Yosemite National Park

Yosemite's waterfalls are at their most spectacular in May and June. When the snow starts to melt (usually peaking in May), streaming snowmelt spills down to meet the Merced River. By summer's end, some falls, including the mighty Yosemite Falls, trickle or dry up. Their flow increases in late fall, and in winter they may be hung dramatically with ice. Even in drier months, the waterfalls can be breathtaking. If you choose to hike any of the trails to or up the falls, be sure to wear shoes with no-slip soles; the rocks can be extremely slick. Stay on trails at all times.

Visit the park during a full moon and you can stroll without a flashlight and still make out the ribbons of falling water, as well as silhouettes of the giant granite monoliths.

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  • 1. Glacier Point


    If you lack the time, desire, or stamina to hike more than 3,200 feet up to Glacier Point from the Yosemite Valley floor, you can drive here...Read More

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  • 2. Half Dome

    Nature Sight

    Visitors' eyes are continually drawn to this remarkable granite formation that tops out at more than 4,700 feet above the valley floor. Despite...Read More

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  • 3. John Muir Trail to Half Dome


    Ardent and courageous trekkers continue on from Nevada Fall to the top of Half Dome. Some hikers attempt this entire 10- to 12-hour, 16¾-mile...Read More

  • 4. Panorama Trail


    Few hikes come with the visual punch that this 8½-mile trail provides. It starts from Glacier Point and descends to Yosemite Valley. The star...Read More

  • 5. Yosemite Falls

    Body Of Water/Waterfall

    Actually three falls, they together constitute the highest combined waterfall in North America and the fifth highest in the world. The water...Read More

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  • 6. Yosemite Falls Trail


    Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in North America. The upper fall (1,430 feet), the middle cascades (675 feet), and the lower fall (320...Read More

  • 7. A Taste of Yosemite


    Celebrated chefs present cooking demonstrations and multicourse meals at The Majestic Yosemite Hotel in Yosemite Village from mid-January to...Read More

  • 8. Bluesapalooza


    The first weekend of every August, Mammoth Lakes hosts a blues and beer festival—with an emphasis on the beer tasting. ...Read More

  • 9. Bridalveil Fall

    Body Of Water/Waterfall

    This 620-foot waterfall is often diverted dozens of feet one way or the other by the breeze. It is the first marvelous site you will see up...Read More

  • 10. Chilnualna Falls Trail


    This Wawona-area trail runs 4 miles one-way to the top of the falls, then leads into the backcountry, connecting with other trails. This is...Read More

  • 11. Cook's Meadow Loop


    Take this 1-mile, wheelchair-accessible, looped path around Cook's Meadow to see and learn the basics about Yosemite Valley's past, present...Read More

  • 12. El Capitan

    Nature Sight

    Rising 3,593 feet—more than 350 stories—above the valley, El Capitan is the largest exposed-granite monolith in the world. Since 1958, people...Read More

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  • 13. Fireman's Muster


    North of Sonora in the old mining town of Columbia, history springs to life at this festival of antique fire engines, with hose-spraying contests...Read More

  • 14. Four-Mile Trail


    If you decide to hike up Four-Mile Trail and back down again, allow about six hours for the challenging, 9½-mile round-trip. (The original 4...Read More

  • 15. Hetch Hetchy Reservoir

    Body Of Water/Waterfall

    When Congress approved the O'Shaughnessy Dam in 1913, pragmatism triumphed over aestheticism. Some 2.5 million residents of the San Francisco...Read More

  • 16. High Country

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    The high-alpine region east of the valley—a land of alpenglow and top-of-the-world vistas—is often missed by crowds who come to gawk at the...Read More

  • 17. Hot Creek Geologic Site

    Nature Sight

    Forged by an ancient volcanic eruption, the Hot Creek Geologic Site is a landscape of boiling hot springs, fumaroles, and geysers about 10 miles...Read More

  • 18. Indian Village of Ahwahnee

    Museum Village

    This solemn smattering of structures, accessed by a short loop trail behind the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center, offers a look at what Native...Read More

  • 19. Mammoth Jazzfest


    This weekend festival funded by the town of Mammoth Lakes features free jazz performances at The Village at Mammoth. ...Read More

  • 20. Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias


    Of Yosemite's three sequoia groves—the others being Merced and Tuolumne, both near Crane Flat and Hetch Hetchy well to the north—Mariposa is...Read More

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