Yosemite National Park is one of California's most spectacular tourist attractions. From the famed Half Dome seen in black & white photos taken by Ansel Adams, to the amazing hotels such as Ahwahnee Hotel, set to the backdrop of sheer cliffs, there's no place like it on earth. Inspiring, breath-taking and truly unforgettable, the seasons offer strikingly different scenery.
Summers are the most popular time to visit and hike the trails, watch the waterfalls, and drive through the twisting valley floor. Winter on the other hand, often provides blanketed snow views that cover everything in a white coat and places a mystic look and feel on the landscape.
Even in the winter there are plenty of tourists and lots of beauty to explore. Bracedbridge Dinner in the winter is an annual tradition featuring a musical comedy set to a dining experience in the Ahwahnee Hotel dining room. It's an event not to be missed for those who cherish holidays and rituals that bring meaning.
While there are limited hotel accommodations inside the park and the most affordable Yosemite Lodge at the Falls is often sold out in the summer, don't overlook a beautiful just outside the gate, Tenaya Lodge in Fish Camp.
One of the most spectacular things to see when visiting Yosemite National Park (and there are many) is the waterfalls. They reach their peak in May but can be seen all year long, actually.
For first-timers, be sure to take the bus tour around the Yosemite Valley to get an overview of the highlights, and also learn the history of the area. The drivers are well-informed and provide non-stop information as you cruise along looking at the scenery. The bus normally stops at some of the famous look-out points so you can take pictures. The bus leaves near the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls or nearby so you can easily catch a ride from your hotel.