Must-see attractions in Yosemite & the Sierra Nevada

  • Roaring River Falls

    Kings Canyon National Park

    A five-minute walk on a paved trail (0.3 miles) leads to one of the park’s most accessible waterfalls, a 40ft chute gushing into a granite bowl. In late…

  • Grant Grove Village

    Kings Canyon National Park

    About 3 miles northeast of the park’s Big Stump Entrance, Grant Grove Village is the park’s main tourist hub year-round, with lodge and cabin…

  • Yosemite Museum

    Yosemite National Park

    The Yosemite Museum has Miwok and Paiute artifacts, including woven baskets, beaded buckskin dresses and dance capes made from feathers. Native American…

  • Soda Springs

    Yosemite National Park

    Above the north shore of the Tuolumne River, carbonated mineral water burbles silently out of Soda Springs, a small natural spring that turns its…

  • The Ahwahnee Hotel

    Yosemite National Park

    About a quarter-mile east of Yosemite Village, The Ahwahnee is a picture of rustic elegance, dating back to 1927. You don’t need to be a…

  • Panoramic Point

    Kings Canyon National Park

    For a breathtaking view of Kings Canyon, head 2.3 miles up narrow, steep and winding Panoramic Point Rd (trailers and RVs aren’t recommended), which…

  • Hope Valley Wildlife Area

    Yosemite & the Sierra Nevada

    Panoramic Hope Valley, ringed by Sierra Nevada peaks that may remain dusted with snow even in early summer, is home to wildflowers, meadows and burbling…

  • Buck Rock Fire Lookout

    Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

    Built in 1923 and staffed during the wildfire season, this fire lookout is one of the finest restored watchtowers you could ever hope to visit. A total of…

  • Parsons Memorial Lodge

    Yosemite National Park

    This simple but beautifully rugged cabin was built in 1915 from local granite. It initially served as a Sierra Club meeting room and was named for Edward…

  • Cedar Grove

    Kings Canyon National Park

    Cedar Grove, at the bottom of Kings Canyon, is the last outpost of civilization before you reach the rugged grandeur of the Sierra Nevada backcountry. The…

  • Tunnel Log

    Sequoia National Park

    Visitors can drive through a 2000-year-old tree, which fell naturally in 1937. It once stood 275ft high with a base measuring 21ft in diameter. Regular…

  • Muir Rock

    Kings Canyon National Park

    On excursions to Kings Canyon, John Muir would allegedly give talks on this large, flat river boulder, a short walk from the Road's End parking lot and…

  • Mariposa Museum & History Center

    Yosemite & the Sierra Nevada

    Mariposa's past comes alive, well, as much as possible considering the fairly fusty objects displayed in this museum. Menus, logbooks, train tickets,…

  • Happy Isles

    Yosemite National Park

    Where the Merced River courses around two small islands lies Happy Isles, a popular area for picnics, swimming and strolls on marked paths and a small…

  • Knapp’s Cabin

    Kings Canyon National Park

    During the 1920s, wealthy Santa Barbara businessman George Knapp built this simple wood-shingled cabin to store gear in during his extravagant fishing and…

  • Pothole Dome

    Yosemite National Park

    Pothole Dome marks the western end of Tuolumne Meadows. It’s small by Yosemite standards, but the short, 200ft climb to the top offers great views of the…

  • Monarch Wilderness Area

    Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

    A stunning wilderness area 44,000 acres in size and bisected by the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway (Hwy 180). Monarch includes dramatic, high-elevation alpine…

  • Hume Lake Recreation Area

    Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

    When it was dammed in 1908, this 87-acre artificial lake powered a huge log flume that whisked sequoias harvested in Converse Basin to a mill more than 70…

  • Ribbon Falls

    Yosemite National Park

    At 1600 ft, Ribbon Falls, only seen from the west side of El Capitan, is the highest single drop falls in North America. There's no signage and no real…

