Must-see attractions in Yosemite & the Sierra Nevada

  • October 9, 2014: Visitors gather at Glacier Point with the Half Dome mountain in the background.

    Yosemite National Park

    Yosemite & the Sierra Nevada

    Yosemite means "killer" in the Indigenous Miwok language, and in today's parlance it's indeed an impressive, awesome site. Everywhere you look in Yosemite…

  • Mono Lake

    Mono Lake Region

    North America’s second-oldest lake is 70 sq miles, and a quiet and mysterious expanse of deep blue water. The glassy surface reflects jagged Sierra peaks,…

  • Supermoon above the Eastern Sierra Mountains, California, USA.; Shutterstock ID 556617343; your: Meghan O'Dea; gl: 65050; netsuite: Digital Editorial; full: POI

    Alabama Hills

    Lone Pine

    The setting for countless ride-‘em-out movies, the popular Lone Ranger TV series and, more recently, parts of Iron Man (Jon Favreau, 2008) and Quentin…

  • Earthquake Fault on Minaret Road near Mammoth Lakes California

    Earthquake Fault

    Mammoth Lakes

    Mammoth Mountain is the product of millions of years of volcanic activity, so it should be no surprise that the region surrounding it is full of…

  • General Grant Grove trees

    Mariposa Grove

    Yosemite National Park

    With their massive stature and multi-millennium maturity, the chunky high-rise sequoias of Mariposa Grove will make you feel rather insignificant. The…

  • Half Dome and the Yosemite Valley viewed from Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park

    Glacier Point

    Yosemite National Park

    If you drove, the views from 7214ft Glacier Point might make you feel like you cheated – superstar sights present themselves without your having made…

  • Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

    Yosemite & the Sierra Nevada

    Joined by a high-altitude roadway bisecting a national forest and contiguous with a number of wilderness areas, these two parks combined offer vast…

  • Bodie State Historic Park

    Mono Lake Region

    At Bodie State Historic Park, a gold-rush ghost town is preserved in a state of 'arrested decay.' Weathered buildings sit frozen in time on a dusty,…

  • Manzanar National Historic Site, site of World War Two-era internment camp for Japanese-Americans, guard tower

    Manzanar National Historic Site

    Eastern Sierra

    A stark wooden guard tower alerts drivers to one of US history's darkest chapters, which unfolded on a barren, windy sweep of land some 5 miles south of…

  • Laws Railroad Museum & Historic Site

    Eastern Sierra

    This railroad and Old West museum recreates the village of Laws, an important stop on the route of the Slim Princess, a narrow-gauge train that hauled…

  • Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

    Eastern Sierra

    To visit some of the earth's oldest living things, budget a half-day for the thrilling drive up to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. These otherworldly…

  • Half Dome and the Tenaya Valley

    Half Dome

    Yosemite National Park

    Yosemite's most distinctive natural monument, Half Dome is 87 million years old and has a 93% vertical grade – the sheerest cliff in North America…

  • El Capitan

    Yosemite National Park

    At nearly 3600ft from base to summit, El Capitan ranks as one of the world’s largest granite monoliths. Its sheer face makes it a world-class destination…

  • Olmsted Point

    Yosemite National Park

    This ‘honey, hit the brakes!’ viewpoint, midway between the May Lake turnoff and Tenaya Lake, is a lunar landscape of glaciated granite with a stunning…

  • Woman hiking through forest, rear view, Mineral King, Sequoia National Park, California, USA

    Mineral King

    Sequoia National Park

    A scenic subalpine valley at 7500ft, Mineral King is Sequoia’s backpacking mecca and a good place to find solitude. Gorgeous and gigantic, its glacially…

  • Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite National Park.

    Bridalveil Fall

    Yosemite National Park

    At the southwestern end of the valley, Bridalveil Fall tumbles 620ft. The Ahwahneechee people call it Pohono (Spirit of the Puffing Wind), as gusts often…

  • Man looking up at a giant redwood in Sequoia National Park.

