A toddler with a flip phone camera could capture some pretty incredible photos in Yosemite National Park. It is just that picturesque! But if you want to shoot some of Yosemite’s most postcard-worthy shots, you’ll want to put these viewpoints on your itinerary.
Yosemite’s most well-known rock formation, Half Dome, is truly a sight to behold. This massive rock is perfectly flat on one side and rounded on the other three looking like a dome that was masterfully sliced in two. The iconic photo that you’ll find on postcards & keychains in the gift shop is captured at Washburn Point. You can also take a walk around the Glacier Point amphitheater or the Panorama Trail to find amazing, unobstructed views. For a less traditional photo, head to Olmsted Point on the other side of Half Dome to see the rounded edges of this iconic rock.
Yosemite is home to numerous waterfalls, with the namesake Yosemite Falls being the largest and therefore one of the most popular. Yosemite Falls plummets 2,425 ft. off a rocky cliff and is most prominent in the winter and early spring months. You’ll be able to see snippets of the falls from the road, but if you can, make the trek on one of the hikes leading up to the falls. The sheer size only becomes more apparent as you approach the falls.
Overhanging Rock at Glacier Point
For the adventurous spirits looking to stand on top of the world, head to Glacier Point. Many people know this point for the amphitheater and the great view of the Half Dome, but at the northern edge of the loop, you’ll find a rock jetting out over the valley below. You can walk out on the rock and get this daring photo that looks too crazy to be true!
Yosemite Tunnel View
Every first-time visitor to the park remembers the moment when they first see the Yosemite Valley. Green trees cover the floor of the valley while larger-than-life rock cliffs line the edges. You’ll notice the face of El Capitan on the left side of the valley. Bring binoculars to see if you can spot any colorful climbers. Whether it’s raining, sunny, or even snowing out, this view is always a jaw dropper. Pull off the road at Tunnel View for this classic snapshot of the valley.
Yosemite Valley View
It’s incredible what a couple hundred feet of elevation gain can do to perspective. Drop down into the floor of the valley to capture the same magnificent cliffs from the Valley View lookout spot. Capture a perfect reflection in the waters of the Merced River. There’s a little footpath along the river and lots of places to sit back and take in the sights. This is a popular spot to watch the sun light up the valley in the morning, enjoy a picnic lunch, or capture the golden hour after sunset.
Horsetail Falls is another popular waterfall, but for only a few weeks a year, this spot becomes one of the most desirable places in the park. Thousands of photographers patiently wait for the sun to set, casting a special glow onto the falls making them appear like they are on fire. A fire fall is not guaranteed either, a passing cloud or overcast day could block the sun. Seeing and capturing the moment is truly magical. There are dozens of viewpoints to see the falls. Set up anywhere between the El Capitan picnic area and Yosemite Falls to get a stunning photo.
Blackberry Inn Bed & Breakfast
Great views don’t have to start after you enter the park. Stay at the Blackberry Inn Bed & Breakfast located 12 miles from the north gate entrance to Yosemite and wake up each morning to the sounds of nature and views galore. Sip your morning coffee on your private patio or cozy up after a long day of sightseeing with a glass of locally made wine by the fire. This picturesque retreat is a photographer’s dream.
Yosemite National Park may be implementing various restrictions during your stay. Make sure to check on the official website for the latest updates and notices on the park. Many of these picturesque viewpoints are popular during the day so if you want the whole place to yourself, plan a sunrise outing to catch the morning golden hour.