  • Wawona Swinging Bridge

    Yosemite National Park

    Metal cables anchored to boulders on both ends of this 40 ft span over the South Fork of the Merced River keep the wobbling relatively light. Nice spot…

  • Stoneman Bridge

    Yosemite National Park

    An iconic spot, both as a perfect foreground structure for photos of Half Dome in the distance and for its simple, elegant single-arch stone design over…

  • Rainbow Pool

    Yosemite & the Sierra Nevada

    About 15 miles east of Groveland, in the Stanislaus National Forest, Rainbow Pool is a popular swimming hole with a small cascade; it's signed on the…

  • Wapama Falls

    Yosemite National Park

    These falls, on the north side of the Hetch Hetchy reservoir, fall more than 1000ft and are a worthy destination for a 5-mile round-trip hike from the O…

  • Panorama Gondola

    Mammoth Lakes

    Year round, a vertiginous gondola whisks sightseers to the apex of Mammoth Mountain for breathless views of snow-speckled mountaintops. Leaves from near…

  • Giant Sequoia National Monument

    Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

    Created in 2000 and administered by the US Forest service, the Giant Sequoia National Monument includes two sections of protected forest totaling over 328…

  • Washburn Point

    Yosemite National Park

    On the way to Glacier Point, less than a mile away, this viewpoint faces east toward the Clark Range, so no sweeping view of Yosemite Valley. Still,…

  • Grizzly Falls

    Kings Canyon National Park

    The base of these 80ft falls is a short walk from Hwy 180, about 4 miles west of Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon. There's a picnic area here with bathrooms.

  • Tueeulala Falls

    Yosemite National Park

    These falls, pronounced twee-lala, drop more than 1000ft over a sheer granite cliff on the north side of the Hetch Hetchy reservoir.

  • Lyell Canyon

    Yosemite National Park

    This lovely canyon, which includes a section that is part of the John Muir Trail, follows the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River.

  • McGurk Meadow

    Yosemite National Park

    Lush wildflower-strewn meadow with a historic log cabin. Makes for a nice, leisurely stroll.

  • Sentinel Bridge

    Yosemite National Park

    This bridge over the Merced River has fantastic views of Half Dome and Yosemite Falls.

  • Valley View

    Yosemite National Park

    Views of El Capitan and Bridalveil Fall can be had from this valley-floor turnout.

  • Dewey Point Lookout

    Yosemite National Park

    There are panoramic views of Yosemite Valley from this 7385ft ridge lookout.

  • Hospital Rock

    Sequoia National Park

    The Potwisha people, a band of Monache (also known as Western Mono), originally lived at this site. When the first white settler, Hale Tharp, arrived in…

  • Tunnel Rock

    Sequoia National Park

    In the 1930s, no one anticipated the development of monster SUVs. About 1.5 miles north of the Foothills Visitor Center, a flat granite boulder on the…

  • Pioneer Yosemite History Center

    Yosemite National Park

    Off Wawona Rd, about 6 miles north of Mariposa Grove, you can take in the manicured grounds of the elegant Big Trees Lodge and cross a covered bridge to…

  • California State Mining & Mineral Museum

    Yosemite & the Sierra Nevada

    Rock hounds should drive to the Mariposa County Fairgrounds, 2 miles south of town on Hwy 49, to see the 13lb ‘Fricot Nugget’ (the largest crystallized…

  • Three Rivers Historical Museum

    Sequoia National Park

    Holds a small collection of local ranching, mining and domestic artifacts, as well as an archive of historical photographs and newspaper clippings. The…

  • Yosemite Community Church

    Yosemite National Park

    Built in 1879, this chapel is Yosemite’s oldest structure that still remains in use, including for weddings. In 1885, President Ulysses Grant's memorial…

  • Wolverton Meadow

    Sequoia National Park

    On the northern side of the Giant Forest, Wolverton Meadow is at an elevation of 7250ft. It has picnic tables, hiking trailheads and a winter snow-play…