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“Yosemite Valley is the heart of the park.”
Review of Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Valley
Book In Advance
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$219.00*
and up
Natural Wonders of Yosemite Tour from San Francisco
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$229.00*
and up
Yosemite and Glacier Point with Ahwahnee Lunch
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$345.00*
and up
Yosemite and Glacier Point Tour from Los Angeles by Train
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Many climbers consider Yosemite Valley among the world's very best climbing sites.
Grand Island, Nebraska
Level 6 Contributor
98 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Yosemite Valley is the heart of the park.”
Reviewed September 20, 2013

A visit to Yosemite must include a visit to the valley. Access to many attractions such as Yosemite Falls. It is highly recommended to park and ride the free shuttles around the valley area.I would like to suggest to not spend all of your time in the valley as there are many other area of park to enjoy. I would love to visit again.

Visited July 2013
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Thank HuskerMark08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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West Sussex, England
Level 6 Contributor
176 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 105 helpful votes
“Well presented”
Reviewed September 20, 2013

Nicely laid out with free shuttles, a visitor centre and walking trails to suit all abilities.

We visited at the end of the dry season and so the Falls were dry so maybe a visit in Spring or early Summer would be better.

Visited September 2013
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Thank Barlers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Connecticut
Level 6 Contributor
134 reviews
71 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“My Favorite Place in the World”
Reviewed September 19, 2013

This is about the 6th time I've visited the Valley, and the 3rd season, and each season has its special experiences. In spring, you have the awesome experience of the Valleys waterfalls- world renowned. In summer, crowds and no falls, but the steady magnificence of all the Valley offers in full bloom- the meadows, the granite peaks and cliffs, the wildlife, the hiking, the Ranger programs. In the fall, the crowds disperse but the weather is more iffy- I was lucky and hiking in the cool breezes was so special.

It is a spiritual place- very moving each time I am present, and giant sequoas, high meadows like Toulumne and great cliff views you can drive to, are only an hour away.

You will not regret going.

Visited September 2013
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Thank CurtM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
391 reviews
175 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 139 helpful votes
“Just Beautiful”
Reviewed September 19, 2013

I don't think I can add anything new to what other people are saying. I was doubtful before I came that Yosemite could live up to the hype, but it does and in many ways exceeds it. If this isn't already on your bucket list, then add it now!

Visited September 2013
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Thank Rick61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
Level 4 Contributor
22 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Yosemite”
Reviewed September 18, 2013

My husband and I just returned from Yosemite Valley. We went with another couple who had never been to Yosemite (my husband has been 6 times and I have been 4 times). Unfortunately the day we arrived the winds had changed and there was smoke blocking the gorgeous views for several days. We booked the Ahwahnee over a year ago and had heard the fires were not impacting the valley, so we did not cancel our reservation.

The next day we drove up Glacier Point Road and hiked to Sentinel Dome. The views would have been breathtaking but we were unable to see due to smoke and haze. The trail was still interesting, though. We stopped at Glacier Point on the way down and what a spectacular view - if there is no smoke/haze! This is a must do on any trip to Yosemite! The vistas are gorgeous from this vantage point.

Mid-week a rainstorm came and cleared the air. The next day we hiked from the Happy Isles trailhead to the footbridge. I am in my early 50's and thought I was in good shape but found this hike very doable but challenging. My friend has had knee surgery so we opted not to continue past the footbridge below Vernal falls, but our husbands climbed up the mist trail to Vernal Falls, the Emerald Pool and Nevada Falls and reported it as challenging but exhilerating. The challenge is mostly coming down as that is harder on the joints and knees. This hike makes you very thirsty, so do bring PLENTY of water. Would recommend sturdy tennis shoes or boots for this hike.

We also drove south to the the Mariposa Groves/Wawona to see the Giant Sequoias. Stunning! Also a must see. We parked at the Wawona general store and took the bus in (as recommended - when it says there is limited parking, they are not kidding) to the Groves. We decided to take the open air tram tour and were glad we did. It comes with an audio guide that explains the history of the grove, scientific facts about the trees, etc. and is very informative. The tram makes two photo op stops but when you exit, you can leave your audio guide with the driver and just hike on your own if you need more time. After the tour we went back to Wawona and toured the little pioneer area on our own. There were some interesting things there (wagons, covered bridge, cabins, jail, etc.) but everything was locked. This could have been an interesting site if there were actors playing the parts of pioneers or if there was another audio guide to explain what early life in Southern Yosemite was like. There were placards in front of the cabins and a little handout just before the covered bridge, but the amount of information was very brief.

We also hiked around the valley floor, saw countless mule deer (who are very used to people and were quite close), squirrels, birds, marmots and two bobcats (by Stoneman Bridge)! We had dinner two nights at the Ahwahnee main dining room. The atmosphere in the rustic dining room/lodge and the live music was amazing. The food was fresh and tasted great. In my opinion, though, the food was overpriced for what was served and the wine list was way way overpriced. I feel there should be wines offered at different price points. Most were over $100 a bottle. Luckily we had stopped at Trader Joe's in Fresno for wine before heading in to Yosemite. We stored the bottles in our room fridge and some nights drank them on the patio before dinner and some nights we sipped while playing games in the main lobby.

We also ate at the Ahwahnee bar area (good) a pizza shop (Degnan's PIZZA - just OK) a sub shop (Degnan's SUBS - REALLY fresh and good!) and burgers and breakfast in Curry Village (OK).

In the past we have always camped or stayed at the tent cabins in Curry Village. This time we splurged on the Ahwahnee Hotel. Here are some random thoughts:

- Room was on third floor - had two windows with spectacular views
- Lovely small box of chocolates were there when we arrived (Yum!)
- Bed was comfortable
- Could easily control room temp and it worked well
- Having fridge was great
- Had a hard time applying my make-up in the evening - hardly any room/shelf space in the bathroom.
-Hotel had to turn off hot water for three hours to work on it. Luckily this was done between midnight and 3:00 am so it did not impact us.
- Pool is nice and refreshing. Clean. Towels provided in cupboard as you enter pool but some clean towels were scattered on loungers
-Liked the bar area for breakfast and lunch - great service there
-Liked the sweet/wine shop
-Gift shop had very unique items and whoever is the buyer has done a great job.
-Loved the high tea in the afternoons - live pianist and great service
-Disappointed there was no salon. Fine dining after physical hikes...I could have used a little extra help in the hair and nails department. (There is a massage service. We did not try it but heard good reviews from several guests.)
-Disappointed we missed the historical tour of the hotel. We thought it was offered every day and were planning on going mid-week. Recommend writing which days tours of hotel are offered on the Daily Activity sheet so that guests can plan accordingly. There is a brochure, but I imagine the tour is much better.
-Had two male waiters attending our table first night in main dining room. One was great but we felt the other was condescending. When we asked questions about the menu, he answered tersely as if he could not be bothered. We almost did not go back because of this. The second night we had two female waitresses and they were great and more than made up for the apathetic waiter from previous dinner. Happily this was the only employee at the Ahwahnee that did not give great service. Everyone else was superb.

Had a great time in Yosemite Valley despite the smoke and haze the first few days. Hope the fire is soon contained and does not threaten any more of this pristine national treasure.

Visited September 2013
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2 Thank iDobyksoldo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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