Yosemite Guide

The Yosemite Guide contains information about trip planning, activities, scheduled events, and hours of operations for different facilities and services.


Information regarding access to areas, facilities, and services for people with disabilities.

Accessibility Guide [104 kb PDF]

Brochures in Other Languages

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General Park Information Audio Description

Download a folder of mp3 files to listen to the park brochure.

OVERVIEW: About This Audio-Described Brochure

Welcome to the audio-described version of Yosemite's official print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, illustrations and maps, this version interprets the two-sided color brochure that Yosemite visitors receive. The brochure explores the history of the park, includes some of its highlights, and provides information for planning your visit. This audio version lasts about one hour and 45 minutes, covering both sides of the original brochure, with each side broken down into smaller sections for your listening enjoyment and time availability.

Information included from the front of the brochure covers four key highlights of the park including the High Sierra, granite cliffs, sequoia groves and Yosemite Valley. Each section includes vivid color photographs and relevant details about the park's geologic features, historic characters and flora and fauna.

Information from the back of the brochure consists of an illustrated map of the entire park which includes roads, amenities, peaks, lakes, rivers, and trails, as well as a detail of Yosemite Valley and a map of the surrounding area. The maps include insets with pertinent safety, wildlife and other information.

OVERVIEW: Front Side of Brochure

The front of the brochure includes quotes, color and historic photographs and text blocks. The top of the page displays a large photo of a sweeping view of Half Dome and Tenaya Canyon overlayed with a brief overview and quote. Below, the page is divided into four horizontal sections which cover key highlights of Yosemite: the High Sierra, granite cliffs, sequoia groves and Yosemite Valley. Each section has a text overview of the topic paired with a large circular photo displaying the area or aspect. Beside these features is a collection of photos and text blocks that illustrate the text.

OVERVIEW: Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park, located in California, is part of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. The park is about 750,000 acres and is situated about 60 miles north of Fresno and about 170 miles east of San Francisco in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. About 95 percent of the park is designated wilderness. The park protects a broad range of life zones of the Sierra Nevada from the Lower Montane Forest up to the Alpine Zone.

Yosemite, established in 1864 as a state park, was the first state park in California. Yosemite's protection predates the first national park by 18 years. By 1890, Yosemite was designated as the third national park in the nation.

Each year, over five million visitors come to enjoy the unique experiences that can only be had at Yosemite. We invite you to explore the park's giant sequoias, stunning valleys, granite peaks and domes, high meadows and lakes and spectacular mountain views. Feel the spongy bark of the most massive trees in the world, the giant sequoias. Take a hike and smell the sweet scent of the pines. Listen to the drumming of the woodpeckers drilling holes in the oak trees. Feel the chilly mist of North America's tallest waterfall land on your upturned face.

For those seeking to learn more about the park during their visit, try the audio- described tour of the visitor center exhibit hall or explore the tactile map of Yosemite Valley, both available from the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center. To find out more about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, visit the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections at the end of this audio-described brochure.

TEXT AND COVER IMAGE: Half Dome and Tenaya Canyon

Yosemite’s natural beauty can be found in things big and small, from towering granite cliffs and giant sequoias to diminutive wildflowers. Varied conditions in four geographic areas: HIGH SIERRA, GRANITE CLIFFS, SEQUOIA GROVES, and VALLEY— make such diversity possible. Explore Yosemite’s many facets, take in its many moods, and enjoy its views, sounds, and smells.

"It is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter." —JOHN MUIR


A panoramic color photograph by Stan Jorstad, captioned, "Half Dome Yosemite Valley," was taken from a high vantage point and shows the grand expanse of the mountainous Yosemite high country. The silhouette of a towering Jeffrey pine stands arrow-straight in the foreground, bisecting the frame. To the right of the tree, despite a darkened sky, the flat-faced, round-backed Half Dome is bathed in light. Dark, lichen-covered streaks cascade down the face of the rock. The bare, granitic dome stands prominently over the landscape, seeming to peer down at the shadowed depths of Tenaya Canyon below and the miles of exposed granite domes and peaks rising above their tree-covered slopes.

TEXT AND IMAGES: High Sierra Overview

Smooth granite domes, craggy peaks, and spacious meadows embody the character of the High Sierra. Hundreds of miles of hiking trails offer adventure, solitude, and inspiration for those wishing to explore this glacially carved landscape and experience ever-changing mountain ecosystems.

Glaciers sculpted this landscape, plucking, scraping, and polishing as they moved down canyons. Their power shaped Lembert Dome, a roche moutonnée—French for “sheep rock.” Cathedral Peak’s knobby top, known as a nunatak, stood above the glaciers, escaping their force. As the climate warmed, glaciers melted, leaving huge “erratic” boulders stranded and sometimes precariously perched.

As the climate continues to change, life at high elevations is notably affected. Intolerant of heat, pikas are adapted to the high country’s cool temperatures. They live in rock piles where they find shelter from predators and the heat of the summer sun. As the climate rapidly warms, the pika’s habitat is shifting upward in elevation. Where will the pikas go when they run out of mountain?

(Photos of the topics mentioned above can be found below in the HIGH SIERRA subsection.)


A large, round, colored photo by Bob Roney captioned, "High Sierra," shows classic scenery distinctive of the high sierra in Lyell Canyon. In the foreground, the yellow-green grass of an open meadow is dotted with random, round, green shrubs. The perimeter of the meadow is lined with a forest of pine trees that extend up rocky terrain. A river winds its way through the meadow towards its water source, the high rising snow-ladened mountains located in the distance. Puffy clouds darken the blue, mid-day sky above the mountain peaks, indicating approaching afternoon thunderstorms.

IMAGES: Glacial Impacts on Yosemite Granite

This section includes three, round images which make up a series of photos showing glacial impacts on the rocks of the High Sierra.


The foreground is of this picture captioned, "Olmsted Point, glacial erratic boulder" and credited to © FRANK BALTHIS, is dominated by two glacial erratics - rocks carried in and left over from the passing of a glacier. The erratics are rough, white boulders freckled with black lichen, a moss-like growth on the rock. They lie upon a bare, granite dome marked only by a solitary western juniper tree. The tree grows straight out of the rock, its reddish bark and green needles stark against the clear and distant mountainous landscape. There is a solitary wisp of cloud above the tree. The early afternoon light casts dark shadows to the right of the erratics and tree, indicating a lowering sun out of frame on the left.


The color photo captioned, "Lembert Dome, roche moutonnée" and credited to © LAURENCE PARENT is of Lembert Dome, a distinct rock formation that fills almost half of the photo. It slopes up gently then steeply drops from right to left, showing the path the glaciers took. Nearly totally smooth and exposed, two little patches of trees stand out near the top. The rock is a variation of light and dark grey hues that rises above the jagged treeline. The river in the foreground shows a reflection of those trees. The muted yellow grasses on the bank of the river at the lower right are a balanced contrast to the wispy clouds with bits of blue sky peeking through in the upper left of the frame.


This photo is captioned, "Cathedral Peak, nunatak" and credited to © LONDIE G. PADELSKY. In the distance, an exposed granite peak with two sharp points jut out, one slightly higher than the other, making the distinctly recognizable outline of Cathedral Peak. The sweeping lines of the mountain’s shoulders are wrapped with green trees growing on its flanks. The gentle slopes of the lower two thirds of the mountain show the height of where the glacier traveled just below the jagged peak. At the foot of the mountain lies a still gray-blue lake ringed with dark pines and the softer green of low shrubs. A cream-colored granite expanse lies in the foreground with a solitary arrow-straight Jeffrey pine rising to the right with its reddish bark and stiff limbs covered in deep green needles.

TEXT AND IMAGES: Life in the High Sierra

Life in the High Sierra adapts to the dramatic seasonal weather patterns. All summer the pika works furiously to cache food to eat throughout the winter. Marmots store fat, and then hibernate beneath the winter snow. Clark’s nutcrackers bury seeds, assuring survival of the birds as well as the trees.


Yellow-bellied marmot, pika (middle), and Clark’s nutcracker

From left to right, the cutout profiles of three separate, right-facing figures include a yellow-bellied marmot (Marmota flaviventris), credited to Kirkendall/Spring, a pika (Ochotona princeps), credited to Leonard Lee Rue III, and a Clark’s nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana), credited to Frank Balthis. The furry brown marmot, a large member of the squirrel family, stands up at attention on its short hind legs. Its front legs hang, human-like, along its long body with its tail splayed out behind. Also seeming to be on alert, the soft-furred pika stares ahead, sitting on its haunches and pressing up off its tiny white, front feet. Its large, round ears rest low against its gray-brown head and back, unlike its rabbit cousins. The medium-sized nutcracker seems so posed as to be a taxidermy bird. Its long black bill, downward-curved and sharp-tipped, as well as its stark black and white tail and wings, contrast cleanly against the feathers on its soft gray body.

IMAGE: Mono Lake Paiute Family

A faded black and white photo from 1902 or 1903 is captioned, "Trade routes crossed the High Sierra." and is credited to the National Park Service. It is a close-up Paiute family photo of five posed in front of their horse or mule. The picture was taken as the family visited Yosemite Valley from the Mono Lake region on a two week trip to collect acorns. From left to right, a native woman of indeterminate age stands squarely facing the camera in a full length white dress with dark polka dots. Her prominent cheeks are in the light and lips are barely upturned. In her arms, she is holding an infant.. The child is enveloped in a dark plaid blanket, the girl’s chubby fists gently balled up in front.

Beside the woman stand two preschool age children in nearly-matching plaid dresses. Although she is posed to face the camera, the girl on the left’s head is tilted toward her mother, her mouth is slightly frowning and her hand clings to the woman’s skirt. It is unclear whether she is impatient or shy. The girl on the right, who is slightly taller, primly clasps her hands in front of her.

On the right, the father stands in a confident easy pose with his weight on his left leg and his right hand rising to grasp the saddle horn of his horse. He wears a pale felt hat with a wide brim and decorative hatband that shades his eyes. He has a loose white, long-sleeved shirt and long pants.

