City Guide: The Stunning Granite Rock Faces of Yosemite

Yosemite is a stunning National Park filled with towering granite summits, lush pine forests and towering waterfalls. I’ve put together this post as a guide to some of the amazing places you can discover in this rich natural setting.

To Stay

Relax at Tenaya Lodge

Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite is the perfect location to stay while exploring Yosemite National Park. This lodge style hotel has a cozy cabin-like feel, with grand fireplaces, wall-mounted taxidermy and warm neutral colors. It has a plethora of things to do communal space, like an indoor and outdoor pool, and a nice reading area in the main lobby. It has two restaurants to dine in when you return from a long day hiking or biking in the park. Book it

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More hotel options within the park

Yosemite Valley Lodge - this hotel is right in Yosemite Valley where you can easy access to restaurants, hiking trails, and views of famous Yosemite natural wonders like El Capitan and Half Dome Book it

Little Ahwahnee Inn Holiday Home - 2BR/2.5BA - This beautiful large mountain cabin would be great for a family vacation so you can have a full kitchen and living area. It' still has good access to Yosemite Valley and it’s close to the Mariposa Grove of giant Sequoias. Book it

Camp at Little Yosemite Valley Campground, Yosemite Creek Campground, or Backpackers Camp

There are many campgrounds in Yosemite to stay at. Stay near Yosemite Valley if you want to be near all the action. If you prefer to stay off the beaten path, choose a campground that’s further out. The main thing is, book FAR in advance! Yosemite is one of the most frequented National Parks in the U.S. so it fills up quickly!

You can also book a pre set up large tent in Curry Village if you’re visiting from out of state, but still want a camping experience.


To do.

Hike to Nevada Falls

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Hike Sentinel Dome

Sentinel trail is a nice easy hike just over 2 miles round trip (out and back). Once there, you get stunningly picturesque vistas of El Capitan and Half Dome, some of the best views in the park. When you get to the last bit of the hike, it’s a bit steeper and you have to climb the rocky dome to get to the top. This is not too hard for most hikers, just be careful if you have children and keep a close eye on them. The granite looks light grey with shadows in shades of purple and blue, and pine green cascading across the valleys.

Read more

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Explore Curry Village

Curry Village is right at the center of Yosemite Valley. There are a few restaurants, a grocery store, some shuttle stops, and some tent cabins if you want to stay here. It’s also right by the mist trail that leads to Half Dome.

You can also book a pre set up large tent in Curry Village if you’re visiting from out of state, but still want a camping experience.

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Take in the Granite Views from Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Valley is a glacial valley in the center of the park where you can view the great granite rock faces that make Yosemite so distinctive. From here, you can view the famous summits of El Capitan and Half Dome along with dense pine forests and waterfalls . It’s truly stunning, especially at sunset when the granite is lit with a soft glow.

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Hike Half Dome

Hiking Half Dome is not for the faint of heart. The shortest route is 14.2 miles, and the climb is steep in high elevation, so the air is thinner. The final stretch of this hike is up a steep incline on the granite dome, with cables to hold onto. If you’re going to attempt this challenging hike, get a permit, and train hard!

Read more

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Explore the Redwoods in Mariposa Grove

Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park is filled with giant Sequoias. It is the largest grove of giant sequoias in the park, with several hundred mature examples of the tree. Two of its trees are among the 30 largest giant sequoias in the world. Read more

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To Eat & Drink

Try some local beers at South Gate Brewing Company

If you’re ready for some delicious brews after a long day of hiking or exploring, head over to South Gate Brewing in Oakhurst. A burger, fries, and a great selection of craft beer hits the spot. Call ahead, they get busy! (559) 692-2739


Yosemite is otherworldly, and infinite. These are a handful of the things to see and do, but it’s a massive park! Be sure to do some research to tailor your experience, but I hope these recommendations help spark your interest in all the things Yosemite has to offer.

Do you have other recommendations? Leave them in the comments below.

Are you planning a trip soon? These are some of my favorite sites for finding places to stay, book tours, and more:

  • for the best hotel deals

  • Get Your Guide to book a variety of tours and activities

  • Expedia for flights, hotels, rental cars and more.

  • Vuori for long-lasting comfortable hiking and workout apparel (my fave!)

  • Herschel for nice luggage that’s made to last

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