We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Beautiful Place”
Review of Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Valley
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Natural Wonders of Yosemite Tour from San Francisco
More Info
and up
Yosemite and Glacier Point with Ahwahnee Lunch
More Info
and up
Yosemite and Glacier Point Tour from Los Angeles by Train
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
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.
Reviewed April 16, 2014

I came here for one day. Not enough. Beautiful trails, nice waterfalls and the mountains with snow...breathtaking. I think this is a 3 day adventure for sure. I saw people with RV's and tents but that is not my cup of tea. However it is well organised for people that wanna camp. You also have hotels and guest houses which looked very nice. I had lunch at The Ahwahnee and it was ok. The concierge was super nice to me even though I just went there for lunch. He explained me how to get around. The park also has a free shuttle which I did not use but it was always packed and driving people around. Glacier point is awesome and Vernal Falls are majestic! Good day trip!

Negative Thing: I think they need to improve their signs. It is easy to get lost there.

Thank Ricardo B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (5,513)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
  • More languages

3,056 - 3,060 of 5,513 reviews

Reviewed April 15, 2014

1. Yosemite Valley is the main destination for travelers visiting Yosemite National Park. They say that 90% of the visitors to the Park only visit the Valley.

2. There are three entrances to Yosemite National Park, in the north, the west, and the south. The north is through Groveland, the west through Mariposa, and the south through Fresno. All roads lead to the Yosemite Valley. There is a fourth entrance through the East, through Tioga Road, but that is closed during the winter and early spring.

3. If you are coming in winter, be prepared for chain controls in the north and south. Chain controls in the west are less common, but have occurred, like on April 1st of this year.

4. Daytime visitors should be prepared for long waits at the park entrances during peak season, where the $20 park entry fee, good for 7 days, is collected.

5. If you are visiting for several days, you can either stay within the Park at one of the three lodges: Curry Village, Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, or the Ahwahnee, or stay outside the Park, and drive in each day.

6. During the spring and summer on weekends the park will be severely congested with bumper to bumper cars. Getting in and out of the park may take hours, and daytime parking all but filled up by mid morning.

7 If you are a daytime visitor, you may want to park in the visitor's parking lot, near Yosemite village. However this is a dirt parking lot, and will be muddy when it rains.

8 Other places to park nearby are at the three lodges, and along side the counter clock wise running, one way loop road, running through the Valley.

9. When you first drive into the valley, you should visit Bridalveil Falls, as it is close to the start of the loop. You can hike almost all the way under the Falls. By Fall these falls will be a trickle. Restrooms here.

10. Glacier Point is also in this area, but takes a drive to get to, along a long curvey road up the mountain. It just opened April 14, 2014 this year, and overlooks the Yosemite Valley. Glacier Point is not accessible in the winter, due to snow on the road.

11. As you drive into the valley, you will want to stop at Swinging Bridge to get a good view of Yosemite Falls, in the background, with the Merced river streaming underneath.

12. Once you are parked near Yosemite village, you may access the free Yosemite Valley bus shuttle.

13. The shuttle gives you access to the Mist Trail and Mirror Lake, both not accessible by private vehicle (except those with handicap placards). Both of these stops have restrooms.

14. The upper Mist trail is closed in winter and early spring due to ice on the stairs. This year it opened in early March to hikers.

15. During the summer the Mist trail will be congested with hikers going up the hundreds of stairs, carved into the mountain, wet from the mist of the adjacent roaring Merced river.

16. The Mist trail leads to Vernal Falls, with the John Muir trail continuing to Nevada Falls.

17 This is also the way to Half Dome, open only to 250 hikers per day, using a lottery system to get a permit. Rangers check the permits at the base of Half Dme, before hikers go up uisng cables drilled into the rock.

18. Mirror Lake is the following stop after the Mist Trail stop on the Bus shuttle route, although it is possible to easily walk between the two stops.

19 Visitors may hike completely around Mirror Lake, past the landslide area, which has been cleared of rocks along the pathway.

20 Mirror lake dries up gradually by late June, so the time to see it is in April, when waters are at their highest level. By late May the lake will become a shallow pond with weeds showing throughout the waters.

21 The best views of Mirror Lake are in the mid afternoon, when the shadows from the surrounding mountains of granite ease away from the Lake.

22. After Mirror lake, the shuttle continues to the Ahwahnee, with it's majestic dining halls and sitting rooms. It's worth a look just to marvel at the interior of the most expensive hotel in the National Parks System. There are restrooms in the lobby area.