IMAGE: Columbine Flower

The cut-out of the dramatic pink and yellow colors of a single alpine columbine (Aquilegia pubescen X formosa) pops in contrast against a completely black background. The photo by Adam R. Paul is captioned, "Alpine Columbine (hybrid)." The unusual and ornate five petaled flower hangs upside down on its stalk. An inner ring of creamy petals and yellow center are surrounded by an outer ring of sepals, or modified leaves, which look like long pink petals curving back elegantly. The cream colored petals fade to pink and extend past the sepals, turning into needle-like spurs which project proudly above the flower.

TEXT AND IMAGE: Granite Cliffs Overview

The massive cliffs of Yosemite and Hetch Hetchy valleys challenge the body and mind, especially the inquisitive nature of human beings. When an 1868 Yosemite guidebook declared, “the summit of Half Dome will never be trodden by human foot,” it was taken as a challenge. George Anderson reached the top in 1875. Countless others followed. One by one, adventurous men and women made other first ascents on sheer granite walls in Yosemite, changing the sport of climbing forever. The challenge of these cliffs continues to beckon climbers from around the world.

The very existence of great cliffs like Half Dome and El Capitan has inspired questions about how they came to be. American Indians tell of a woman and her husband who argued and fought. The displeased spirits changed them into stone, Half Dome and North Dome, forever to face each other across the Valley. How these cliffs were formed has challenged geologists for over 100 years. They think the granite of Yosemite’s walls solidified over five miles underground. As the overlying rock eroded away, the granites rose to their current exposed level. Nature’s dynamic forces continue sculpting this exposed rock.


Captioned "granite cliffs," the photo is credited to Laurence Parent. Looking up through the silhouettes of the pines, one can spot the bright white rush of Bridalveil Fall pouring over the soaring Yosemite Valley cliffs. The water cascades over a glacially carved, U-shaped trough at the cliff top. The prominent rock formation, Leaning Tower, leans away and juts outward over the cliffline to the right of the waterfall, tempting visiting rock climbers. The rocks' varied minerals make a colorful patchwork of grays, oranges, creams and browns along the cliff face.

IMAGES: Cliff Dwelling Birds and Bats

Three flying creatures are shown cut out against a black background.

A single bird (Cypseloides niger) is captioned "black swift" and credited to Bill Schmoker. It soars with its wings, about 18 inches wide, fully spread. The view of the dark bird, its body about 7 inches long, is from below. The image shows off its wing span and black feathers that transition to a light grey color along its neck and head.

The image is captioned "spotted bat" (Euderma maculatum) and credited to Dick Wilkens. A bat is shown clinging to a chunk of granite, its tiny body about 12 centimeters. It is wrapped around the rock - the fine brown skin and outline of its muscle and bone within its folded wing are curled toward the viewer and seeming close enough to touch. The bat’s colossal pink ears are the size of its body and stand straight up from its head. Its miniature face pokes out from under its ears as if it is wearing a headdress. A tiny black nose and round black eye show amidst the pale brown fur on its face, giving it the gentle look of a little mouse or dog. A white spot on a furry black back is just barely visible.


The cutout photo, credited to K.K Hui and captioned "Peregrine falcon" shows an clear view of a peregrine falcon, (Falco peregrinus) soaring in flight, wings stretched out wide and lifted slightly above its body. Its wingspan is somewhere between 2.5 and 4 feet. The detail of the gray-brown tops of its wings and finely barred black and white underwings are clear. The falcon's black-tipped yellow beak is slightly open and its steel-gray head and "sideburns" contrast starkly against its white neck and "cheeks". Its body is covered in vertical black and white barring and its orange colored legs and feet are curled back for aerodynamics.

IMAGE: Climber on Salathe Wall of El Capitan

A small black and white, circular photo from 1961 is captioned "On the Salathe Wall of El Capitan" and credited to © Tom Frost Collection, Courtesy, Yosemite Climbing Association. It features a young adult, male climber, Tom Frost. He is wearing a white shirt with sleeves rolled up to his biceps and hanging by a climbing rope on a rock wall. His climbing harness and the taut rope attached to it allow him to rest in a semi seated pose. His left hand rests casually on the cluttered climbing rack of gear that dangle from his waist while his right hand steadies himself on the rock. His broad muscular upper body is turned halfway back, toward the viewer. He is gazing back over his left shoulder, with a grin, as he gets a unique view of the vast landscape around and below him. His right knee is bent, pants rolled up below the knee and his ankle comfortably hanging in a loop of climbing gear. The flexed muscles are well defined on his left leg which is also bent. He appears to be bracing his foot on the rock, just out of the frame. He wears tan shoes which pre-date the sticky rubber-covered climbing shoes of today. Incongruously, the shoes look like he might be wearing them along a city street. The forested mountains, far below in the background, are topped with puffy clouds just over the ridge line. The distant peaks and canyons make the tremendous height of the climber unmistakable.

TEXT AND IMAGE: Rockfalls Shape Yosemite's Cliffs

This photo by Fred Hirschmann showcases a white cascading waterfall plummeting down from a grey-toned granite rock wall. The waterfall is full and looks as if a mighty wind is blowing its waters to the left, making the waterfall look dramatic and powerful. In the middle of the rock wall located to the right of the waterfall is a large blackened area. Text reads, "Dark streaks are caused by lichens." Centered in the black area is a noticeably light-colored patch of rock. Accompanying text indicates, "Light scar reveals a fresh rockfall."

TEXT AND IMAGE: Sequoia Groves Overview

Giant sequoias dwarf even the largest pine and fir trees that live among them. They are descendants of an ancient line of trees and can live for over two thousand years. Their trunks can reach over 25 feet thick. As symbols of longevity and strength, the giant sequoias played a major role in the creation of what is now Yosemite National Park. Throughout the National Park System, thousands of rangers wear uniform belts and hatbands embossed with images of the cones and foliage of these significant trees.

President Lincoln signed the bill that set aside the Mariposa Grove, along with scenic Yosemite Valley, in 1864. In the years following this action, a fire started in the grove, and we began a 100-year history of protecting these beloved trees from fire. While our intentions were good, we were contributing to the loss of what we cared about so much. Through research and experimentation we discovered that fire actually promotes reproduction of these giant trees. It clears away the competing firs and cedars and exposes bare mineral soil for the tiny seeds to take root.

A large round color photo captioned "Sequoia Groves" is credited to Larry Ulrich. It depicts an intimate look into a grove of giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum). Because of their massive size, only a tiny portion of the trunks of the gigantic trees are visible in the shot. A small section of a gigantic sequoia trunk fills the right half of the frame, seeming so close that the viewer could reach out and touch it. Its huge scale, hefty solidity and broad base is reminiscent of the leg of an elephant. The reddish brown trunk is covered in a fiberous, vertically-furrowed bark so deep that the inner furrows are darkly shaded. To the left, two more sequoia trees stand tall and straight, their bases widening toward the ground. The tree in front has a long narrow burn scar rising from the Earth, wide enough for a person to duck a bit and squeeze into the presumed cavern inside. Powerfully fire resistant, despite the burn, the tree has healed the scar by growing bark around the edges of the hole. Between the trees, varied shades of green plants and shrubs fill the forest floor and the darker green of pine trees can be glimpsed in the background.

IMAGE: Sequoia Cones


The image, captioned, "Sequoia cones" and credited to © JOHN ELK III, shows five light brown sequoia cones that are bunched together. Four of the sequoia cones are lying sideways while one is upright. They are the size and shape of an egg, with cross hatching indentations that create horizontal diamond shapes around the cone with a little dimple in the middle of each diamond, vaguely resembling a pair of pursed lips.

IMAGE: Chickaree


The cutout image, captioned "Chickaree" and credited to Roberta Stacy, shows the front half of a bi-colored chickaree squirrel, (Tamiasciurus douglasii) peeking out to the right, from behind a grey roughly-textured tree trunk. The upper half of the head, neck, and body is a rusty brown with bits of black on the forehead, cheeks and nose, while the bottom half is grey. The little-clawed paws of its two front limbs are grasping the tree, while the body and head stretch forward, nose pointing out as if it smells something. Its large walnut-shaped eyes are open wide and surrounded by a ring of white.

IMAGE: Snow Plant

The image is captioned "The snow plant gets water and nutrients from fungi, which are connected to tree roots." and is credited to © LARRY ULRICH. Three alien-looking plants burst through the forest floor in a tight clump in this small cut-out photograph. Every part of the plant - the stalks, leaves, and petals - are a uniform color of striking candy-apple red! About a foot tall, with meaty red stalks, the texture of their fleshy bodies look like they might be related to the mushrooms, although they aren't. At a glance, the plants' shape resembles a collection of upright scarlet-colored pine cones. Rather than woody scales, the stalks are densely covered with diagonal rows of fleshy crimson leaves. These leaves look more like curling elongated Halloween fingernails than any familiar leaf shape. Tucked uniformly between each red leaf are ruby colored flowers, their petals fused to make outward facing bells.

TEXT and IMAGE: Changes Post Fire - Dogwood

Changes brought about by fire do not benefit just the sequoia. Pacific dogwoods need the filtered sunlight that can reach into a sequoia grove if periodic fire keeps its understory open.

An image captioned "Pacific dogwoods" is credited to John Elk III. Six white dogwood "flowers", (Cornus nuttallii) seem to hover in space against the black background of the brochure, rather than covering a dogwood tree, as they usually do. The large and solitary white flowers are imposters, actually a clump of tiny greenish-yellow flowers surrounded by 4 to 8 creamy white leaves called bracts. The bracts look just like large white petals, each one curling and bowing uniquely. Every "flower" has the tips of green leaves peeking from beneath the white bracts.