    Giant Forest

    Sequoia National Park

    This 3-sq-mile grove protects the park’s most gargantuan tree specimens. Among them is the world’s biggest, the General Sherman tree, rocketing 275ft into…

  • Lone Pine, CA / USA - October 19th, 2019: The storefront of the Museum of Western Film History in Lone Pine, near Alabama Hills, CA; Shutterstock ID 1538832260; your: Bridget Brown; gl: 65050; netsuite: Online Editorial; full: POI Image Update

    Museum of Western Film History

    Lone Pine

    More than 400 movies, not to mention numerous commercials (mostly for rugged SUVs and Jeeps), have been shot in the area. This fascinating museum contains…

  • A female hiker scrambles up the mountaineer’s route of Mount Whitney, California on October 3, 2009. Mount Whitney is the highest mountain in the continental United States and stands 14,494 feet tall. Mt Whitney

    Mt Whitney

    Lone Pine

    West of Lone Pine, the jagged incisors of the Sierra surge skyward in all their raw and fierce glory. Cradled by scores of smaller pinnacles, Mt Whitney…

  • Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sierra Nevada, California, United States of America, North America

    Yosemite Falls

    Yosemite National Park

    West of Yosemite Village, Yosemite Falls is considered the tallest waterfall in North America, dropping 2425ft (740m) in three tiers. A slick trail leads…

  • Moro Rock

    Sequoia National Park

    A quarter-mile staircase climbs 350 steps (over 300ft) to the top of Sequoia’s iconic granite dome at an elevation of 6725ft, offering mind-boggling views…

  • General Grant Grove

    Kings Canyon National Park

    This sequoia grove off Generals Hwy is astounding. The paved half-mile General Grant Tree Trail is an interpretive walk that visits a number of mature…

  • Inspiration Point

    Yosemite National Park

    Some of Yosemite's best vistas are granted to those who hike the steep, 1.3-mile trail up to this viewpoint. Inspiration Point used to be a spot along an…

  • Sentinel Dome

    Yosemite National Park

    The hike to Sentinel’s summit (8122ft) is the shortest and easiest trail up one of Yosemite’s granite domes. For those unable to visit Half Dome’s summit,…

  • Devils Postpile National Monument

    Eastern Sierra

    The most fascinating attraction in Reds Meadow is the surreal volcanic formation of Devils Postpile National Monument. The 60ft curtains of near-vertical,…

  • General Sherman Tree

    Sequoia National Park

    By volume the largest living tree on earth, the massive General Sherman Tree rockets into the sky and waaay out of the camera frame. Pay your respects to…

  • Main Meadow

    Yosemite National Park

    Stretching nearly 3 miles from Pothole Dome in the west to Lembert Dome in the east, Tuolumne’s main meadow is beautiful to behold, especially at sunset,…

  • Tenaya Lake

    Yosemite National Park

    Just east of Olmsted Point, the shiny blue surface of Tenaya Lake (8150ft) looks absolutely stunning framed by thick stands of pine and a series of smooth…

  • Convict Lake

    Eastern Sierra

    One of the area’s prettiest lakes, Convict Lake has emerald water embraced by massive peaks. A hike along the gentle trail skirting the lake, through…

  • South Tufa

    Mono Lake Region

    Peculiar-shaped tufa spires ring the shimmering Mono Lake, but the biggest grove is on the southern rim, with a mile-long interpretive trail. The bizarre…

  • Lembert Dome

    Yosemite National Park

    Prominently marking the eastern end of the main meadow, Lembert Dome towers about 800ft above the Tuolumne River. Its summit, which chalks in at 9450ft…

  • Minaret Vista

    Eastern Sierra

    West of the Mammoth Mountain resort, Reds Meadow Valley is one of the most beautiful and varied landscapes in the region. Drive about 1 mile up from the…

  • Mist Falls

    Kings Canyon National Park

    One of the most popular destinations for a day hike from the Cedar Grove area of Kings Canyon, Mist Falls is an Edenic spot, with massive boulders,…

  • Zumwalt Meadow

    Kings Canyon National Park

    This verdant meadow, bordered by the Kings River and soaring granite walls, offers phenomenal views. In the early morning, the air hums with birdsong, the…

  • Rainbow Falls

    Eastern Sierra

    From the Devils Postpile National Monument, a pleasant 2.5-mile hike passing through scorched forest leads to the dramatic Rainbow Falls, where water from…

  • Vernal Fall

    Yosemite National Park

    At one of Yosemite's iconic falls, the thundering waters of the Merced River tumble 317ft down on the way to meet Yosemite Valley below. Mist Trail, the…

  • Sequoia National Forest

    Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

    Bordering long stretches of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, this national forest area, named after the enormous Sequoia trees it contains, was…

  • Eagle View

    Sequoia National Park

    Jaw-dropping spectacular view of the Sierra Mountains. It's reasonably easily accessible via a 1-mile walk along the High Sierra Trail from Crescent…

  • Inyo National Forest

    Eastern Sierra

    An enormous area of nearly 2 million acres of dense forests, high peaks and lakes, as well as nine wilderness areas, Inyo covers a good chunk of…

  • John Muir Wilderness Area

    Eastern Sierra

    Named for the naturalist who devoted much of his life to protecting the Sierra Nevada and Yosemite regions, this wilderness area (around 600,000 acres)…