The best photography spots in Yosemite national park are not hard to find and well worth the trip. Exploring National Parks is one of the best ways to enjoy untouched and well-preserved, natural landscapes across the United States. National parks are areas of public land that are set aside specifically for the native flora and fauna. In addition to wildlife, these protected nature areas help protect water sources and stabilize surrounding land to prevent floods, landslides, erosion, etc.
Yosemite National Park is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. This area is well-known for ancient sequoia trees and breathtaking views of cliffs, waterfalls, and mountains. While visiting at sunrise and sunset gives you the best chance at capturing some amazing shots, this park has plenty of great photo spots you can visit for beautiful photos at any time. Here is a list of places to stop while exploring Yosemite. These are Best Photography Spots in Yosemite National Park.
The gear we recommend is a good camera and the holy trinity. A wide-angle lens. 14-24mm or something similar. A 24-70mm or something similar and, of course, a 70-200mm or something similar.
If you do not have these particular lenses, do not worry; something similar will be just fine. It would be best if you also had a tripod.
Best Photography Spots in Yosemite National Park
1. Taft Point
Taft Point is probably the most famous photography location in the park. This location gives you spectacular views of the entire park with cliff-edge lookout points that give you up-close perspectives of the famed El Capitan. Visit at sunrise during the off-season to avoid the crowds. Us a wide-angle lens.
2. Glacier Point
Glacier Point gives you incredible views of Half Dome and the valley below. This lookout point is less than half a mile from the trailhead, making it an easy place to visit early in the morning. Sunrise during the spring and summer is the best time to photograph these beautiful mountains. The best lens to use is a wide-angle or a 24-70mm lens.
3. El Capitan
El Capitan isn’t just a towering mountain face in Yosemite Park, it’s also the spot that offers great views of the mountain climbers making their way up the Nose. The massive granite rocks catch the light beautifully at sunrise and sunset and can be viewed from many valleys and fields in the park. Use a zoom lens for a great shot.
4. Clouds Rest
The summit at Clouds Rest is a good spot to go to get some beautiful sunrise photos. There’s a decent walk up to the summit, but ask any park ranger and you’ll quickly find out that this is one of their favorite trails in the entire park. Use a wide-angle lens to get the wow shot of this stunning views.
5. Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Falls is one of the waterfalls in the park that has water year-round. The trail is a short hike away from the base of the waterfall and you’re able to grab good photo opportunities from multiple angles. Spring and summer are when the water flow is at its highest. Stop by right before sunset to catch the best lighting. Use a zoom lens to get a shot like the one below.
6. Vernal Falls
Vernal falls is the most famous out of all the waterfalls in Yosemite Park. These falls look incredible in the springtime as the water is full and pumping. While catching the falls from the top can be difficult, there are multiple photo opportunities on the hike up. Use a zoom lens to get a close up shot or a wide to get the entire waterfall.
7. Tunnel View
This is one of the most visited spots in Yosemite Park for those looking to take in the vast expanse of the Sierra Nevada mountains. This spot gives you views of El Capitan, Half Dome, and Bridal Veil Falls which helps you orient yourself around the park. Visit in the late afternoon to avoid the glare of the sun. The best lens to use is a 24-70mm lens. This is one of our favorite shots on the Best Photography Spots in Yosemite National Park list.
8. Half Dome
Half Dome is a half-day, roundtrip hike but well worth the time and effort. This is one of the most recognizable formations in the entire park, visible from any location in Yosemite.
There are quite a few viewing points options around the national park, the best thing to do is to look out for half done when you are shooting all the other locations. This place is visible just about everywhere and they all make for amazing shots. The best lens to use is a zoom lens.
9. Valley View
Valley View has a large, slow-moving river at the base of mountains such as El Capitan. This means plenty of opportunities for beautiful reflection shots. Simply follow the road and stop on the side when you have a nice backdrop. Head here around sunset to find some magnificent views even on cloudy days. The best lens to use is a wide-angle lens.
10. Yosemite Falls
Yosemite Falls is made up of the Lower and Upper Falls and can be shot from a variety of locations around the park. The Lower Falls are easier to reach by foot and is not only a great sight on their own but a good location to situate yourself to capture shots of other views and waterfalls in the park. The best lens to use is a wide-angle lens.
11. Three Brothers
These three granite peaks are positioned right in the center of the park’s valley. They look beautiful in the winter after a snowstorm or even at sunset. Head to Sentinel Beach to catch the best views of this series of mountains. The best lens to use is a wide.
12. Mariposa Grove
This grove is home to the many ancient sequoia trees that have been in the park for thousands of years. Early morning light is the best for taking pictures of Mariposa Grove but any time of the day that offers good cloud cover also works well. The best lens to use is a wide-angle lens.
13. Mono Lake
You can easily spend a day or two capturing photos at Mono Lake. There is a gorgeous body of water that gives rise to tufa towers created by mineral deposits in the lake. Sunrise is usually the recommended time to visit. The best lens to use is a wide-angle lens.
14. Mirror Lake
Visit the lake early in the spring before the water has dried up or frozen over to get a special view of Half Dome reflected in the clear waters of Mirror Lake. Early morning is the best time to photograph the lake to get that amazing reflection in the still waters. The best lens to use is a wide-angle lens.
15. North Dome
North Dome is one of the best photography spots in the park and is easier to get to than the famed Half Dome. The trail takes you through the woods and brings you to a breathtaking lookout point. You will be able to see Half Dome and Clouds Rest from here.
16. Tuolumne Grove
Ginormous sequoia trees fill Tuolumne Grove. The hiking trail is easy and smooth which allows you to focus on capturing pictures of the beautiful trees. There are many that reach high into the skies as well as fallen ones that you can crawl through. The best lens to use is a wide-angle lens.
17. Merced River
The Merced River flows through the heart of Yosemite Valley and highlights many of the park’s mountains and valleys. Find pictures of water reflections of the peaks or dogwood flowers along the banks of the river. The best lens to use is a wide-angle lens.
18. Yosemite Firefall
The Yosemite Firefall is an amazing site that occurs mid-February of each year when the sun hits the valley at the right angle. The sunlight causes the Horsetail Fall to glow bright orange and yellow. Conditions have to be near perfect to capture this shot but those that are prepared and patient will walk away with truly magical photos. The best lens to use is a zoom lens.
19. Washburn Point
Washburn Point is where most people will catch their first glimpse of the massive Yosemite Valley and the infamous Half Dome. The road to this viewpoint can be closed sometimes due to weather but when conditions allow, spring is the best time to visit this vantage point. The best lens to use is a 24-70 or an ultra-wide.
20. Swinging Bridge
Swinging Bridge is a pretty popular destination in the national park. This bridge offers views of the Merced River and is also a frequently visited spot for those looking to cool down in the water. The best time to visit is early spring or summer when the wildflowers are beginning to bloom along the trail. The best lens to use is a wide-angle lens.
21. Cascade Falls
Also known as The Cascades, this series of waterfalls flow through a dense forest area of Yosemite. Don’t underestimate the small tumbling falls because eventually the plunge into the Merced River from a 500-foot waterfall.
These are the Best Photography Spots in Yosemite National Park
If you enjoyed the list, please leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Feel free to stick around and check out our other photography guides. Please remember to check back as we are continually updating our guides.