Giant waterfalls, majestic peaks and epic hiking trails – Yosemite National Park will have you California dreamin’. 

Yosemite National Park is bursting with bucket list activities worthy of any North American adventure. With dramatic mountain ranges, crystal clear lakes, pristine alpine valleys and some of the world's best hiking trails, you’ll get a hearty serving of nature and adventure on our Yosemite tours. Whether you want to go rock climbing up the famous El Capitan, marvel at the ancient sequoia trees (the tallest trees on earth), follow the Mist Trail to the thundering Vernal Falls, or watch the sky turn spectacular shades of pink and purple as the sun sets over Glacier Point, one trip to Yosemite will never be enough. 

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The base of the giant sequoia trees in Mariposa Grove, Yosemite NP

Walk in Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias

Take a magical stroll through Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias to marvel at the tallest trees on earth. Sequoias grow up to a mighty 275 feet (83 m) tall and 30 feet (9 m) in diameter, and Yosemite Valley is the only place in the world where they grow natively. Sequoias are also one of the world's oldest living tree species and the park's oldest tree – the Grizzly Giant – is believed to be around 2000 to 3000 years old. It's impossible not to feel humbled by the presence of some of the world's oldest living things.

The water of Yosemite Falls plunging into the river

Explore Yosemite’s lush waterfalls

Waterfalls are one of the many reasons why travellers fall in love with Yosemite. The park is home to over 25 waterfalls including the magnificent Yosemite Fall (one of the tallest in the world), the dramatic Bridalveil Fall, and the thundering Nevada and Vernal Falls which is nicknamed 'Mother Nature’s giant staircase'. The cascades are at their best between April and June when peak runoff from snowmelt creates powerful bodies of water that tumble at full force. 

A view of the Half Dome summit in Yosemite National Park

Hike the Half Dome trail

Half Dome is one of Yosemite's hardest hikes, but you'll experience what is arguably one of the park's best vistas if you're up for the challenge. The trail might only be 17-miles (27 km), but you gain over 4800 ft (1463 m) in elevation and most hikers need at least 10 hours for the round trip. To reach the summit you need to zig-zag up thousands of steps and climb the steep cliff face known as Half Dome using cables to help you. Every drop of sweat is worth it when you the sweeping, unobstructed views over Yosemite Valley.

A sunset view of Cathedral Lakes, Yosemite National Park

Take a dip in Cathedral Lakes

Most people hike to Cathedral Lakes to enjoy a picturesque picnic. We have a better idea: plunge into the cold, crystal clear water before coming up for air to see the huge steeple-looking peak towering over you. The views – and maybe the cold water – will take your breath away. If swimming in cold water isn’t your thing, follow the 8-mile trail around both Lower and Upper Cathedral Lakes to enjoy the stunning alpine scenery and impressive granite pinnacles reflecting perfectly on the water.

A stunning pink sunset sky at Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park

Watch the sunset at Glacier Point

There are many spots to watch the sunset over Yosemite Valley, but it's hard to beat the views at Glacier Point. After hiking to the summit, watch the cliffs glow like embers as the sky turns into a cotton candy canvas of red, orange, pink and purple. We recommend getting there early to find a good spot as it gets pretty busy. It’s also a magical spot to watch the sunrise over Half Dome if you'd prefer to avoid big crowds.

A view of El Capitan, a giant granite monolith in Yosemite National Park

Climb the El Capitan for epic views

Can you believe Alex Honnold free climbed this 3,000 feet granite monolith without a rope? Watch the documentary Free Solo if you haven’t already. El Capitan is one of the most popular rock climbing spots in Yosemite and is a must for any avid rock climber – or anyone up for a challenge! If you don't fancy scrambling up rocks, there are multiple trails around the base of El Capitan that offer incredible views of this sheer granite cliff.

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Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy

Yosemite is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of central California, USA.

It takes about four hours to drive to Yosemite from San Francisco and three hours from Sacramento. Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) provides a public bus service with various pickup and drop off points. You can also catch a train from San Diego, Los Angeles, Fresno, San Francisco, San Jose, and Sacramento to Merced/Riverbank which connects with the YARTS bus service directly to Yosemite Valley.  

The closest airport to Yosemite is the Fresno-Yosemite International Airport (FAT). Other airports within driving distance of the park are San Francisco International Airport (SFO), San Jose International Airport (SJC) and Oakland International Airport (OAK). 

As Yosemite is so big, the best way to get around the park and access the main trails is by car. There is a free daily shuttle bus every 10-20 mins with 19 stops throughout the Yosemite Valley, but having a car gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace. 

Yosemite has a huge number of visitors during the summer months with the peak season from June and August. The best time to visit is late spring, later summer and early fall when the park isn’t too crowded. Winter is also a great time to visit with fewer visitors, great hiking opportunities and stunning views of the snow-capped mountains. 

You can expect to see many different animal species in Yosemite including American Black Bears, Mule Deer, Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep, Coyotes, Bobcats, Sierra Fence Lizards, Garter Snakes, Northern Pygmy Owls and more. Keep an eye out for animal tracks when you’re out hiking. 

The weather in Yosemite is seasonal but it can vary greatly from year to year. Spring is generally quite cool with sunny skies and the occasional downpour of rain; summer is consistently sunny with warm to hot temperatures; fall is still warm with cool nights; and winter is cold with frost, ice and snow.  

Read more about the weather in Yosemite

If you go during the summer make sure to bring t-shirts, shorts/skirts, hiking socks and boots, hiking trousers, a waterproof/windproof jacket, sunhat, sunglasses, daypack, a water bottle, sunscreen and insect repellent.  

For winter trips bring light layers, warm clothes, a fleece, thermal underwear/leggings, a waterproof winter coat, waterproof hiking boots/shoes, gloves, a hat, a daypack, sunglasses, sunscreen and a water bottle. 

Read more about what to pack for Yosemite


Cell phones work near major tourist hubs such as Yosemite Valley, but the service can be weak and unreliable. There is limited or no cell phone service in more remote areas of the park such as hiking trails and high-altitude viewpoints.   

Yosemite is very accessible for people with disabilities with disabled parking and wheelchair accessible trails for most sites. They can also arrange American Sign Language interpretation for ranger talks during the summer months. Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries. 

Learn more about Accessible Travel with Intrepid

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