Yosemite National Park, CA
Down in the Valley
Copyright Keith S.
Whatever the time of year, your first stop should be Yosemite Valley, a mile-wide, 7-mile-long spot of superlative beauty. From here, you can see the park's most famous landmarks: Yosemite Falls (the tallest in North America), Bridalveil Fall, the granite cliffs of El Capitan (3,593 feet high), Half Dome, Royal Arches, and Sentinel Rock; the meandering Merced River, and grand meadows.
A couple of don't-miss sites in the valley include a moderate 1.4-mile hike up John Muir Trail to Vernal Fall Bridge and the stunning valley view from the Hwy 41 tunnel turnoff.