Yosemite National Park

Vast areas of wilderness allow Yosemite National Park to feel as though you're journeying back in time to a land where nature's giants grew and fantastical beasts roamed the planet. This is a place where you never quite know what you'll find around every bend and from flower-scattered alpine meadows to babbling clear water streams, if it's peace and quiet that you're searching for then you won't be disappointed. Yosemite hikes are thoroughly worthwhile and from marvelling at the size of the giant sequoias to taking time to reflect next to a tumbling water fall, many a dream has been realised in this world famous national park.

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  • Sierra Nevada Mountains and position of Yosemite Covering the western flank of the Sierra Nevada mountains ensures that Yosemite is renowned for a stunning blend of granite cliff faces and curiously shaped rock formations which do nothing to detract from the park's fantastical nature. Legendary landmarks, such as: El Capitan, Cathedral Peak and Half Dome are all held in extremely high regard by locals and visitors alike and with waterfalls as resplendent as Bridalveil, you'll be hard pushed to find anywhere else quite so captivating.

  • Yosemite Falls

    Waterfalls - Yosemite is famous for these Catching a glimpse of cascading water is usually one of many highlights that you'll encounter on a trip to California and as Yosemite is literally overflowing with 'falls' you're bound to find some without too much trouble. As the highest fall of its kind in North America, Yosemite Falls is an incredibly impressive sight and when combined with other heavyweights, such as: Bridalveil, Horsetail, Sentinel and Wildcat Falls, it's easy to see why water features so prominently within most Yosemite tours.

  • Giant Sequoias

    Giant Sequoia Trees Crane your neck skywards and then keep on searching because if you're standing at the soft carpeted base of a sequoia then you're quite literally in the presence of giants. These are the iconic legends of Yosemite and have long been the most revered species on the planet thanks to their incredible size and natural mysticism. Located within 3 specific groves (Mariposa, Tuolumne and Merced), these ancient and noble giants are known to live for over 3,000 years and many a moment has been passed under their all-embracing branches.

  • Vernal Falls, Yosemite National Park

    Vernal Falls and the Mist Trail Walk As Yosemite hiking trails span over 800 miles, making sure you pick the right one for your level of fitness or particular photographic interests is essential. Without a doubt the trail, which starts at Happy Isles (a section of the Merced River) maybe one of the smallest in length but it's far in a way the most satisfying in results. After a steep incline and a certain amount of rock clambering you'll be rewarded with a drenching spray from Vernal Falls followed by a chance to rest by the aptly named Emerald Lake - not bad for a morning's work.

When to go
Temperature chart - Yosemite

If you're planning on heading to the Southwest USA over the summer then exploring Yosemite National Park is an awesome prospect however, be prepared to share your experience with a few like-minded others. Most of the park's wild-flowers tend to spring up from May through to July and present a colourful carpet from where to enjoy a picnic or two. The weather can get pretty hot during the summer but afternoon storms present respite as does the shade of the forest so you shouldn't find the heat too oppressive. Warm weather means a lack of water and the park's falls certainly dwindle in July and August prior to the winter months. You won't find too much colourful foliage in the autumn although there are less crowds and milder temperatures from September into October which is more than enough of a reason to visit. Snow tends to fall in late autumn and in the winter the park is covered in white with clear blue skies but, be warned, it's not at all warm so pack accordingly. The advent of spring signals waterfall and melt water season with warmish days and a few left over winter storms. April and May are still known to carry snow so ensure you listen to ranger instructions and only hike where the trail is clear of the white stuff.

Insider Tip: Exploring Yosemite Valley
Yosemite Valley

As with the rest of California , Yosemite is a great place to spend some time in the saddle and if you're not a fan of horse-riding then grabbing a mountain bike is probably the next best thing. Thanks to over 12 miles of paved pathway Yosemite Valley is probably the most accessible area to cycle but do make sure you take some fluids, sun block, head protection and snacks because it can heat up a bit, especially around the middle of the day. This is a great way to explore the park and find your own special rest spot without any severe gradients or inclines.

Tours that visit Yosemite National Park


    3 days | USA West | Camping

    May-Sep from


    Cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains for the crystal clear waters of Lake Tahoe, and on to Yosemite Valley for a full day to explore. Spectacular views, adventurous activities and abundant wildlife awaits you in the amazing National Park!

    Highlights: Lake Tahoe | Yosemite National Park

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    7 days | USA West | Hotels

    May-Oct from


    This in-depth tour delves into California and Lake Tahoe, visiting Yosemite's waterfalls, Lake Tahoe's waters and whale spotting in Monterey. Enjoy mountain peaks, valleys with wild flowers, Giant Sequoias and a sunset champagne catamaran cruise.

    Highlights: Guided hikes | Whale watching | Sunset cruise

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    9 days | USA West | Hotels

    Jun-Sep from


    From the sparkling Lake Tahoe to Yosemite's majestic waterfalls, and from Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park to the coastal city of Monterey - the numerous hikes and scenic views on this trip will take your breath away!

    Highlights: Lake Tahoe | Yosemite | Monterey

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    8 days | USA West | Hotels

    Jun-Sep from


    Explore the natural and man-made wonders of the west from the 'City of Angels' to the 'City by the Bay'. The Grand Canyon and the Las Vegas Strip are rivalled only by the power and beauty of the hiking trails and wildlife of Yosemite National Park.

    Highlights: Yosemite | Grand Canyon | Las Vegas

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    15 days | USA West | Hotels

    May-Sep from


    Supplying comfort and amenities in remote destinations, explore the crowned jewels of America's National Parks. Enjoy active days, scenic landscapes and restful nights in beautiful historic lodges within Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion and the Grand Canyon.

    Highlights: Historic Lodges | 7 National Parks

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    15 days | USA West | Camping

    May-Sep from


    This adventure takes in the real 'Jewels in the Crown' of America's National Parks. With great hiking, horse riding, mountain biking, rafting and a truly unique Navajo guided jeep tour of Monument Valley, this tour shows the true American spirit.

    Highlights: 7 National Parks | Great Hikes & Activities

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