Where to Stay in Yosemite Valley: Top Picks for a Memorable Trip


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Yosemite Valley, nestled within the mesmerizing Yosemite National Park, offers a stunning array of lodging options for visitors who wish to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the surroundings. With majestic views, captivating trails, and awe-inspiring waterfalls, this national treasure is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. To make the most of your trip, it’s crucial to find the perfect home base to recharge and relax after a day of exploration.

One popular lodging choice in the heart of the park is The Ahwahnee, known for its historic charm and luxurious amenities. For a more budget-friendly option, consider staying at the Yosemite Valley Lodge, offering cozy accommodations and close proximity to Yosemite Falls. Meanwhile, Curry Village provides unique glamping-style canvas tents, giving you a taste of camping without sacrificing comfort.

Did you know that Yosemite National Park has more than 800 miles of hiking trails? No matter which lodging option you choose, you’ll be steps away from world-class recreational activities, including rock climbing, stargazing, birdwatching, and horseback riding. With a plethora of things to do and see, your stay in Yosemite Valley will undoubtedly create memories that last a lifetime.

Types of Accommodations

Yosemite Valley offers a variety of accommodations to suit different preferences and budgets. In this section, we will explore some of the options available, including lodges, cabins, campsites, and hotels.


Lodges in Yosemite Valley provide a comfortable and rustic experience. One notable option is the Yosemite Valley Lodge, located near the base of Yosemite Falls. It offers several dining options and easy access to popular destinations and is open year-round. Another historic option is the Wawona Hotel, a Victorian-style lodge in the southern part of the park near the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. It is open seasonally.


For those who prefer a more private and cozy stay, cabins in Yosemite can be an excellent choice. These accommodations often feature floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the surrounding forests and sometimes include luxurious amenities such as custom-carved stone bathtubs as mentioned by Condé Nast Traveler. Cabins can be found in various locations within and around the park, offering diverse options for travelers.


Camping enthusiasts will find a range of campsites in Yosemite Valley. The park offers several campgrounds with varying levels of amenities and accessibility. Some are open year-round, while others are seasonal. Many campgrounds require reservations, so it is essential to plan ahead, especially during peak seasons when demand is high.


Hotels in Yosemite Valley and nearby areas provide more conventional and comfortable accommodation options. One of the most luxurious options is the Ahwahnee Hotel, formerly known as the Majestic Yosemite Hotel. It is an elegant choice for those who prefer a more sophisticated stay.

Fun Fact or Interesting Story

Did you know that the Ahwahnee Hotel’s dining room served as the inspiration for the grand ballroom in Stanley Kubrick’s famous movie “The Shining”? The hotel’s distinctive interior design and history make it a popular destination for both overnight guests and day visitors.

Things to do

Yosemite Valley offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors, including exploring the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, hiking to Yosemite Falls, enjoying breathtaking views from Glacier Point, stargazing at night, rock climbing, and wildlife watching. With accommodations catering to various preferences and budgets, Yosemite Valley is a perfect destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Popular Areas to Stay

Yosemite Village

Yosemite Village is the heart of Yosemite National Park and offers a variety of accommodations, from luxurious lodges to rustic tent cabin options. Staying here will give you easy access to iconic attractions like Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, and El Capitan. Some popular options include Yosemite Valley Lodge, Curry Village, and The Ahwahnee. Keep in mind, however, that hotel rates in Yosemite Village can be high and booking in advance is highly recommended.

Things to do:

  • Explore the Yosemite Valley Loop Trail
  • Visit the Ansel Adams Gallery
  • Take a scenic drive up Glacier Point Road


Wawona is a charming, historic community located within the park boundaries. This area is known for its serene atmosphere, scenic beauty, and the iconic Wawona Hotel. Here, you’ll find more affordable lodging options in the form of vacation rentals and the Wawona Campground. Wawona also provides access to nearby attractions like the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.

Things to do:

  • Hike the Chilnualna Falls Trail
  • Discover the history of Yosemite at the Pioneer Yosemite History Center
  • Play a round of golf at Wawona Golf Course

El Portal

El Portal is located just outside the park’s western entrance and offers a variety of accommodations, from hotels to vacation rentals. This area is perfect for adventure lovers as it’s close to recreational opportunities like rafting, hiking, and rock climbing. Additionally, the Merced River, a popular spot for fishing and swimming, runs through El Portal.

Things to do:

  • Visit the Yosemite Valley Railroad Exhibit
  • Go on a thrilling whitewater rafting adventure
  • Take a scenic drive along the Merced River Canyon


Mariposa is a small, historic town located about 30 miles west of Yosemite’s entrance. This cool and vibrant community offers various lodging options, including motels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals. Mariposa is an excellent choice for those looking for an authentic, laid-back California experience and who want to explore the local culture and history.

Things to do:

  • Visit the Mariposa Museum and History Center
  • Browse through local shops and art galleries
  • Visit the California State Mining and Mineral Museum

Fun Fact

Mariposa means “butterfly” in Spanish. The town was named by Spanish explorers who found a large number of butterflies in the area, making it an interesting story behind its name.