IMAGE: Sequoias Need Fire to Reproduce

The image captioned, "Giant sequoias need fire so they can reproduce" and credited to Raymond Gehman / National Geographic, captures the bright glow of a fire on a forest floor at night. Two large black tree trunks in the foreground, one on either side of the image, frame the bright flames consuming the forest floor. A group of about six tall and slender trees and a small shrub, stand in the midst of the blaze while a fallen log lays horizontally across the bottom of the photo. The fire is a concentrated white color on the forest floor that transitions upward into yellow, orange, and red hues that contrast with the blackness of night. Orange embers freckle the bottom of the black fallen log and the tree trunks in the foreground.

IMAGE: Galen Clark


A small elongated oval daguerreotype captioned, "Galen Clark, Yosemite’s first official guardian" and credited to the National Park Service / Carleton E. Watkins depicts an aged and rugged Galen Clark, standing with his right hand holding the long barrel of a rifle that is resting on the ground.

Clark is wearing a checkered, collared, button-down shirt that peaks out from underneath a buttoned sweater, topped with a weather-beaten knee-length heavy coat. He has noticeably baggy worn pants that bunch up at the ankles. A fur and leather cross-body satchel is draped over his left shoulder and rests at his right hip. A few unidentifiable trinkets dangle off the satchel like key chains.

The pioneer has near shoulder-length unkempt hair, and a scruffy beard and mustache that almost covers his mouth. His leathery, aged, expressionless face has deep-set eyes that are gazing into the distance to the left of the photographer.

He is standing with his right hand holding onto a long rifle as if it were a walking stick, with the barrel facing up and the stock on the ground. His left hand looks dirt-covered and is resting at his side.

TEXT AND IMAGE: Valley Overview

“Everything is flowing,” John Muir has written, “going somewhere, animals and so-called lifeless rocks as well as water.” Most of the year, the Merced River flows peacefully through Yosemite Valley. Shrubs and deciduous trees enrich the riverbanks with green ribbons of life. Moist meadows give way to black oak trees that provide nutritious acorns to deer, bears, and woodpeckers, as they did for early Indian people. A flooding Merced, however, seems to shout “change” and reconfigures the handiwork of both nature and humans.

Spend time in Yosemite Valley and you will experience change. Whether it’s the subtle daily changes in the flow of rivers and waterfalls, or the explosive makeover of a flood or 100-ton rockfall, nature undergoes constant transformation here. Water has played an important role in the geologic processes responsible for the stunning appearance of this “incomparable valley.”

Yosemite Valley, with the Mariposa Grove, inspired the national park idea. The cliffs, waterfalls, wildlife and beauty of this place continue to inspire people around the world.


A large circular photo titled "Valley" and credited to Joseph Holmes is of the Merced River depicted in low light with smooth slow-moving water. Along the banks are trees and grasses with the fall hues of brown, orange and gold. The dried grasses of the far bank are reflected in the still water. Beyond the waterside meadow, a grouping of tall pines stands against the base of a sheer granite cliff.


When you see the relatively lazy summer Merced River, it can be difficult to imagine how the same river, even in flood stage, could bring such dramatic change throughout the Valley — rearranging boulders, roads, and campgrounds.



A black and white photo captioned, ""Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space." Ansel Adams, photographer" and credited to © Jim Alinder shows an elder Ansel Adams looking directly at the camera, sitting with an easy forward slouch. His left leg is crossed over his right knee and both aged arthritic hands are loosely grasping his crossed leg. He wears a multi-pocketed vest over a long-sleeved, plaid, button-down shirt, and creased slacks. His dark clothes contrast sharply with his white laced up shoes. He has a white short-haired beard and mustache, and a warm open-mouth smile that shows his top row of teeth, giving him pronounced cheeks. His head is somewhat tilted to his right and he is wearing a light-colored cowboy hat that emphasizes his ears, which slightly point outward at the top.

IMAGES: The Valley's Birds and Animals

The following is a collection of three photos of Valley wildlife.


The image, captioned "black bear" (Ursus americanus) and credited to Benjamin R. Miller of Closerlook Photography, shows a front-facing bear that, in contradiction to its name, has reddish-brown fur. Only the front two legs are shown, with its cushioned paws slightly turned inward. The bear is standing on a grey textured log that shows off its claws which protrude out from its paws and curve down into sharp points. A full round face with a long yellow snout is capped off with a large, round, black nose. There is a gleam in its circular brown eyes, and its ears are nearly straight up and pointing outward.


The cutout image captioned "acorn woodpecker" and credited to E.J. Peiker, shows the upper half of a tri-colored acorn woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus). It is peeking out to the left, from behind a tree trunk. The head of the bird is red on top, white in the face, and black around it's yellow beady eyes, beak and on the backside of its head. The bird has a long, black, pointed bill. Its markings are distinct, looking as if it is wearing a black scarf of scraggly, wispy feathers that wiggle down its neck and streak onto its white breast. The entirety of the visible tree trunk is dotted with many round holes that have been drilled into the trunk over time, acting as storage for the woodpecker's acorn stash.


The warm colored image captioned "mule deer" (Odocoileus hemionus) and credited to Longdie G. Padelsky, shows a deer with antlers foraging in a meadow at dawn or dusk. The deer is facing to the left and the head is slightly raised off the ground and barely turned toward the viewer. A large rack of antlers, covered in a special brown fur called velvet, show eight points atop its head. The deer has large, dark, almond shaped eyes and a black nose at the end of a long, narrow face. The rough fur on its body is mostly tannish-brown, with bits of black on its forehead and rib cage, as well as a black tipped tail. Its body is hunching downward as if in mid forage. The deer is in a meadow with both green and brown grasses.

IMAGES: The Valley's Plants and Trees


The image, credited to the National Park Service, shows a row of tall stalks of wild flowers growing closely together, captioned "Lupine." Each long green stem has whorls, or layers, of purple and white pea family flowers that surround the stems and rise up to the tip the stalk. On the tops of the stalks are perched the pointed tip of the green buds that have not bloomed yet. There are small green-grey leaves on the bottom half of the stems.


The image, credited to Ray Santos of the National Park Service and captioned "Black oak acorn", contains two acorns of this oak (Quercus kelloggii). The acorns are attached at their tops and are facing opposite each other. Each acorn is an elongated oval shape. The caps of the acorns cover almost half of the nut and are yellow, and roughly textured with tiny downward pointing scales. The nut is dark brown, smooth and rounded with a little prickly point at the tip.

OVERVIEW: Accessibility

The park strives for full and equal participation for all visitors and we are trying to continually improve. Entrance stations and visitor centers offer the free Yosemite Accessibility Guide to park visitors. This guide outlines a variety of accessible services, facilities, and activities available in Yosemite. Within each area, it describes ways for people with sight, hearing and mobility impairments to enjoy Yosemite.

Accessibility features and resources which might be of special interest or concern to visitors who are blind or low-vision include:

  • Access Pass - A free, lifetime admission pass for permanent US residents with a permanent disability is available at all entrance stations and visitor centers.
  • audio description - An audio described version of the park film, Spirit of Yosemite and an audio described walking tour of the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center Exhibit Hall are both available via headset system. The Exhibit Hall has a variety of tactile exhibits. Inquire at the information counter in the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center.
  • tactile, relief maps - A tactile map of Yosemite National Park is available out the back doors of the Indian Cultural Museum in Yosemite Valley. A tactile map of Yosemite Valley is available in the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center. Tactile maps of prominent viewpoints are at the following locations: Yosemite Falls Trail, Tunnel View, Glacier Point, and Olmsted Point.
  • audio exhibits - A short, paved loop trail through the Indian Village of Ahwahnee in Yosemite Valley has displays that incorporate audio buttons.

For more information about our services, please call the Yosemite Accessibility Line at 209-379-1035.

OVERVIEW: Back Side of Brochure

Side two of the brochure is broken up into two sections - "Wild Yosemite" and "Yosemite Basics".

In the "Wild Yosemite" section, a large map at the top shows the entirety of Yosemite National Park. A small inset near the center of the map shows Yosemite Valley and says "See Valley Map Below". A series of text blocks beside the map discuss wilderness, rivers and waterfalls, wildlife, smoke and fire, as well as human history. A second, smaller map located off to the right and between the two major sections, shows Yosemite's location in relation to major highways, as well as Sequoia, Kings and Death Valley National Parks.

At the bottom of the page lies the section entitled "Yosemite Basics." The above-mentioned inset is expanded to show details of Yosemite Valley. On the left of the Yosemite Valley map at the bottom of the page is a text portion regarding driving, reservations, accessibility and contact information.

MAP: Yosemite National Park (YNP) - Short Map Description


This illustrated map credited to the National Park Service and titled "Yosemite National Park" shows all of Yosemite and is oriented with North at the top. It provides way finding information for points of interest, major roads and services, as well as the main trails and geographic information such as peaks and waterways. It is the largest of the three maps on the back side of this brochure.

The park is shown surrounded by national forest and wilderness lands in the heart of the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California. Roughly oval in shape, like an egg standing on its small end, the park's irregular boundary primarily follows the alpine peaks on the northern and eastern edges with a more angular boundary line to the south and west. The park is roughly the size of the state of Rhode Island. Nearly all wilderness, the park is crisscrossed with hiking trails. There are two primary watersheds, the Tuolumne River to the north and the Merced River to the south. The two watersheds are roughly divided in upper and lower halves by the 59 mile Tioga Road, also known as Highway 120 East. The rest of the roads within the park either run along the western border, such as the Big Oak Flat Road and the Wawona Road, or are spur roads that travel eastward no farther than half way across the distance of the park. The spurs include the Hetch Hetchy Road, The El Portal Road to Yosemite Valley, the Glacier Point Road and the Mariposa Grove Road.

The park has 4 main administrative districts: Tuolumne Meadows, Wawona, Yosemite Valley and the Mather districts. Each district contains a visitor center or information station, one or two primary roads, visitor amenities and an entrance station, with the exception of the Big Oak Flat District, which has two entrances. The park entrances, each at the park boundary, will be described with Yosemite as a clock face.

