This geologic marvel, a 4,000-foot/1,220-meter-deep trough lined by towering cliffs and glacially sculpted, polished rock, is the prized jewel of Yosemite National Park. Although glacially carved valleys with similar features exist elsewhere in the world, none can compete with what legendary naturalist John Muir called “Incomparable Valley.”
"Take a seat to watch the setting sun cast its rosy glow on world-famous Half Dome"
Besides it’s natural beauty, Yosemite Valley is home to black bears, mule deer, and chipmunks—along with several hundred year-round park employees and thousands of visitors throughout the year. Newcomers may be surprised to find Yosemite Valley has a dentist’s office, jail, courtroom, auto garage, and church, as well as the more expected mix of lodgings, campgrounds, restaurants, and other guest services. For visitors, there’s no shortage of things to do. Organized activities run the gamut from ranger-led nature walks to evening theater, from ice skating to photography seminars, from Indian basket making to rock climbing lessons and river rafting. To create your own adventure, set out on one of dozens of hiking trails, pedal paved bike paths to Mirror Lake and other sites, or just take a seat to watch the setting sun cast its rosy glow on world-famous Half Dome.