It's no secret that I'm in love with Yosemite. The views and hikes never get old and the park can look completely different on a day-to-day basis. Yosemite is the epitome of nature showing off.
Jesse and I just got engaged in Yosemite in February, so I thought it would be perfect timing to share some of our favorite winter views in the park that are super easily accessible. These views are honestly beautiful year-round, but they are that much more special when the clouds are right and the snow is out.
Truth be told, every inch of Yosemite is gorgeous, but here are some places you can wow your friends with photos of:
Quick note: if you don't already have it, you'll need this map.
#1 - Stoneman Bridge
This view is one of my favorites in the Valley and now it will forever remain in my heart since it's the spot we got engaged at! The view of Half Dome from this bridge is unrivaled (from the Valley Floor) with the Merced River and alpine trees looming in the foreground.
How to get there: Drive along Southside Drive toward Curry Village. After passing the Housekeeping Camp, you'll arrive at a 3-way stop sign. Turn left and drive over the bridge. This is Stoneman Bridge. You'll find a parking lot on your left shortly after crossing the bridge.
#2 - Valley View
At the tail end of Northside Drive there's a lesser-visited spot known as "Valley View". At certain times of the day you could be the only one enjoying the view of El Cap and Bridal Veil Falls dueling for your attention.
How to get there: You can find it on the official National Park map - drive along Northside Drive toward Pohono Bridge. After passing El Capitan, look for a small parking lot on your left.
#3 - The Cathedral Spires
This spot is quickly becoming one of my favorites because the Cathedral Spires are so photogenic. Come during sunset on a sunny day, or anytime on a cloudy day, to have these snow capped mountains blow your socks off.
How to get there: Drive along Northside Drive toward El Capitan. After passing Camp 4, you'll continue to pass several pull-offs and picnic areas before coming to an intersection with El Capitan Bridge. Pull off immediately after the bridge next to the open field. If you're coming from Southside Drive, take the first left after the view of El Capitan. You'll cross the Merced River and then a field on your left. Park there.
#4 - Lower Yosemite Falls
Lower Yosemite Falls is especially gorgeous in the winter because the falls are extra heavy and the mountains are snow-capped.
How to get there: Park along Northside Drive near the Lower Yosemite Falls bus stop. Walk toward the bathrooms and continue straight on the paved path. Make a right on the path and behold the most incredible view of the falls you will find.
#5 - Just Before Tunnel View
Tunnel View is already well-known as a tourist favorite and while it is definitely a place you must stop in the winter, I wanted to focus on some other areas that may not be immediately obvious. Just before you get to Tunnel View, there's an area to turn off with incredible views of Half Dome. The Valley seems very narrow from this perspective, which makes an incredible photo because the mountains force a stunning frame.
How to get there: Drive on Wawona Road toward Yosemite Valley. Just before the tunnel, you'll see a pull-off area on the left with a stone railing. Pull over for a gorgeous view of Half Dome.