The Tioga Pass entrance is at 2:30. It is in the Tuolumne Meadows district and lies along Highway 120 West, known within the park as the Tioga Road. 18 miles to the west is the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center.

The South Entrance is at 6:30. It is in the Wawona District and lies along Highway 41, known within the park as the Wawona Road. 7.5 miles to the north is the Wawona Visitor Center inside Hill's Studio.

The Arch Rock entrance is at 7:30. It is in the Valley District and lies along Highway 140, known within the park as the El Portal Road. 11.4 miles to the east is the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center.

The Big Oak Flat entrance is at 8:30. It is in the Mather District and lies along Highway 120 West, known within the park as the Big Oak Flat Road. At the entrance is the Big Oak Flat Information Station.

The Hetch Hetchy entrance is at 9:30. It is also in the Mather District and lies along the Hetch Hetchy Road.

Special notices on the map include winter road closures from approximately November to May, including Highway 120 East also known as the Tioga Road from the Tuolumne Grove parking lot on the west side to the Tioga Pass entrance on the east side, Glacier Point Road from the Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area east, and all of the Mariposa Grove Road. Facilities along the Tioga Road are available in summer only. Lastly, there is no swimming or boating in the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.

This map does not include accessibility symbols. There is a tactile map of the park on the right of the back doors of the Indian Cultural Museum in Yosemite Valley.

MAP: YNP Legend

A symbol shows North is up on the map. A measurement scale shows distance with 1.5 inches equaling about 5 miles.

The legend has two sections of symbols, one for "Visiting Yosemite Wilderness on Foot", and the other for "Visiting Yosemite National Park by Road." Text reads:

Visiting Yosemite Wilderness on Foot

Free wilderness permits are required year round for all overnight trips into Yosemite Wilderness.

The symbols shown include: a. wilderness permit station, get free wilderness permit here, summer only (symbol - upper case W on green background), b. John Muir Trail and or Pacific Crest Trail (symbol - dark grey dashed line), and c. trail (symbol - olive green line of short dashes)

Further text reads: Natural areas present hazards. You are responsible for your safety. Be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions. Do not use this map for hiking. U S G S topographic maps or detailed trail maps are available at visitor centers.

Visiting Yosemite National Park by Road

Some roads may be closed or have detours or delays. Visit or call 209-372-0200 for updated information.

The symbols shown include way finding and amenities information. Way finding symbols include: a. paved road (symbol – solid brown line), b. unpaved road (symbol – double black line). Amenities symbols include a. ranger station (symbol - building with flag on top), b. gas station (symbol - gas pump), c. food service and lodging (symbol - fork and knife), d. picnic area (symbol - picnic table), e. horseback riding (symbol - horse and rider), f. campground (symbol - tent on black background), g. High Sierra camp (by reservation only) (symbol - tent on green background), h. other public campground (symbol - tent on gray background).

MAP: YNP Amenities

There are 4 major districts in Yosemite: Tuolumne, Wawona, Yosemite Valley and Mather, each of which is associated with a primary entrance road (or two, in Mather's case). Park Amenities are listed by district along the road. Amenities in the wilderness are listed as if they are in a separate district.

Wilderness Amenities

The wilderness covers most of the park acreage and is primarily in the north and south of the park. Amenities are listed north to south.

Jack Main Canyon near Wilma Lake - wilderness ranger station (staffed intermittently)

Jack Main Canyon near Lake Vernon - wilderness ranger station (staffed intermittently)

Miguel Meadow - wilderness ranger station (staffed intermittently)

Lake Eleanor - wilderness ranger station (staffed only in summer)

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir – Hetch Hetchy Backpackers Camp (wilderness permit required)

Glen Aulin - High Sierra camp

May Lake - High Sierra camp

Vogelsang – High Sierra camp

Sunrise – High Sierra camp

Merced Lake – High Sierra camp and wilderness ranger station (staffed intermittently)

Buck Camp – wilderness ranger station (summer only)

Tuolumne Meadows District Amenities

The Tuolumne District entrance is on the east side of the park. The major road, the Tioga Road, runs west from the entrance, roughly bisecting the park in north and south halves. Amenities are listed east to west along the road.

Lee Vining - gas, food and the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center

Tioga Pass Resort - Food symbol is shown, but the restaurant closed winter of 2016 -17.

Tuolumne Meadows – restaurants, store, post office, picnic area, campground, and wilderness permit station

Tenaya Lake – picnic areas on east and west

Porcupine Flat – campground

Yosemite Creek – picnic area

Yosemite Creek – campground

White Wolf – food and campground

Tamarack Flat – campground

Wawona District Amenities

The Wawona District is on the south side of the park. The major road, the Wawona Road, runs north from the entrance. Amenities are listed south to north along the road.

Fish Camp – food and gas

South of park boundary – public campground

Mariposa Grove Road – picnic area

Wawona Visitor Center – gas, food, wilderness permit station

Pioneer History Center – picnic area, horseback riding

Wawona – picnic area, campground

Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area – wilderness ranger station

Bridalveil Creek – campground

Valley District Amenities

The Valley District is in the southeast side of the park. The major road, the El Portal Road, runs east from the entrance. Amenities are listed east to west along the road.

El Portal area – food, picnic areas, gas (For other amenities see map below.)

Cascade Creek – picnic area

Yosemite Valley Visitor Center and Theater – wilderness permit station

(See Yosemite Basics map for more amenities in Yosemite Valley.)

Mather District Amenities listed south to north

The Mather District is on the east and northeast side of the park. The major roads are the Big Oak Flat Road and the Hetch Hetchy Road, both of which run east into the park. Amenities are listed east to west along the roads.

Hetch Hetchy Entrance – wilderness permit station

Hetch Hetchy - backpacker's camp

Big Oak Flat Information Station – wilderness permit station

Hodgdon Meadow – Campground

Crane Flat – campground, gas station

MAP: YNP Roadways

Tuolumne Meadows District Roadways

East of the park, Highway 395 runs north-south past Mono Lake and the small town of Lee Vining. Highway 120 East climbs 13 miles out of Lee Vining, through the Inyo National Forest and up to the Tioga Pass Entrance Station. It is at this point that the road closes to the west approximately November to May. From there, the road is named The Tioga Road, and runs 59 miles east to west, bisecting the park into north and south sections. The road ends near the western boundary at the Big Oak Flat Road and Crane Flat Gas Station.

Wawona District Roadways

From Fresno, Highway 41 travels 61 miles north to Yosemite. Fish Camp lies just outside the park boundary. Just inside the park boundary is the South Entrance. Parking is available there to take a bus east up a small spur road, The Mariposa Grove Road. This road leads to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, the park’s largest sequoia grove. This road is closed approximately November to May. The 31 miles of Highway 41 traveling from the South Entrance to Yosemite Valley is also known as the Wawona Road. Five miles north of the South Entrance is the town of Wawona with two small spur roads leading up to a collection of homes. 18 miles to the north of the South Entrance, a spur road on the left leads to a collection of homes known as Yosemite West. Less than a mile beyond and on the right is Chinquapin, the start of the Glacier Point Road. Five miles up the Glacier Point Road to the east lies the Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area, formerly known as Badger Pass. It is open winter only. Approximately November through May, the road closes from this point east. This winding, mountain road heads east, then north for 16.5 miles to arrive at Glacier Point and the rim of Yosemite Valley. The Wawona Road ends at Northside Drive in Yosemite Valley, the end portion of Highway 140.

Valley District Roadways

Starting in Merced, the 65-mile Highway 140 travels from the southwest up to El Portal. Across the river to the north, a small road leaves from El Portal, parallels the river and runs west for about 4 miles. From El Portal to Yosemite Valley, Highway 140 is known as the El Portal Road. 3.7 miles to the west of El Portal is the Arch Rock Entrance Station. 5 miles beyond to the east, the southern terminus of the Big Oak Flat Road joins the El Portal Road. 2 miles to the east beyond the Big Oak Flat junction lies the northern terminus of the Wawona Road. Highway 140 ends in Yosemite Valley, the primary roads of which are Northside and Southside Drives which run in a loop around the edge of the seven mile long valley. See Valley Map for more details.

Mather District Roadways

From Highway 99 in Manteca, Highway 120 West enters from the western side of the park. Just outside the park boundary, a 20 mile spur road, Evergreen Road, runs north to connect 120 West with the Hetch Hetchy Road in the town of Mather. From here, the eight-mile Hetch Hetchy Road soon enters the park at the Hetch Hetchy Entrance and Permit Station. The road then runs northeast to the Hetch Hetchy Valley and Reservoir. A small loop road at the reservoir allows visitors to turn around.

From the start of the Evergreen Road on Highway 120 West, it is just over a mile to the south to arrive at the Big Oak Flat Entrance Station. Inside the park, the 17 miles of Highway 120 West that travels down to Highway 140 is also known as the Big Oak Flat Road. Nearly 8 miles to the southeast from the Big Oak Flat Entrance Station is the Crane Flat Gas Station. The start of the Tioga Road is at this junction. From the gas station, the cliffside Big Oak Flat Road winds and drops 10 more miles, traveling through 2 tunnels to arrive at Highway 140.

MAP: YNP Trails

Extensive hiking trails indicated by dashed grey and olive green lines cover the Yosemite landscape in over 700 miles of trails. A selection of renowned trails will be highlighted here. When relevant, the park boundary will be referenced as a clock face with north at twelve o'clock.

The Pacific Crest Trail enters the park boundary at 11:45 in the northern wilderness and travels down to cross the Tioga Road at Tuolumne Meadows. From there, it passes through Tuolumne Meadows, southeast down Lyell Canyon and out of the park's southern wilderness area at 3:45.

From Yosemite Valley, the famous John Muir Trail starts up the Mist Trail traveling northeast, passing by the west end of Little Yosemite Valley, crossing through Tuolumne Meadows and joining the Pacific Crest Trail. The John Muir Trail ends 210 miles later at Mount Whitney in Sequoia National Park.

