When you think of a meadow what comes to mind? Rolling hills perhaps? Or maybe tree lined fields? That’s a pretty standard impression of a meadow in most peoples minds however the El Capitan meadow offers a very different and far more dramatic experience.
It is no secret that Yosemite National Park is a spectacular place. There are mountains stretching to the horizon in every direction, waterfalls cascading hundreds of metres down cliff faces and an array of beautiful trees. When you then drop a meadow into the middle of this scenery you really do end up with something very special.
Where is the El Capitan meadow?
Located in Yosemite Valley the El Capitan meadow covers a large area and is accessible from Northside Drive.
It stretches quite far however it is particularly impressive at the foot of El Capitan, the enormous vertical rock face that imposes itself upon the national park so this is certainly my recommended location to experience it.
At this location the meadow is overlooked by El Capitan and the Horsetail Falls along with stunning views along the Yosemite valley. There is also the Merced River running through here which of course attracts wildlife so you can quite easily catch a glimpse of a deer or stag if you are lucky/patient enough.
What makes the scene her so dramatic is the nature of the meadow sitting at the foot of the valley. With the cliff faces stretching up to the sky on each side of you it certainly makes you feel small!
There is plenty of parking here along the sides of the road so accessing the meadow is really easy. The single track road is not busy either, simply servicing tourists so it’s really safe.
From the road you can walk across a wooden platform which takes you over to the river. You can then explore the area at your own pace and stand in awe of this natural masterpiece.
If you are heading to Yosemite National Park then you will more than likely be aiming to do all of the big tourist sights including Tunnel View and Glacier Point however don’t overlook the more simple locations like Yosemite meadow which although not a huge, elevated vista point like the 2 aforementioned locations, is incredibly special in a different way.
Finally, if you are staying at the Yosemite village or perhaps The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, have some dinner and then head back out to the meadow in the evening when it is dark. If you check the lunar calendar and find an evening where there is a new moon or waning moon this is the perfect setup for a pitch black sky. Standing in the El Capitan meadow at night with vertical cliffs either side and a pitch black sky offers an incredible view of the night sky and the Milky Way. My nighttime photography is pretty shoddy so you’ll just have to take my word for it with this one!
El Capitan meadow review
When surrounded by natural beauty it’s not difficult to enjoy yourself. The scenes are stunning and the serenity of it all whilst surrounded by such dramatic scenery is a rare but welcome treat. Yosemite National Park is an incredible place that I would urge everyone to visit in their lifetime however the El Capitan meadow itself really is somewhere that isn’t to be missed. Certainly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.
Are you planning to visit Yosemite National Park this year? Let us know your plans in the comments!