Often when we think of Yosemite, the sights of Yosemite Valley come to mind - with good reason, as three-quarters of visitors flock to this small section of the national park and its famous landmarks like Half Dome and El Capitan. But for those few who venture into the park's other areas, additional scenic beauty can be enjoyed.
North of Yosemite Valley, the Hetch Hetchy Entrance
leads to Hetch Hetchy Reservoir
, a massive lake created when Yosemite Valley's twin valley was submerged under the Tuolumne River by the creation of O'Shaughnessy Dam
Traveling along the historic Tioga Road east, you can enjoy a sweeping view of glacial history from Olmsted Point before passing the sapphire waters of Tenaya Lake.
The Tioga Road continues to Tuolumne Meadows, a picturesque region known as the heart of Yosemite's high country. This less-developed area of the park includes a small visitor center to guide you to the best sights, like Lembert Dome and its panoramic valley view.
Below the dome, the winding Tuolumne River
has spent centuries creating sweeping mountain meadows waiting to be enjoyed. Amid the meadows, stop by Soda Springs
to watch these naturally carbonated waters bubble to the surface.
The area south of Yosemite Valley is equally alluring. Here the historic Wawona Hotel
is a great base for a variety of activities. Learn more about the park's early days at the Pioneer Yosemite History Center
with its historic buildings and living history demonstrations.
This area is also home to the Mariposa Grove of Big Trees, a forest of giant sequoias representing thousands of years of the park's history. An open-air tram provides easy access to the area's sights, like the fallen Wawona Tunnel Tree, the Grizzly Giant and the Mariposa Grove Museum.
From the tram stops, easy trails provide close-up access to other giants, like the California Tunnel Tree, the naturally carved Clothespin Tree and the hollow Telescope Tree. And be sure to hike to the Wawona Point Vista for a spectacular view from nearly 7,000 feet.
There's no doubt the scenery of Yosemite's other sides is made only more spectacular by how few visitors take the time to visit the exquisite areas. Let this desktop getaway whet your appetite and plan to include the Other Yosemite in your next trip to Yosemite National Park.