Capitan is the tallest vertical rock face in Yosemite National Park and needs very little by way of an introduction. Renouned for its sheer granite rock face El Capitan is somewhat of an icon within the park so on your next visit make sure you take a moment to really appreciate the scale of this glacial formation.
Due to the nature of the rock wall El Capitan has for many years been a firm favourite with mountain climbers – take a much closer look at the rock face through binoculars and chances are you’ll see mountain climbers on the rock face who are otherwise barely visible to the naked eye. You may even spot some BASE jumpers throwing themselves off the top!
2) Capture the Sunset at Tunnel View
Tunnel View is one of those places that visually represents a destination on all marketing material and postcards and for a very good reason – it’s stunning. Offering a breathtaking view down Yosemite Valley Tunnel View features El Capitan, Half Dome and Bridalveil Falls and so naturally attracts a lot of attention from park visitors.
What makes Tunnel View even more special is the sunset. The shadow formations and natural light create some very dramatic effects on the trees and rock faces which transforms an already breataking natural landscape. If you’re going to head here for sunset however make sure you get there early as you will experience a lot of professional photographers and tourists all vying for the perfect spot.
3) Visit Yosemite Meadow
The Yosemite Valley is the main feature of the National Park with all of the rock faces and waterfalls cascading into it. The Yosemite Meadow sits along the base of the valley where the park’s historic glacier would have once existed and features a huge amount of things to see.
From the meadow you can obtain a close up view of El Capitan and obtain some incredible photography of the scenery, including a pretty decent selfie or two with unobstructed backgrounds. With the landscape here being so vast there is a river, a lot open space and a lot of tranquility, perfect for stopping for a moment to take everything in.
4) Experience Vertigo at Taft Point
There are a lot of walking trails around the park however one of our favourites has to be the Taft Point trail. From the trailhead just off of Glacier Point Road the trail is a 2.2 mile round trip that is fairly easy under foot so is great for novice hikers.
At the end of the trail when you reach Taft Point you can very quickly appreciate why this trail is so popular. The National Park have left the view point almost entirely untouched ensuring a completely unobstructed panoramic view across the park. With no seating areas, fences or brick walls to feel safe behind this isn’t really somewhere to take young kids.
Walk up to the only fence at Taft Point which is a single metal installation to stand behind hanging over a vertical 1,000 feet (300m) drop. The closer you get to the edge the greater your vertigo will become. Are you brave enough?
5) See the Milky Way from Glacier Point
What can be more stunning than looking up at the stars on a clear night? Let us tell you, looking up at the stars in almost complete darkness and seeing the Milky Way.
With very little ambient light hitting Yosemite National Park due to its isolated location the views of the Milky Way are incredibly impressive, especially if you go stargazing on the night of a waning moon. Top locations for star gazers tend to be Tunnel View, Yosemite Meadow and Glacier Point. This is definitely not a sight to be missed so after your evening meal one evening head back out and look in awe at this breathtaking spectacle.
Are you heading to Yosemite National Park this year? Have a good recommendation? Let us know in the comments below!