Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is one of the most iconic national parks in the United States. Located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, the park is most recognized for the view of El Capitan and Half Dome. The park also has giant sequoia trees and jaw-dropping views of Bridalveil Fall.

Photography Tips for Yosemite

Here are some top tips from the incredible photographer, Marlies Hartmann, on Yosemite photography.

  1. If you want to visit Taft Point or Glacier Point, the access road is closed until 2023. The current option is a 9 mile strenuous hike, so unless you’re up for the challenge, it is probably worth waiting!
  2. During peak season (beginning in May), you will need a reservation to enter the park. Don’t expect any waterfalls in the fall/winter. If you have a valley hotel/campsite booked, you don’t need a reservation.
  3. Parking is difficult, so expect to park in a lot and then take a shuttle to get around.
  4. There are only a few hotels/accommodations inside the park. It is about an hour drive from the entrance to the park to the valley, so make sure you factor in that additional time.
  5. The roads in and out of the park are not for the faint of stomach! If you get motion sickness easily you might want to speak with your doctor about any options that can help.
  6. My favorite spot for shooting is Taft Point (open in 2023), but there is also Tunnel View, Glacier Point (open 2023), lower Yosemite falls, mirror lake, and the meadows that allow for stunning views, easy walks, and the opportunity to see wildlife (so far I’ve seen lots of deer and even a bear)!
  7. Mariposa Grove is an easy/medium 2 mile hike up to a grove of Sequoia trees, located near the entrance of the park. The grove is currently under construction which hindered views at the top, but the hike itself was beautiful and great for families that want an easy hike with an adventurous feel.
  8. If you want to stay in the valley, the Ahwahnee is a beautiful, historic hotel with stunning views and an incredible dining room that feels straight out of Hogwarts. Rooms are not cheap, but they allow visitors and if the dining room isn’t busy they allow non hotel guests to dine. I personally recommend lunch as you have menu options and not just the expensive buffet.
  9. Sunrise is so worth it!! Plan at least one morning at Tunnel View for sunrise and arrive early as you will have other visitors staking their spot. Be sure to bring extra layers as it gets very cold in the morning!
  10. Leave no trace. Yosemite is such a magical place… Let’s please keep it that way!

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