Starting from the Mist Trail at the north of Little Yosemite Valley, a spur trail branches north to access Half Dome. Further trails leaving from Yosemite Valley can be found in the Trails section of the map entitled Services and Facilities of Yosemite Valley.

All three groves of giant sequoias have hiking trails. In the Wawona District off of the Mariposa Grove Road, a 5 to 6 mile loop trail takes visitors through the upper and lower groves. In the Mather District off the Big Oak Flat Road northeast of Crane Flat, a 1.5 mile trail drops from the Merced Grove Parking Area down to the Merced Grove. Just north of Crane Flat on the Tioga Road lies a bathroom and parking area for the Tuolumne Grove. A 1.5 mile trail leads down to the grove.

From the Lembert Dome Parking Area in the Tuolumne Meadows District along the Tioga Road, a 1.5 mile round trip hike takes you to Soda Springs and Parsons Lodge.

More detailed day hiking maps of each district are available at all visitor centers and wilderness permit stations. Finely detailed topographic maps of discrete regions are available at all Yosemite wilderness permit stations. For specific requests of more detailed descriptions of any Yosemite park map, please call the Yosemite Accessibility Line at 209-379-1035.

MAP: YNP Highlights

Surrounding the park’s boundary are a series of national forests and wilderness areas which are as follows. To the west, northwest and due north are the Stanislaus National Forest and Emigrant Wilderness. To the northeast lies the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and Hoover Wilderness. To the east is the Inyo National Forest. To the southeast is the Ansel Adams Wilderness. Lastly, to the south and southwest lies the Stanislaus National Forest.

Yosemite National Park is an extremely large area with countless front country and backcountry highlights including meadows, domes, peaks, waterfalls, trees, viewpoints and trails, as well as historic features such as buildings and bridges. A collection of notable features visible from the front country will be listed by district starting from the park entrances.

Tuolumne District Highlights

Many excellent views of the high country landscape are along the road:

  • the steep, drop away canyon and views on Highway 120 East from Lee Vining to Tioga Pass
  • the picturesque Tuolumne Meadows and associated domes, peaks and meandering river
  • the glittering blue jewel of Tenaya Lake with its beaches and surrounding peaks
  • Olmsted Point's stunning view of the expansive granite panorama that includes the Cloud's Rest ridgeline and the back side of Half Dome

Mather District Highlights

Many special areas in the Mather District include:

  • the remote and mountainous terrain on the way to Hetch Hetchy Valley. This east-west-oriented valley is similar in size and shape to Yosemite Valley, but has the O'Shaughnessy Dam at the west end, creating a reservoir that is a shining lake surrounded by granite cliffs and waterfalls
  • the Crane Flat meadows often filled with wild flowers and frequented by bears
  • the Tuolumne and Merced Groves on the Big Oak Flat Road
  • the pullouts featuring Big Meadow and views of waterfalls and Half Dome

Yosemite Valley District Highlights

The key features of Yosemite Valley are described in the Highlights section of the Services and Facilities in Yosemite Valley Map.

Wawona District Highlights

The famous Wawona District has many unique areas including:

  • the park's largest giant sequoia grove, the Mariposa Grove
  • the historic Big Trees Lodge
  • the preserved wooden structures, wagon collection and stagecoach rides in the Pioneer Yosemite History Center
  • the historic covered bridge
  • the dramatic mountain road to Glacier Point
  • Summit, McGurk and Mono Meadows
  • and the expansive view of the high country at Clark's Viewpoint

See the Highlights section of the Services and Facilities in Yosemite Valley Map for additional details.

MAP: YNP Topography

Located on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, the park has a wide elevation range. Starting from about 2000 feet in the foothill community of El Portal at the western edge, the area is rocky and dry with grasses, shrubs and oak woodlands. That landscape transitions to rocky, dry shrub land with few trees. At higher elevations, such as Yosemite Valley, is a diversity of tree species with oaks, pines, cedars and firs. Giant Sequoias grow in contained areas at four to six thousand feet. Further up the mountains , the trees shift to primarily firs and pines, and near 8,000 feet, the trees are a mix of pines and hemlocks, contorted and stunted from the deep snow in winter. Beyond treeline, the landscape rises to a dramatic crest of snowy, treeless peaks along the eastern side of over 13,000 feet. Interestingly, from the eastern Tioga Pass entrance of 9,945 feet at the park line, the landscape drops dramatically in just five miles to the east, down to the shore of Mono Lake at 6,837 feet.

The park's wilderness lands include rugged, mountainous terrain shown with shadowing on the map and two major watersheds with creeks and lakes shown in blue. North of the Tioga road lies the Tuolumne River drainage. The Tuolumne River runs roughly east to west, fed by countless tributary creeks and lakes across the jagged, dramatic landscape of pines and exposed granite. The river runs through many meadows, the largest of which is Tuolumne Meadows. A primary feature of the Tuolumne River is the extensive Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne which travels through Pate Valley before spilling into the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir on the west side of the park. The Hetch Hetchy Valley's 3000 foot cliff walls stand testament to the park's glacial history.

At the geographic center of the park lies Mount Hoffman, at 10,850 feet. South of the Tioga road lies the Merced River drainage. The Merced River runs roughly east to west, as well. Like the Tuolumne River, the Merced is fed by tributary creeks and lakes across the rough, wilderness terrain. The Merced River includes Yosemite Valley, a flat bottomed, glacially carved valley with exposed 3000 foot cliff walls.

MAP: YNP Text by Quadrant Overview

This section covers all of the text and icons on the map. The map is divided into four quadrants: upper left, upper right, lower left, lower right. In each quadrant, the information is divided by feature, then organized in an alphabetical list.

MAP: YNP text by Quadrant - Upper Left

Upper left quadrant:

Haystack Peak
Mount Gibson
Paiute Mountain 10,541ft / 3,213m
Richardson Peak 9,877ft / 3,010m
Schofield Peak
Smith Peak 7,751ft / 2,363m
Tower Peak

Bald Mountain 7,261ft / 2,213m
Rancheria Mountain
Tiltill Mountain

Bond Pass
Dorothy Lake Pass
Styx Pass

Pate Valley
Pleasant Valley
Poopenaut Valley

Jack Main Canyon
Stubblefield Canyon

Birch Lake - Stanislaus NF
Dorothy Lake
Emigrant Lake - Stanislaus NF
Harden Lake
Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and O'Shaughnessy Dam (no swimming or boating)
Huckleberry Lake - Stanislaus NF
Kibby Lake
Lake Eleanor
Lake Vernon
Laurel Lake
Lukens Lake
Many Islands Lake
Mary Lake
Maxwell Lake - Stanislaus NF
Otter Lake
Siesta Lake
Table Lake
Tilden Lake
Twin Lakes
WIlma Lake

Creeks and rivers:
East Fork Cherry Creek - Stanislaus NF
Eleanor Creek
Falls Creek
Frog Creek
Kendrick Creek
Morrison Creek
Rancheria Creek
TiltIll Creek
Tuolumne River

Miguel Meadow

Rancheria Falls
Tueeulala Falls
Wapama Falls

Pacific Crest Trail

Ranger Stations:
Hetch Hetchy Entrance (open limited hours)
Jack Main Canyon near Lake Vernon (Staffed intermittently)
Jack Main Canyon near Wilma Lake (Staffed intermittently)

Lake Eleanor (Summer Only)
Miguel Meadow (Staffed intermittently)

Wilderness Permit Stations:
Hetch Hetchy Entrance (Open limited hours)

Campground on Evergreen Road (Stanislaus NF)
Hetch Hetchy Backpackers Camp (Wilderness Permit Required)
White Wolf

Food Service and Lodging:
White Wolf

Evergreen Road
Hetch Hetchy Road
Tioga Road

Cities and towns:

Picnic Areas:
Yosemite Creek

National Forests and Wilderness Areas:
Emigrant Wilderness
Stanislaus National Forest

MAP: YNP Text by Quadrant - Upper Right

Upper Right Quadrant:


Cathedral Peak 10,940ft / 3,335m
Gaylor Peak
Mammoth Peak 12,117ft / 3,693m
Matterhorn Peak
North Peak
Pettit Peak 10,788ft / 3,288m
Ragged Peak
Tioga Peak 11,526ft / 3,513m
Tuolumne Peak 10,845ft / 3,306m
Virginia Peak
Volunteer Peak

Mountains and Ridges:
Mount Conness 12,590ft / 3,837m
Mount Dana 13,057ft / 3,979m
Mount Gibbs 12,764ft / 3,890m
Mount Hoffman 10,850ft / 3,307m
Sawtooth Ridge
Slide Mountain
White Mountain
Whorl Mountain

Fairview Dome
Lembert Dome
Medlicott Dome
Pothole Dome

Benson Pass
Buckeye Pass 9,572ft / 2,917m
Burrow Pass
Mono Pass 10,604ft / 3,232m
Rock Island Pass
Tioga Pass 9,945ft / 3,031m
Virginia Pass

Cold Canyon
Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River
Kerrick Canyon
Matterhorn Canyon
Rodgers Canyon
Virginia Canyon

Barney Lake - Humboldt-Toiyabe NF
Crown Lake - Humboldt-Toiyabe NF
Ellery Lake - Inyo NF
Gardisky Lake - Inyo NF
Green Lake - Humboldt-Toiyabe NF
Keeler Lake - Humboldt-Toiyabe NF
Lundy Lake - Inyo NF
Mono Lake - Inyo NF
Saddlebag Lake - Inyo NF
Summit Lake - Humboldt-Toiyabe NF
Twin Lakes - Humboldt-Toiyabe NF
Virginia Lakes - Humboldt-Toiyabe NF

Creeks and Rivers:
Benson Lake
Conness Creek
Dana Fork Creek
Delaney Creek
Dog Lake
Gaylor Lakes
Granite Lake
Grant Lakes
Lyell Fork Creek
May Lake
McCabe Creek
McCabe Lakes
Paiute Creek
Rafferty Creek
Rancheria Creek
Return Creek
Rodgers Lake
Roosevelt Lake
Smedberg Lake
Spiller Creek
Ten Lakes
Tioga Lake
Tuolumne River
Upper McCabe Lake
Virginia Lake
Young Lakes

Dana Meadows
Tuolumne Meadows

Waterwheel Falls

John Muir Trail
Pacific Crest Trail

Ellery Lake Campground - Inyo NF
Saddlebag Lake (one at lake, one along the road) - Inyo NF
Tuolumne Meadows

High Sierra Camps:
Glen Aulin
May Lake

Food and Lodging:
Tioga Pass Resort
Tuolumne Meadows

Highway 120 (Closes in winter)
Highway 167
Highway 395 (North to Carson City, Nevada, South to Mammoth Lakes)
Tioga Road (Closed November to May, west of Tioga Pass, facilities summer only)

Cities and towns:
Lee Vining

Visitors Centers:
Mono Basin Scenic Area
Tuolumne Meadows

Picnic Areas:
Tuolumne Meadows

Horseback Riding:
Tuolumne Meadows

Wilderness Station:
Tuolumne Meadows

Ranger Stations:
Tioga Pass Entrance
National Forests and Wilderness/Natural Areas:
Harvey Monroe Hall Research Natural Area
Humboldt - Toiyabe National Forest
Inyo NF

MAP: YNP Text by Quadrant - Lower Left

Lower Left Quadrant:

Points and views:
Dewey Point
Glacier Point
Inspiration Point
Old Inspiration
Tunnel View
Valley View

Mountains and Ridges:
El Capitan
Henness Ridge (Sierra NF)
Horizon Ridge
Horse Ridge
Turner Ridge

Aspen Valley
Yosemite Valley

Wawona Dome

Ostrander Lake

Creeks and Rivers:
Alder Creek
Bishop Creek
Bridalveil Creek
Cascade Creek
Chilnualna Creek
Crane Creek
Grouse Creek
Merced River
Moss Creek (Stanislaus NF)
South Fork Merced River
South Fork Tuolumne River
Tamarack Creek
Yosemite Creek

McGurk Meadow
Mono Meadow
Summit Meadow
West Fall Meadow

Chilnualna Fall

Crane Flat
Bridalveil Creek
Hodgdon Meadow
Porcupine Flat
South of South Entrance (Sierra NF)
Tamarack Flat
West of El Portal (Stanislaus NF)
Yosemite Creek

Food and Lodging:
El Portal
Fish Camp
West of El Portal

Big Oak Flat Road (to tunnel)
El Portal Road
Evergreen Road
Glacier Point Road (Closed November to May, east of Yosemite Ski
and Snowboard Area)
Highway 41 (to Fresno)
Highway 120 (to Manteca)
Highway 140(to Merced)
Mariposa Grove Road (Closed in winter)
Tioga Road (Closed November to May, east of Crane Flat, facilities
are summer only)
Wawona Road (Tunnel)

Cities and Towns:
Crane Flat
El Portal
Fish Camp
Yosemite West

Visitors Centers:
Big Oak Flat Entrance Information Station
Wawona (Summer Only)
Yosemite Valley Visitor Center

Giant Sequoia Groves:
Mariposa Grove
Merced Grove
Tuolumne Grove

Picnic Areas:
Along Mariposa Grove Road
Cascade Creek
Pioneer Yosemite History Center
West of El Portal (Stanislaus NF)

Horseback Riding:

Ski Services:
Ostrander Ski Hut
Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area (Formerly Badger Pass, Winter

Gas Stations:
Crane Flat
El Portal
Fish Camp

Wilderness Permit Stations:
Big Oak Flat

Entrance Stations:
Arch Rock Entrance
Big Oak Flat Entrance
South Entrance

National Forests and Wilderness/Natural Areas:
Sierra National Forest
Stanislaus National Forest

MAP: YNP Text by Quadrant - Lower Right

Lower Right Quadrant:

Amelia Earhart Peak
Banner Peak 12,936ft / 3,943m (Ansel Adams Wilderness)
Buena Vista Peak 9,709ft / 2,959m
Donohue Peak
Echo Peak
Foerster Peak 12,057ft / 3,675m
Gale Peak 10,693ft / 3,259m
Gray Peak
Isberg Peak
Johnson Peak
Koip Peak 12,962ft / 3,950m (Ansel Adams Wilderness?)
Merced Peak 11,726ft / 3,574m
Post Peak (Ansel Adams Wilderness)
Red Peak 11,699ft / 3,566m
Sing Peak 10,552ft / 3,216m
Tresidder Peak
Triple Divide Peak
Unicorn Peak
Vogelsang Peak

Bunnell Point
Olmstead Point
Potter Point

Mountains, Ranges, and Crests:
Buena Vista Crest
Cathedral Range
Clark Range
Clouds Rest 9,926ft / 3,025m
Koip Crest
Kuna Crest
Long Mountain 11,502ft / 3,506m
Moraine Mountain
Mount Ansel Adams 11,760ft / 3,584m
Mount Clark 11,522ft / 3,512m
Mount Florence 12,561ft / 3,829m
Mount Lyell 13,114ft / 3,997m
Mount McClure
Mount Ritter 13,142ft / 4,006m (Ansel Adams Wilderness)
Mount Starr King 9,092ft / 2,771m
Mount Watkins

Donohue Pass
Fernandez Pass
Isberg Pass
Merced Pass
Parker Pass
Post Peak Pass
Thiquito Pass

Lyell Canyon
Tenaya Canyon

Little Yosemite Valley

Babcock Lake
Bernice Lake
Breeze Lake
Budd Lake
Cathedral Lakes
Chain Lakes
Crescent Lake
Elizabeth Lake
Emeric Lake
Evelyn Lake
Givens Lake
Hart Lakes
Ireland Lake
Johnson Lake
Lower Merced Pass Lake
Merced Lake
Nelson Lake
Ottoway Lake
Royal Arch Lake
Sunrise Lake
Tenaya Lake
Upper Merced Pass Lake
Vogelsang Lake
Waugh Lake (Ansel Adams Wilderness?)
Washburn Lake

Creeks and Rivers:
Buena Vista Creek
Echo Creek
Fletcher Creek
Illilouette Creek
Lewis Creek
Lyell Fork
Merced River
Rafferty Creek
Sunrise Creek
Tenaya Creek
Triple Peak Fork

John Muir Trail
Pacific Crest Trail

High Sierra Camps:
Merced Lake HSC
Sunrise HSC
Vogelsang HSC

Tioga Road (Closed November to May, facilities summer only)

Picnic Areas:
Tenaya Lake (2)

Wilderness Station:
Buck Camp (Summer only)
Merced Lake (Staffed intermittently)

National Forests and Wilderness / Natural Areas:
Ansel Adams Wilderness
Sierra National Forest

TEXT: Wild Yosemite

Congress has designated over three million acres of the Sierra Nevada for protection in the National Wilderness Preservation System. This includes 95 percent of Yosemite National Park, as well as the Emigrant Wilderness in Stanislaus National Forest, the Hoover Wilderness in Humboldt-Toiyabe and Inyo national forests, and the Ansel Adams Wilderness in Sierra and Inyo national forests. Wilderness is meant to protect forever the land’s natural conditions, opportunities for solitude and primitive recreation, and scientific, educational, and historical values. In wilderness, people can sense being a part of the whole community of life on Earth. To learn more visit

TEXT: Rivers and Waterfalls

Rivers and waterfalls are beautiful but treacherous, especially in early spring and summer when water is high. Be alert for undercut banks and slippery rocks. Fast currents and cold water are a deadly combination. Don’t swim above waterfalls or in swift water. Keep children in sight.

TEXT: Bear Country

Keep bears wild by keeping your food from them, day and night. Keep food within arm’s reach, or in a food locker, bear-resistant canister, or hard-sided hotel room. Food may not be left in cars after dark. Speeding cars hit about 15 bears each year! You may not see a bear, but you can protect bears by following food storage regulations and driving slowly.

TEXT: Keep Wildlife Wild

Respect Yosemite’s wild animals at a distance, and never feed or approach them. Animals that get human food may lose their fear of people and become dangerous. Approaching wildlife or allowing them to get your food may result in a fine of up to $5,000.

TEXT: Mountain Lions Live Here

Do not let children run ahead or lag behind alone on trails. If you see a mountain lion, do not run or crouch down. Instead shout, wave, and throw stones. Pick up children so that they look larger. Attacks are rare, but if you are attacked, fight back.

TEXT: Smoke and Fire

Smoke and fire, like wind and waterfalls, are parts of this park’s natural environment. Mornings can be smoky and unhealthy when fires are burning in the area. Ask about and avoid fire areas if you have asthma or other sensitivities to smoke.

TEXT: Please Respect this Park’s 9,000 Years of Human History

It is illegal to damage, deface, or remove any cultural or historic artifacts from federal lands. Metal detecting is not allowed.

MAP: Greater Yosemite Area - Short Map Description


Greater Yosemite Area


National Park Service

This map is one of three maps on the Yosemite National Park Brochure. It is titled Greater Yosemite Area, and is a small inset map showing surrounding highways, towns, national parks and national forests, all in relation to Yosemite National Park. The background of the map is off white, while the national forests are shown in light green with grey irregular borders, and the national parks are shown in a medium-color green with dark green borders.

There are three major highway systems that run diagonally from north to south that have secondary roads branching off. Several surrounding communities are labeled, along with three other national parks, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, and Death Valley National Parks, all located south of Yosemite, and four national forests, Stanislaus, Sierra, Sequoia, and Inyo National Forests. There are two visitor centers, one in the nearest town outside the east exit to Yosemite, in Lee Vining, and the other is about 120 miles south of Lee Vining, on Highway 395, in Lone Pine. There are two sets of red text that read: road open summer only. One is located on the road that crosses Yosemite from West to South, and the other is located on the only road that enters partially into Kings Canyon from the west.

The Sierra Nevada mountain chain, which includes Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks, and the Stanislaus, Sierra, Sequoia, and Inyo National Forests, also runs diagonally north to south, between highways 99 and 395. Yosemite National Park is in the north and is completely surrounded by national forests with the Stanislaus National Forest to its northwest, Inyo National Forest to the east, and Sierra National Forest to the southwest. Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park is in the southern half of the map and is partially surrounded by national forests, with Sequoia National Forest to its northwest and its south, Sierra National Forest to the northeast, and Inyo National Forest to the southeast. Death Valley National Park is in the far southeast quadrant of the map with a strip of Inyo National Forest to its northeast.

MAP: Roadways

There are three major roads indicated by brown lines, that run diagonally from northwest to southeast, the 5, the 99, and the 395, which run somewhat parallel to the Nevada - California state line, which is represented by a grey line in the northeast quadrant.

In the southwest quadrant, Highway 5 cuts across the bottom corner of the map. Highway 198 east branches off the 5 to Sequoia National Park, via the towns of Visalia and Three Rivers, which are indicated by yellow dots. Slightly north of Highway 198, Highway 33 also branches off of the 5, and connects to the 180, which also leads to Sequoia - Kings Canyon National Parks, via Fresno.

The next major highway to the east of the 5 is the 99, which begins in the western bottom corner of the northwest quadrant and cuts across to the southeast corner of the southwest quadrant.

At the bottom of the map, between the 5 and the 99, there is text that reads, Yosemite Valley is 313 miles to Los Angeles.

Three roads branch off of the 99 and all lead to Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park. The northern most road is the 120, via Groveland. The next road south on 99 is the 140, with access to Yosemite Valley via Merced, Mariposa, Midpines, and El Portal. The most southern road to Yosemite is the 41 via Fresno, Oakhurst, and Fish Camp. There is a north to south road, the 49, that connects these three roads beginning on the 120 near Groveland, connecting with the 1 40 in Mariposa, which connects with the 41 in Oakhurst. In Yosemite National Park, north of Yosemite Valley, 120 west crosses from west to east through the park and connects to the 395 in Lee Vining. The 395 is the third major road that runs from north to south.

At the top of the map, to the right of the 3 95, there is text that reads Yosemite Valley to Lake Tahoe and Reno, 218 miles or 350 kilometers. South of Lee Vining passes through Bishop, Big Pine, Independence, and Lone Pine, and also gives access to Mammoth Lakes and Devil's Post pile National Monument, Manzanar National Historic Site, and the Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center. Highway 6 splits off of 395 at Bishop, heading north into Nevada.

MAP: Highlights

The Sierra Nevada mountain chain, which includes Yosemite and Sequoia - Kings Canyon National Parks, and the Stanislaus, Sierra, Sequoia, and Inyo National Forests, also runs diagonally north to south between highways 99 and 3 95. Yosemite National Park is in the north, and is completely surrounded by national forests with the Stanislaus National Forest to its northwest, Inyo National Forest to the east, and Sierra National Forest to the southwest. Sequoia - Kings Canyon National Park is in the southern half of the map and is partially surrounded by national forests, with Sequoia National Forest to its northwest and its south, Sierra National Forest to the northeast, and Inyo National Forest to the southeast. Death Valley National Park is in the far southeast quadrant of the map with a strip of Inyo National Forest to its northeast.

The background of the map is off white, while the national forests are shown in light green with grey irregular borders, and the national parks are shown in a medium-color green with dark green borders.

MAP: Yosemite Valley - Short Map Description

This map is one of three maps on the Yosemite National Park Brochure. It is untitled and is an inset map representing the Yosemite Valley area. The map is primarily an informational and wayfinding map and is oriented with north at the top.

Yosemite Valley is about 7 miles long and one mile wide. The road in the valley is in the shape of an elongated loop, with a majority of all services located on the far east end of the valley. The only entrances into Yosemite Valley are from the west, from either the El Portal Road (Which connects to Highways 140 and 120), or the Wawona Road (which connects to Highway 41). The road entering Yosemite Valley is called Southside Drive and is one way, while the road exiting Yosemite Valley is called Northside Drive and is primarily one way.

The Visitor’s Center is located on the northeast side of the map, in Yosemite Village near Yosemite Falls. A green flag on the map shows the visitor center. Brown parking icons show visitor parking for using the shuttle bus system. Other icons identify a wilderness permit station, food services and lodging, restrooms, picnic areas, and campgrounds. There are several hiking trails shown and the background of the map shows faint, light grey, topography. There is a tactile map available inside the visitor's center.

MAP: Yosemite Valley Legend

The legend has symbols for amenities and way finding information. Amenities symbols include a. wilderness permit station (symbol white W in green box), b. food service and lodging (symbol knife and fork), c. restrooms (symbol universal man and woman), d. picnic area (symbol picnic table), e. campground (symbol white tent), f. walk-in campground (symbol black tent). Way finding symbols include a. Yosemite Valley shuttle route (symbol yellow thick line), b. visitor parking (symbol white P in brown box), c. John Muir Trail (symbol long thin dashed lines), d. other trails (symbol short thin dashed lines), e. paved bikeway and foot trail (symbol thin line), f. distance indicator (symbol black text with miles and kilometers). There is a side note that says. Park and use the free Yosemite Valley Shuttle.

MAP: Yosemite Valley Roadways

Upon entering Yosemite Valley on Southside drive, a one way eastbound road, a series of picnic areas are found along the left side of the road. The Cathedral Beach, Sentinel Beach, and Swinging Bridge picnic areas are only within a few miles of each other, and all have restrooms, grills, and picnic tables.

Further along Southside drive, there's a chapel on the right side of the road then a 3-way intersection. Sentinel drive, a road that hangs left, connects to northside drive and is the most direct way to get to the visitor parking and the Valley Visitor Center in Yosemite Village.

From the 3-way intersection, Southside Drive continues past Housekeeping camp, where rustic lodging, a small grocery store, laundry facilities, showers, and restrooms are available. Across the street is the Yosemite Conservation Heritage Center, which offers a library, education exhibits, and family programs. There is a 4-way intersection where Southside Drive and Northside Drive intersect. Half Dome Village is to the south, which offers lodging, food, restrooms, showers, parking, and a gift shop. Further east of Half Dome Village is where the Lower Pines, North Pines, and Upper Pines Campgrounds are located.

Past the campgrounds exists a small loop road that is only open to the free shuttle buses and to those who possess a disability placard. Two trailheads and the Nature Center at Happy Isles are found along this road.

From the 4-way intersection, Northside Drive, a primarily one way road, gradually loops northwest and leads to a roundabout with a short road which branches off north to the Village Store, Garage, Medical Clinic, and The Majestic Yosemite Hotel.

From the roundabout, Northside drive continues to visitor parking and the Yosemite Village area. The Yosemite Valley Visitor's Center and theater is located in Yosemite Village, as well as a museum, food services, restrooms, gift shops, a wilderness permit station, and a post office.

About a mile west of Yosemite Village is the Yosemite Valley Lodge, located on the left side of the road. Amenities include lodging, food service, restrooms, a gift shop, and a tour desk. Across the street from the lodge is Camp 4 campground.

West of Yosemite Valley Lodge and Camp 4, Northside drive continues west, passing the El Capitan Picnic area, which has picnic tables and vault toilets, and continues to all valley exits.

MAP: Yosemite Valley Amenities by Location

Amenities will be listed by location, counter-clockwise, starting in the southwest quadrant and following the loop road that enters and exits Yosemite Valley.

Upon entering Yosemite Valley on Southside drive, a one way eastbound road, a series of picnic areas are found along the left side of the road. The Cathedral Beach, Sentinel Beach, and Swinging Bridge picnic areas are only within a few miles of each other, and all have restrooms, grills, and picnic tables.

Further along Southside drive, there's a chapel on the right side of the road then a 3-way intersection. Sentinel drive, a road that hangs left, connects to northside drive and is the most direct way to get to the visitor parking and the Valley Visitor Center in Yosemite Village.

From the 3-way intersection, Southside Drive continues past Housekeeping camp, where rustic lodging, a small grocery store, laundry facilities, showers, and restrooms are available. Across the street is the Yosemite Conservation Heritage Center, formerly Le Conte Memorial Lodge, which offers a library, education exhibits, and family programs. There is a 4-way intersection where Southside Drive and Northside Drive intersect. Half Dome Village is to the south, which offers lodging, food, restrooms, showers, parking, a gift shop, and an amphitheater. Further east of Half Dome Village is where the Lower Pines, North Pines, and Upper Pines Campgrounds are located. Lower Pines also has an amphitheater for interpretive programs.

Past the campgrounds exists a small loop road that is only open to the free shuttle buses, those using trailhead parking and to those who possess a disability placard. Two trailheads and the Nature Center at Happy Isles are found along this road.

At the 4-way intersection of Half Dome Village, Northside Drive, a primarily one way road, gradually loops northwest and leads to a roundabout with a short road which branches off north to the Village Store, Village Grille, public restrooms, the Yosemite Art and Education Center, Garage, Medical Clinic, and The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, formerly known as the Ahwahnee Hotel.

From the roundabout, Northside drive continues to visitor parking and the Yosemite Village area. The Yosemite Valley Visitor's Center and theater is located in Yosemite Village, as well as a museum, food services, restrooms, gift shops, a wilderness permit station, and a post office. North of Yosemite Village lies the US District Court.

About a mile west of Yosemite Village is the Yosemite Valley Lodge, located on the left side of the road. Amenities include lodging, food service, restrooms, a gift shop, tour desk and public ampitheater. Across the street from the lodge is Camp 4 campground.

West of Yosemite Valley Lodge and Camp 4, Northside drive continues west, passing the El Capitan Picnic area, which has picnic tables and vault toilets, and continues to all valley exits.

