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Yosemite Visitors Guide
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Destination: Yosemite National Park
|Featured Hotel: Yosemite Lodge at the Falls|
We'll begin our tour of Yosemite with the view from the overlook at Glacier Point, 7,200 feet above sea level, looking across at Half Dome, and down at Yosemite Valley.
You can reach Glacier Point by driving the Glacier Point Road from Highway 41 (the road from Fresno, and the park's South Entrance) to the end of the road. If you continue northbound on Highway 41, you'll enter Yosemite Valley through the Wawona Tunnel. There's parking immediately as you exit the tunnel, and you'll enjoy this spectacular view, with El Capitan on the left, Bridalveil Falls on the right, and Half Dome in the distance.
Continuing into the valley, you'll pass El Capitan, the rockclimbers mecca.
Spectacular views abound in Yosemite Valley, which was carved by the Merced River and expanded by glaciers during the Ice Age. Here's the view of Half Dome from Sentinel Bridge.
There's plenty of wildlife in abundance, including the famous Yosemite bears, coyotes, and deer. These deer happened upon us as we were shooting some pictures in Cook's Meadow.
We visited Yosemite in November; a great time for fall colors, but the wrong time of year for waterfalls, which are at their best in late May and June, when the snowpack from the Sierra Nevadas is melting. However, the hike to Vernal Falls was still quite beautiful. After hiking a couple of miles along the Mist Trail from Happy Isles (near Curry Village), there are over 600 steps to get to the top.
If you didn't catch it on your way into the park, make sure you don't miss the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias on your way out. You'll find these majestic trees just off Highway 41, a few miles from the Tenaya Lodge, near the park's South Entrance (see map).