When it comes to taking photos in Yosemite National Park, there is no shortage of beautiful scenery and panoramas. From the warmer colors of Yosemite Valley, to the cooler shades of granite, there is always something worthwhile to capture. The wildlife in Yosemite also provides ample opportunities for photographers to get creative! In fact, it is the wildlife that often causes the greatest traffic jams in parks across the country. Understandably, every visitor is eager to snap a photo of the incredible creatures that live there.
During our four-day family trip to Yosemite National Park, I took A LOT of pictures! When you are in such a beautiful place, it is difficult to not go completely overboard with snapping photos. Luckily, with today’s digital technology, we can all click away as much as we like, and not worry about saving our roll of film for another day. Really, the hard task comes later when you actually have to look through the thousands of pictures, and select the best ones. In this post, I attempted to do just that. I sifted through a TON of images, and selected what I felt were my best Yosemite photos. So, without further ado, here they are!
Yosemite Valley, Day 1
There is hardly a valley anywhere else in the world that is surrounded by the kind of granite giants that are found here. If you enter the park from the South, and drive up Wawona Road, it is the famous Tunnel View that gives you the first glimpse of this breathtaking place. As you descend further into the valley, you can’t help but feel in complete awe of the monolithic formations that rise high above you. You want to stop every fifty feet, in order to look up and better comprehend these stunning panoramas. It is undoubtedly a place you will always remember and cherish!
Photos from Yosemite Valley
Glacier Point Road, Day 2
Glacier Point Road is a MUST VISIT area of Yosemite, for this is where you get some of the most glorious panoramas from above. One of the most popular stops here is Glacier Point, located at the very end of the road. Here, you can view almost the entire Yosemite Valley, and on a clear day, you can see well beyond that. It is here that you truly begin to comprehend the magnitude of the park.
Some other notable and worthwhile stops along Glacier Point Road are Washburn Point, Taft Point, and Sentinel Dome. At Washburn Point you can see the side profile of Half Dome, and realize how incredibly steep its back side actually is.
Taft Point and Sentinel Dome Trails
The trails to Taft Point and Sentinel Dome start at Glacier Point Road as well, and split very quickly leading in opposite directions. However, you can hike them both on a loop via the Pohono Trail, which is the connecting path. Both trails lead to stunning and somewhat hair-raising views of Yosemite Valley. Taft Point is perhaps the scarier of the two as it comes to an overhang above a vertical cliff several thousand feet above the valley floor. Sentinel Dome Trail, on the other hand, takes you to the second highest viewpoint in Yosemite Valley, the top of Sentinel Dome. It offers amazing, 360-degree views not only of the valley, but also of Half Dome and beyond. As a side note, we did not manage to get to Sentinel Dome on our second day, so we returned to hike it later.
One more stop found along Glacier Point Road that is worth mentioning is McGurk’s Meadow Trail. It does not have the same death-defying views as the others, but it is beautiful nonetheless. Here, you find yourself on a lovely path in the forest, which passes by McGurk’s wooden cabin, and leads to a serene meadow. Apparently, McGurk was a pig farmer who stayed in this area at some point in the distant past.
As far as taking pictures goes, I found many of the views along Glacier Point Road difficult to capture on photos, for the sheer size of the vistas was beyond the capacity of my lens. I did make use of the panorama feature on my iPhone 7 Plus, which allowed for a little more complete picture. So here they are, my best Yosemite photos from Glacier Point Road on Day 2 of our Yosemite family adventure!
Photos from Glacier Point Road
Tioga Road and Sentinel Dome, Day 3
On day 3 of our Yosemite adventure, we drove up north on Tioga Road, and then ended up returning to Glacier Point Road to hike up to Sentinel Dome. We didn’t have enough time to do that the previous day, so we backtracked a little.
Tioga Road cuts through the northern region of Yosemite, and uncovers a whole new side of the park. Once out of the valley, it leads into a higher elevation where granite dominates the landscape. While there are forests, they are not as abundant as in Yosemite Valley, or near Glacier Point road.
One notable stop along Tioga Road is Olmsted Point. Here, you can enjoy walking on large granite surfaces while viewing the backside of Half Dome in a distance. On a clear day, and with the help of binoculars, you can even see the infamous cables that lead to Half Dome’s summit.
The Lakes near the Road
Further along Tioga Road, there are several pristine mountain lakes, namely Tenaya Lake, Tioga Lake, and Ellery Lake. As you keep driving, you can even exit the park, and pay a visit to Mono Lake and enjoy its incredible tufa towers. This stunning body of water is the subject of a separate post. Visit Mono Lake – Why You Need to See it Now to find out more!
To recap, the region along Tioga Road is not only interesting and unique, but it is also less crowded than Yosemite Valley and Glacier Point Road. This makes it a perfect choice when you decide to take it easy for a day.
Photos of Tioga Road and Sentinel Dome
Hike to Half Dome, Day 4
The famous Half Dome needs no introduction, as it is the symbol of Yosemite National Park. It rises nearly 5,000 feet above the valley floor, and looks like it is wearing a giant granite hood. Only a small fraction of park visitors actually hike up to the top of this iconic peak, as it requires special permits and excellent physical stamina.
It is a Long Trail Filled with Adventures
In fact, the hike to Half Dome’s summit is a grueling quest, but one that is totally worth the effort. On the trail you get to experience waterfalls, forests, rocky paths, stunning panoramas, and the infamous cables leading to the summit. Many people hike only part of the way in order to enjoy some of these amazing sights.
We dared to not only go on this journey, but we also brought our two kids! You can read all the details of our Half Dome family adventure on Hiking to Half Dome with Kids Post.
Here are some of the photos that I snapped along the trail during this unforgettable day to complete my stash of Yosemite photos.
The Photos from the Half Dome Hike
Yosemite Photos – Small Bits of Perfection
People say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a thousand words are not nearly enough when it comes to describing the magnificence of Yosemite National Park! Pictures, however, are the best thing we have, for they allow us to take away small memories from such a special place.
One thing is for sure, whether you visit Yosemite in the summer, fall, winter, or spring, there will be always something you haven’t seen before, something new and stunning to capture on yet another photo!
If you like this post, pin it!