23 If you continue on the shuttle, you will pass the Yosemite Village. Here you can get a bite to eat at the sandwich shops, and visit the museums and visitor center.

24. Farther on, past the Yosemite village, is lower Yosemite Falls. Many daytime visitors park at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, almost directly across the loop road from the the short trail leading to the Falls.

25 This area is wheelchair accessible, and a short walk from the loop road to the base of the Falls. There are restrooms here, and plenty of benches around to view the falls.

26. Yosemite Falls becomes a trickle by late summer. This year, due to the drought, the water level is lower than even last year, when the falls dried up by early July. Best time to see the falls is March and April.

27. Continuing on the shuttle takes us to Camp 4, which is the trail head for hiking past columbia Point to the top of upper Yosemite Falls. This area is walkable from Yosemite Lodge at the Falls.

28. The final stop on the free bus shuttle is Yosemite Lodge at the Falls. A number of Park excursions, including the Valley Tour, originate from this point. The lobby area has public restrooms.

29. Yosemite Lodge at the Falls has a bike rental area, where you can rent a cruiser for $31 a day, or a bike with a child trailer for $80 a day. The Valley is ideally suited for bicycle riding, with it's level grounds and asphalt paved pathways.

30. Yosemite Lodge has a number of evening programs in it's outside theater. And the Mountain Room Restaurant is one of the better places to eat in the Valley.

20  Thank robert c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2014

I dont' think Yosemite gets the hype it should. The views of the Sierra Mountian,s Sequoias and waterfalls are out of this world.

Thank FLtraveler312
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2014

Nature has created the most amazing place on earth, and to describe it will always fall short, that is, you MUST see it to believe it!! The majestic walls of granite and other varied stone frame the most gorgeous valley on earth. I think whichever human laid eyes on it for the first time, thought they'd found the Garden of Eden or Shangri-La. There's much to see, perhaps too much for 1-2 days, but enough to beckon you back for a re-visit. If time is limited, the guided bus tour the Rangers provide is excellent and well narrated and perhaps the best "tease" for a future longer stay. The employees are very proud of their workplace. I'm a native Californian and came here over 42 years ago in my teens, and the excitement of seeing the valley coming out of the Wawona Tunnel is the same, if not even better!

Thank Tony G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2014

Yosemite Valley is located in the Western Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, about 200 miles directly east of San Francisco. Yosemite Valley is the centerpiece of Yosemite National Park and I think is the main attraction in the Park. Yosemite Valley is home to many of the famous waterfalls and cliffs that make Yosemite National Park famous. This park is an international destination as there are visitors from all over the world. I was amazed at how many people near me in the restaurants and on the shuttle bus were not speaking English.

I went to Yosemite Valley in late July with my wife and we had a fantastic time. I think it is one of the most amazing places in the USA. We stayed at the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls which is next to Yosemite Falls and is near the center of the Valley. If you visit make sure you stay in the Valley to maximize your time there (as you will spend a lot of time driving to and from your hotel if you stay outside the park). If it is your first trip to the Valley I recommend that you go on a Yosemite Valley Tram Tour. Park Rangers are the tour guides and give you the highlights of the Valley and help you learn the names of the major natural wonders. We took this tour and really enjoyed it as the Rangers talk about being Park Rangers as well as telling you about the Valley Highlights.

The Valley is pretty long (about 7.5 miles) so it is hard to explore on foot (unless you are there for a long time). Renting a bike is a great way to see the Valley. There are bike paths and lightly used roads that bikers can use. My wife and I really enjoyed biking through the Valley and I highly recommend renting a bike (we rented from a booth next to our Valley hotel). If you are not into biking there is a free shuttle service available year-round in eastern Yosemite Valley and, in summer, as far west as El Capitan. There are shuttle stops near all the major Valley sites. The shuttles were never completely full (especially in the evening).

Overall I loved Yosemite Valley and highly recommend it. If you have never been before and are entering through the south entrance of the Park, stop at Glacier Point for your first view of the Valley. Your second view will then be from the tunnel on Wawona Road. The only negative thing about the Valley is that it is so amazing and popular that it becomes extremely crowded in the summer.

Thank rockyjoe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Yosemite Valley also viewed

Yosemite National Park, CA
Yosemite National Park, CA
Yosemite National Park, CA
Yosemite National Park, CA

Been to Yosemite Valley? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing