With awe-inspiring vistas and breathtaking plunging waterfalls, majestic Yosemite National Park can be experienced in all four seasons. No matter how many times you've visited, Yosemite has the unique ability to amaze, charm and surprise.
Covering 1,100 square miles, this vast park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 and attractions around four million visitors each year, most during the summer. Its sheer size means that most will only see a fraction of the many amazing natural wonders, so why not stay a few days and truly immerse yourself into the great outdoors.
Yosemite Valley, with its impressive waterfalls, meadows, towering cliffs and glacially-sculpted rock formations, is the main destination for many. Here, some of the granite monoliths can be seen, including Half Dome and El Capitan. For some of the best views of these icons, drive up to Glacier Point or stop in at Tunnel View.
Yosemite also brags cascading waterfalls, including Yosemite Falls, which holds the undisputed title of the tallest waterfall in North America. Other picturesque waterfalls include Bridalveil Falls, Vernal Falls, Nevada Falls, Sentinel Falls and Ribbon Fall. To see Yosemite at its watery best, time your trip for snow melt, usually April to June. During the summer, enjoy a picnic on the banks of the Merced River beneath Half Dome, or picnic at Tenaya Lake, the 'Jewel of the High Country'.
One of the most photographed regions of Yosemite, Tuolumne Meadows, is a wide, grassy expanse surrounded by high granite domes and peaks. The pristine meadow extends for over two miles along the Tuolumne River, making it the largest sub-alpine meadow in the Sierra Nevada. Hiking trails lead in all directions to the alpine lakes, a series of roaring waterfalls and to the summits of lofty domes with commanding views of the high country.
Organised activities are plentiful and vary according to season, including ranger-led walks, rock climbing lessons, ice skating, river rafting and photography seminars. Of course, you can create your own adventure, by simply setting out on one of dozens of hiking trails and paved bike paths, or just take a seat and watch the setting sun cast a rosy glow over Half Dome – a priceless experience!
Premier Holidays offer a great selection of hotels in Yosemite National Park, please see our brochure for details.
GMT -8 hours.
Yosemite is around 3 hours 30 minutes drive from San Francisco. While the park is open year-round, the east entrance (Tioga Pass) is closed from approximately Oct-May each year.
Yosemite National Park is open year-round and the best time to visit does depend on your interest. Summer is the most popular time and gets very busy, so start early and prepare to queue! Waterfalls tend to dry up so focus your time in the High Country areas of the park. Spring is a wonderful time to visit, particularly to see the thundering waterfalls and blooming wildflowers. Autumn brings a firework display of colours as the leaves change and as days are generally mild, it’s a great time for hiking and biking. Winter brings cold weather and the park takes on an almost mystical air. For winter sports enthusiasts, it’s possible to enjoy skiing at the Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area.
If you are eligible to enter the USA under the Visa Waiver Programme, you will need to obtain an electronic travel authorisation (ESTA) prior to travel. Please ask for detailsFind out more