Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park

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Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Valley, within Yosemite National Park, offers incredible views, lots of outdoor recreation opportunities as well as a museum and visitor center where you can learn more about the park.

  • Yosemite Valley has incredible views and many outdoor recreation opportunities
  • Enter Yosemite National Park on Highways 120 or 140 and go right to the valley
  • Stop by Yosemite Village and see the museum and visitor center
  • Visit all the waterfalls within Yosemite Valley
  • Hike to Inspiration Point from Wawona Tunnel


The Yosemite Valley area is the most popular section of Yosemite National Park. Visitors flock here during the year to view the park’s natural wonders, sights that take your breath away. This sometimes crowded tourist hub also offers a complete education about Yosemite, with a museum, reconstructed Indian Village and a visitor center with maps and books.

Location & Information

Yosemite Park Valley can be reached via California Highways 120 and 140 entering the park from the west side. Both highways lead right into the valley.

You can visit Yosemite Valley year round.

Park Contact Information: 209-372-0200


Yosemite Valley California likely contains the highest concentration of attractions and activities than any other area within the park.

  • Viewing Yosemite’s Wonders
    This incredible valley affords some of the best views in the world. You can experience the magic of El Capitan’s towering height, Half Dome, Sentinel Rock and Bridalveil Fall. With the expansive meadows and pine forests, you can’t beat Yosemite Valley for marvelous vistas. Home to astounding waterfalls, which are often the sole reason that some visit this park, Yosemite Valley won’t disappoint you when you come to see the sights. You’ll see the cascades of Nevada Fall, Vernal Fall, Ribbon Fall and Yosemite Falls. Why not try taking one of the tram rides so you can view all the wonders without worrying about missing anything?
  • Hiking
    There are many hiking trails that begin in the valley. The hike to Inspiration Point is a 2.6-mile trek that provides more wonderful views. The Mist Trail will take you to Vernal and Nevada Falls. You will also find trails to Bridalveil Fall, Lower Yosemite Falls and Upper Yosemite Falls. Other trails take you around the valley as well as into the backcountry for some fabulous backpacking adventures.
  • Horseback Riding
    The stables in Yosemite Valley offer some great horseback riding trips for young and old alike. There’s nothing like enjoying the park’s beauty from the back of a trusty steed.

Fun Facts

Of course, any Yosemite Valley information must include how this incredible valley was formed. The landscape was only rolling hills and meandering streams 50 million years ago. Then approximately 10 million years ago, the climate changed and the land experienced some upheaval, until a canyon was sculpted as more uplifting occurred. Glaciers began moving through the valley about 1 million years ago, and Yosemite Valley was shaped as ice gouged the land.