The indelible images of Yosemite National Park made famous by the photographer Ansel Adams in the early 20th century still pale in comparison to the real thing.
A half-day’s drive from both San Francisco and Los Angeles, Yosemite cuts a wide swath through the Central Sierra Nevada, characterized by grand views, hidden waterfalls, glacial lakes and boulder fields. A backpacker's paradise and a rock climber's mecca, the park offers innumerable options for adventurers and casual naturalists alike. Yosemite Valley, home to iconic features such as Half Dome and El Capitan, covers less than 1 percent of the park but is the most widely visited. Accommodations range from basic campsites to the grand Château du Sureau (located outside the park) to a National Historic Landmark, The Ahwahnee.