Located circa 200 miles east of San Francisco lies one of the most popular parks in the US Yosemite National Park. This park receives over 3 million tourists each year all eager to explore the charming landscape, steep cliffs and attractive waterfalls the place has on offer. It takes circa 3-4 hours to drive from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park by road, but the trip is well worth it as there is so much in place for you including hiking, rafting in Merced River, professional photography, camping, horseback riding, biking, snowshoeing at the Badger Pass, and skiing.
Yosemite National Park is particularly popular among mountain climbers thanks to the 3500ft vertical granite wall of the famous El Captain. Even though the park spans 308283 ha , the most famous part among tourists is the 7 square miles of the Yosemite Valley. The park is most visited starting from early spring to early September i.e. from February to May.
Entrance fee in Yosemite National Park is $20 per car and is valid for seven days. You can opt to drive around the park yourself but the management encourages using the free available shuttle buses heading to most popular spots for purposes of ensuring the park remains free of pollution and of course to maintain uniformity and the parks natural charm. The only place you are allowed to buy food while in the park is Yosemite Valley. While all the main roads are well maintained and beautifully plowed over the snow season, the National Park Service management expects that all drivers driving private vehicles carry tire chains. Even though high traffic is very common particularly at the entrance, it is always worth it keeping in mind the charm that awaits you ahead.
Tioga Pass this is circa 9950ft high from the ground level and provides stunning views of the national park. Tioga Pass is only accessible over the summer months around June and July since the place is located at a height that receives quite heavy snow during the winter months. You will also get an opportunity to see some charming wildflowers and sequoias.
Half Dome this is a granite dome in the park found on the eastern part of the Yosemite Valley. It is arguably the most familiar sight of the park, with its crest rising to over 4,737ft above the floor of the valley.
Glacier Point Road — this is circa a 30 miles drive from the main visitors center and is always open from late May to November. The Road gives the most impressive and stunning views from the height. Most tourists will take short stops, hike and take pictures.
Tunnel View This spectacular sight is located south of the Valley Floor at the east portal of the Wawona tunnel. The tunnel view is simply breathtaking. This popular spot is one of the most photographed views of the valley.
Mariposa Grove — this is the biggest grove of huge sequoias in Yosemite National Park. The biggest Tree Grizzly Giant is around 1800 years old.