MAP: Yosemite Valley Amenities by Category

Amenities will be listed by category, with locations given in order, counter-clockwise, starting from the entrance to Yosemite Valley from the west, then following the one-way road leading into eastern Yosemite Valley, looping around, and then following the one way road leading westward out of Yosemite Valley.

Restrooms. Bridalveil fall parking (located in southwest), Cathedral Beach, Sentinel Beach, and Swinging Bridge Picnic areas, (located within the first four miles upon entering Yosemite Valley), Housekeeping Camp (located in southeast), Half Dome Village (located in southeast), Yosemite Village (located in northeast), Lower Yosemite Fall trailhead (located in northeast), Yosemite Valley Lodge (located northeast), El Capitan Picnic Area (located in northwest), and Valley View scenic pullout (located in northwest).

Picnic areas. Cathedral Beach, Sentinel Beach, and Swinging Bridge picnic areas (located within the first four miles upon entering Yosemite Valley), and El Capitan picnic area (located in northwest on one way road exiting the valley).

Food. Half Dome Village (located in the southeast), The Majestic Yosemite Hotel (located in northeast), Yosemite Village (located in northeast), and the Yosemite Valley Lodge (located in northeast).

Lodging. Housekeeping Camp (located in Southeast), Half Dome Village (located in the southeast), The Majestic Yosemite Hotel (located in northeast), and the Yosemite Valley Lodge (located in northeast).

Gas. There is no gas in Yosemite Valley

Campgrounds. Lower Pines, North Pines, and Upper Pines (all located in the same area in southeast valley), and Camp 4, a walk-in campground (located in northeast past Yosemite Village).

MAP: Yosemite Valley Trails

There are numerous trails on the map that are indicated by dashed grey lines. Along Southside Drive, the one-way road that enters Yosemite Valley, there are two primary trails shown. The Bridalveil Fall trail, which is a short trail leading to the base of the fall from the parking lot, and the Four Mile Trail, a strenuous full day trail that leads to Glacier Point and beyond.

At the far east end of the valley, in the Happy Isles loop, which is accessible by free shuttle bus only, unless in possession of a disability placard, are the trailheads for the Mirror Lake Trail and the John Muir Trail, which leads to Vernal Fall, Nevada Fall, Half Dome, and beyond.

Along Northside drive, the one way road that ultimately leads out of Yosemite Valley, the trail to the base of Lower Yosemite Fall begins across the street from the Yosemite Valley Lodge. A separate trail leading to the top of the upper Yosemite Fall begins from the parking lot of Camp 4, just down the road from the lodge.

There is a trail that loops the entire valley floor, a majority of which follows the roadway. There is an option to do the full loop, or a half loop, which crosses over the El Capitan bridge instead of completely hiking to the west side of the valley.

For more Yosemite Valley hiking information, visit any park visitor center or wilderness permit station.

MAP: Yosemite Valley Highlights

Yosemite Valley is a deep, steep canyon, nearly all of which is exposed, granite rock features. The granite expanse is punctuated by thundering waterfalls. The flat, valley floor below is filled with forests, meadows and the Merced River, which meanders east to west. Many scenic viewpoints lie along the river such as Cathedral and Sentinel Beaches and Swinging, Sentinel, Housekeeping, Stoneman and Clark Bridges. Prominent features and notable viewpoints will be described as if on a driving tour from the east end, driving in on Highway 140, the El Portal Road, but note that all of Yosemite Valley is spectacular to see.

Soon after crossing the Pohono Bridge on the east end along Southside Drive, a small pullout leads to Fern Spring on the right. The road curves through the dappled light of the overhanging, deciduous trees, the leaves of which turn to gold in the fall. Not far beyond, the road crosses through Roosevelt Meadow, with the first views of Bridalveil Fall above the trees, ahead on the right.

Not long after is the start of the Wawona Road. 15-minutes up the Wawona Road, above the valley floor, the iconic Tunnel View Parking Area provides a unforgettable panoramic view of Yosemite Valley.

Just beyond the Wawona Road intersection on Southside Drive, the wind blown Bridalveil Fall becomes visible through the trees. Just to the right of the waterfall, the Leaning Tower rock formation rises, jutting and tilted over the valley. On the left of the road is another spectacular view - the seasonal Ribbon Fall slicing through the air for 1,612 feet - the longest, single - drop waterfall in North America. Straight ahead, the trees frame a view of El Captain, one of the largest, exposed, granite monoliths in the world. The Heart of El Capitan, an area where the rocks have fallen away in a heart shape, is clearly visible from this vantage point. In spring, if there is snowmelt or rain, the seasonal Horsetail Fall pours off El Captain's east side shoulder. At sunset in the weeks near February, the setting sun hits this waterfall, turning it blazing yellow, orange and pink.

Eventually, the road opens to meadows on both sides. On the north wall, America's tallest waterfall, Yosemite Falls, pour down in three powerful sections, plunging 2,425 feet total to the Merced River. The prominent Yosemite Point and fingerlike rock projection, the Arrowhead Arete, stand out to their right. Further right, the seasonal Lehamite Falls drops down Indian Canyon.

Just past the turn off to Half Dome Village lies Stoneman Meadow and another big view. Half Dome and North Dome rise to the east. To the north, the recognizable exfoliation of Royal Arches is visible in the granite wall, showing where the rock has peeled away from the steep walls in concentric crescents. The seasonal Royal Arches Cascade pours down the face just above the Majestic Hotel (formerly known as The Ahwahnee). Above and to the right, North Dome stands exposed above the cliff walls, massive and bald. The dark granite Washington Column rises up to the dome and across Tenaya Canon, Half Dome's flat face and rounded back look across to North Dome.

To the south, the exposed granite of the Glacier Point Apron shines from the polishing of glaciers thousands of years ago. The seasonal Staircase Falls drops down its face. Above the apron, and almost invisible to the naked eye from the Valley floor, visitors stand at the cliff's edge up at Glacier Point. They are seeing out over the miles of wilderness, across to Yosemite Falls, down the length of Yosemite Valley, and up Tenaya Canyon which holds the reflective Mirror Lake, nestled on the Valley Floor between Washington Column and Half Dome.

A second viewpoint at Glacier Point looks up the Merced Canyon, including a collection of noticeable features - Mount Broderick, Grizzly Peak, Liberty Cap, and Clark Point. Beneath them, the Merced River that runs down to the Valley Floor, creating the Giant Staircase, a series of glacially carved platueas which create two spectacular waterfalls, Nevada and Vernal Fall and the shimmering Emerald Pool just above it.

On Northside Drive going west out of Yosemite Valley, Cook's Meadow gives grand views of Yosemite Falls to the north, Half Dome to the east and Sentinel Rock to the south which thrusts out of the cliff on the south side, its rounded top and flat face like a massive tombstone. The seasonal Sentinel Falls pours off its shoulder to the right.

Not far beyond, the pile of white boulders on the right side of the road show the area of the Three Brothers, a series of three, jointed peaks - the site the largest rockfall in Yosemite's recorded history.

Next, just after the El Capitan Crossover Road joins Northside Drive, lies the expansive El Capitan Meadow on the left. Climbers are visible on El Capitan to the right side of the road, while to the south, the three prominent peaks of the Cathedral Rocks, known as the Three Sisters, dominate the landscape. They stand in a row, tallest in the south and the shortest to the north, as if ensuring all three could look down into the valley. Two finger-like projections rise beside them to the east, the Cathedral Spires.

Further along, a pullout on the right gives you a straight-on view of Bridalveil Fall across the river and not much further is the Valley View Parking Area - the last valley view. It provides a picturesque view of the Merced River, El Captain, the Cathedral Rocks and Bridalveil Fall.

MAP: Yosemite Valley Topography

The topography of the map is primarily areas of granite cliffs, peaks, and domes with waterfalls, creeks and a river. Near Bridalveil Fall are three pointed peaks that fan out in a row, known as the Cathedral Rocks. Further along Southside Drive is a large round spire that looks like a watch tower, known as Sentinel Rock. Half Dome dominates the east end of the valley with Washington Column and North dome just across the valley from it. Washington Column is a sheer rock face that rises behind the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, on which a full dome, North Dome sits. Past Yosemite Falls are another row of three pointed rocks, side by side, known as the Three Brothers. Then, El Capitan dominates the west end of the valley.

TEXT: Yosemite Basics

You can drive your car in Yosemite, but we urge you to use the free shuttle buses in some areas. See Yosemite Guide for shuttle schedules and maps, plus important information on safety and accessibility, a programs and activities calendar, visitor center and museum hours, bookstores, galleries, other facilities and services, and general park information. For advance trip planning see “More Information” below.

Reservations are not required to enter Yosemite, but you need them for lodging and most campgrounds. Entrance fees are charged. Snow closes some areas to cars from about November through May.

For campground reservations, visit the website at w w w, dot, recreation, dot, g o v or call 8 7 7, 4 4 4, 6 7 7 7.

Yosemite National Park is one of over 390 parks in the National Park System. The National Park Service cares for these special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage. To learn more about parks and National Park Service programs in America's communities, visit w w w, dot, n p s, dot, g o v.

More Information.

For emergencies, call 9 1 1. Mailing address. Yosemite National Park, P.O. Box 5 7 7, Yosemite National Park California, 9 5 3 8 9 dash, 0 5 7 7. Phone. 2 0 9, 3 7 2, 0 200, or T T Y at, 2 0 9, 3 7 2, 47 26. Website. w w w, dot, n p s, dot, g o v, backslash, y o s e.

OVERVIEW: More Information

Emergencies call 911

Yosemite National Park is one of over 400 parks in the National Park System. To learn more about parks and National Park Service programs in America’s communities, visit


Yosemite National Park, PO Box 577

Yosemite National Park, CA 95389-0577

Phone number:

209-372-0200 or TTY 209-372-4726

Campground reservations Visit the website or call 877-444-6777.


Additional links:

National Park Foundation

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Last updated: December 22, 2023

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