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Yosemite National Park Trip Ideas

A woman stands triumphantly viewing Vernal Falls in Yosemite.
Love waterfalls? Consider a hike up to beautiful Vernal Falls. Photo © maridav/123rf.

There’s no shortage of things to do in Yosemite. If you’re an active traveler of any skill level opportunities for biking, hiking, backpacking, and climbing abound. If you travel to see all you can see, the scenery and viewpoints in Yosemite don’t disappoint. Here are some great ways to get started experiencing Yosemite your way:

  • Alpine Lakes: Tioga Pass Road offers access to Cathedral, Gaylor, Sunrise, May, and Elizabeth Lakes. The Eastern Sierra features Virginia Lakes and the June Lake Loop.
  • Bicycling: Ride the Yosemite Valley bike paths. In the Eastern Sierra, mountain bike the Panorama Mountain Trail near June Lake or head to Mammoth Mountain Bike Park.
  • Backpacking: From Tuolumne Meadows, hike to Ten Lakes and Grant Lakes or the Vogelsang Loop. In Hetch Hetchy, backpack to Rancheria Falls. In Wawona, follow the Chiquito Pass Trail.
  • Waterfalls: Bridalveil Fall and Lower Yosemite Fall are easily accessible via short walks, or take a longer hike to Vernal and Nevada Falls.
  • Fishing: Try the South Fork Merced River in Wawona, or the South Fork of the Tuolumne River along Tioga Pass Road. In the Eastern Sierra, fish at Saddlebag Lake or Conway Ranch.
  • Giant Sequoias: Wawona’s Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias is king. Along Highway 120 are the quieter Merced Grove (near Big Oak Flat) and Tuolumne Grove (near Crane Flat).
  • Hiking: Yosemite Valley’s Yosemite Falls, Mist, and Half Dome trails are crowded and popular. In summer, hike Tuolumne Meadows’ Lembert Dome or Dog Lake trails.
  • Horseback Riding: Yosemite Valley Stables, Wawona Stables, and Tuolumne Meadows Stables offer guided horse and/or mule rides.
  • Rock Climbing: Take a lesson from Yosemite Mountaineering School and Guide Service.
  • Scenic Drive-To Overlooks: Glacier Point (at the east end of Glacier Point Road), Inspiration Point (at Wawona Tunnel), and Olmsted Point (on Tioga Pass Road) offer jaw-dropping views.

For avid hikers seeking more variety, here are the best hikes in Yosemite. If you’re traveling with kids, don’t worry; there’s plenty in Yosemite to grab their interest too. Check out 10 great activities for kids in Yosemite.

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