Yosemite National Park in California spans 1,200 square miles, boasting waterfalls, meadows, valleys, and more. Of course, the more time you have here, the better, but there’s plenty to see and do in just one day if you plan in advance.
Hiking is unsurprisingly the most popular activity at Yosemite National Park, with tons of trails to choose from in all areas, including Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows. There are also 12 miles of bike paths. If hiking and biking isn’t for you, explore the park by car as well, on one of the auto roads that wind through the park. Head up to Glacier Point, where you’ll be rewarded with a gorgeous panoramic view of the entire park.
An essential stop for any first-time visitor. Not only does it provide countless Instagram opportunities — thanks to its striking appearance — but you’ll get a great look at many beautiful parts of Yosemite from here as well. Tunnel View is accessible from the South as you’re heading towards Yosemite Valley, but you can also head about a mile uphill from the Bridalveil parking lot to see it as well.
This one is also a must-visit. At over 2,400 feet, the falls are made up of Upper Yosemite Fall and Lower Yosemite Fall. You’ll want to access the falls by shuttle, as the hike to them will take up the entire day. If you have time, make sure to check out Bridalveil Fall, which is the tallest waterfall along the southern rim of the park. Fortunately, the hike to the base of the fall is fairly short, and definitely worth doing.
You’ve surely heard of the giant Sequoia trees that the park is famous for, and you can see them up close at Mariposa Grove, the most popular area to admire them. Don’t miss the California Tunnel Tree and the Grizzly Giant.
Hungry? Don’t forget to fuel up during you whirlwind day! Many day-trippers pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at one of the many spots around the park.
April through October is peak season, so consider visiting at another time of the year to avoid crazy crowds.