At 1,169 square miles, Yosemite is a big park—so big that it can be daunting for first-time visitors. Here’s where to go in the park to find popular features and recreation opportunities:
Tioga Pass Road offers access to Cathedral, Gaylor, Sunrise, May, and Elizabeth Lakes. The Eastern Sierra features Virginia Lakes and the June Lake Loop.
Ride the Yosemite Valley bike paths. In the Eastern Sierra, mountain bike the Panorama Mountain Trail near June Lake or head to Mammoth Mountain Bike Park.
From Tuolumne Meadows, hike to Ten Lakes and Grant Lakes or the Vogelsang Loop. In Hetch Hetchy, backpack to Rancheria Falls. In Wawona, follow the Chiquito Pass Trail.
Try the South Fork Merced River in Wawona, or the South Fork of the Tuolumne River along Tioga Pass Road. In the Eastern Sierra, fish at Saddlebag Lake or Conway Ranch.
Wawona’s Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias is king. Along Highway 120 are the quieter Merced Grove (near Big Oak Flat) and Tuolumne Grove (near Crane Flat).
Yosemite Valley’s Yosemite Falls, Mist, and Half Dome trails are crowded and popular. In summer, hike Tuolumne Meadows’ Lembert Dome or Dog Lake trails.
Yosemite Valley Stables, Wawona Stables, and Tuolumne Meadows Stables offer guided horse and/or mule rides.
Take a lesson from Yosemite Mountaineering School and Guide Service.
Scenic Drive-To Overlooks
Glacier Point (at the east end of Glacier Point Road), Inspiration Point (at Wawona Tunnel), and Olmsted Point (on Tioga Pass Road) offer jaw-dropping views.
Bridalveil Fall and Lower Yosemite Fall are easily accessible via short walks, or take a longer hike to Vernal and Nevada Falls.
Excerpted from the Sixth Edition of Moon Yosemite.