When it comes to natural landscapes, Yosemite National Park is one of California’s most formidable options. This area makes up more than 1,200 square miles of amazing natural wonders including daunting cliffs, old Sequoia trees, towering waterfalls, and some of the most unique rock formations in the entire U.S.

Half Dome

However, while this area is quite large, most of the tourist activity occurs in the eight square mile area of the Yosemite Valley. This is where you will find all the most well-known landmarks of Yosemite, including El Capitan and Half Dome. It is also where you will find amazing hiking trails and where climbing lessons are available for visitors. A side note here: a man climbed Half Dome last year without any harness of any kind. It was a free climb. There is Netflix video of the climb. It is remarkable.

Even hikers who are brand new to hitting the trails can find something that accommodates their abilities at Yosemite. Here there are climbing lessons and guided tours. Like many of the other tourist destinations in the U.S., it is important to remember that one of the main obstacles to having a great time is the crowds. In fact, it is estimated that more than four million people visit per year. However, if you go at the right time and start your day earlier than most people, you will get to enjoy all the Mother Nature has to offer.

It is best to visit the Yosemite area between the months of May and September when it is easy to access all parts of the park. However, there are many trails that are closed for much of the year since snow may move in as early as October and stick around until March. Be sure to plan your trip accordingly.

To experience all this area has to offer, be sure to consider roughing it and camp in the park with your own tent. Also, avoid visiting in the peak of the summer, as this is the busiest time of year.