Yosemite National Park encompasses a spectacular tract of mountain-and-valley scenery in the Sierra Nevada. The park harbors a grand collection of waterfalls, meadows, and forests that include groves of giant sequoias, a wealth of wildlife and serene gem-hued lakes. Yosemite's best-known landmark is awe-inspiring (and oft-photographed) Half Dome, a massive granite rock face that rises dramatically out of a lush glacially-carved valley.
There's far more to Yosemite than Half Dome though, as visitors who venture off the paved roads will quickly discover. Hundreds of miles of trails can be explored on foot, horseback, or, in winter, cross country skis or snowshoes; primitive camping offers multi-day access to the remote corners of the park for those who don't mind hauling in a few necessities. A grove of giant sequoias can be found near the less-visited South Entrance; the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in the equally uncrowded north portion of the park is another little-known attraction. Off-season visitors can experience the wonder of snow-dappled cliffs or the brisk clear skies of spring short the busloads that descend during summer months, the best time to snap Ansel Adams worthy pictures without stray heads to block your panoramic shots.