Budget-Friendly Options

Visiting Yosemite Valley doesn’t have to break the bank. There are several budget-friendly accommodations where you can enjoy a comfortable stay while exploring the stunning beauty of the park. Let’s take a look at a few options that offer great value for money.

Curry Village

Curry Village is the largest affordable lodging facility in Yosemite Valley. It boasts a range of lodging options, including motel rooms, wood-sided cabins, and canvas tent cabins. Its convenient location and variety of accommodations make it a popular choice for budget-conscious travelers.

Yosemite West

Yosemite West is an excellent option for families looking to save on their Yosemite trip. It’s close to the park’s attractions and offers a range of accommodations, from vacation rentals to cabins and condos. With fully equipped kitchens and comfortable living spaces, you can have a cozy home away from home while exploring the park.


For those on a tight budget, Oakhurst is a great choice. Located near Yosemite’s southern entrance, Oakhurst offers affordable accommodations and plenty of amenities. With a selection of hotels, motels, and bed & breakfasts to choose from, you’ll enjoy a comfortable stay without overspending.

Fun Fact: The town of Oakhurst is home to the unique “Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park,” which showcases the area’s history and heritage.

To make the most of your Yosemite experience, don’t forget to explore some popular activities, such as:

  • Hiking the many trails, like the Mist Trail or the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias
  • Rock climbing at the iconic El Capitan and Half Dome
  • Wildlife watching and photography
  • Stargazing under the clear night skies

Remember, enjoying Yosemite Valley doesn’t have to be expensive. With these budget-friendly options, you can have an unforgettable experience without breaking the bank. Happy exploring!

Luxury Stays

Yosemite Valley is a popular destination for nature lovers and adventurers, and for those seeking a high-end, luxurious experience, there are a few standout options. One iconic hotel is the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, formerly known as The Ahwahnee. This historic hotel boasts beautiful architecture and a remarkable dining hall.

Another option for travelers seeking a deluxe experience is the Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite. This impressive resort features a spa, multiple dining choices, and an array of activities catering to both relaxation and adventure. The lodge’s refined rooms and amenities give guests a comfortable, pampering stay.

For those who prefer a blend of luxury and nature, Rush Creek Lodge provides an elegant retreat surrounded by the beauty of the park. With well-appointed rooms, a heated saltwater pool, and an attentive staff, guests will certainly feel spoiled while enjoying the great outdoors.

Fun Fact or Interesting Story: The Majestic Yosemite Hotel was originally built in 1927 and has hosted notable guests such as Queen Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill, and John F. Kennedy. Its elegant design and rich history make it a unique place to stay during your trip to Yosemite.

Things to do: While staying in a luxury hotel in Yosemite Valley, be sure to take the time to explore the park’s natural wonders. Activities include:

  • Hiking trails to iconic sights such as Yosemite Falls, Glacier Point, and Half Dome
  • Participating in ranger-led programs for a deeper understanding of the park’s history and ecology
  • Enjoying the park’s flora and fauna, such as the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias
  • Taking part in seasonal activities such as skiing or ice skating in the winter, or stargazing and photography workshops in the warmer months

In conclusion, luxury accommodations in Yosemite Valley offer the perfect combination of comfort, relaxation, and adventure during your visit to this breathtaking national treasure.

Seasonal Considerations

When planning a trip to Yosemite Valley, it’s important to consider the various seasons as they can greatly impact your stay. Each season offers a unique experience, and knowing what to expect can help you make the best decision on when and where to stay in Yosemite Valley.

Spring (March-May)

Spring is a lovely time to visit Yosemite Valley, as the snow melts, and the waterfalls are at their most powerful. The weather is usually mild, with temperatures ranging from 53°F (12°C) to 28°F (-2°C). However, some higher elevation areas may still be closed due to lingering snow. Accommodations in the valley might be less crowded during this time, and it’s a great season for hiking and exploring the blooming wildflowers.

Summer (June-August)

Summer is the busiest season in Yosemite Valley, with numerous visitors flocking to the park for camping and outdoor activities. The weather tends to be warm and sunny during the summer months, but the crowds can sometimes be overwhelming. It’s crucial to book accommodations well in advance if you plan to visit during this time. Hiking, rock climbing, and water activities are popular things to do in the summer months.

Fall (September-November)

Fall is a beautiful time of year in Yosemite Valley, with the changing colors of the foliage presenting a picturesque landscape. The weather is usually cooler, making it perfect for hiking and exploring the park without the summer crowds. Some areas, like Mariposa Grove, may be closed for the season, so it’s essential to check for closures before planning your stay.

Winter (December-February)

Visiting Yosemite Valley in the winter offers a serene experience, with snow-covered landscapes and fewer crowds. However, the weather can be unpredictable, and some facilities may be closed or operating on limited schedules. During this time, visitors can enjoy activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating. It’s important to note that some lodging options, like the Curry Village, may be closed during the winter months.

Fun Fact

Did you know that Yosemite is home to North America’s tallest waterfall, Yosemite Falls? The falls have a total drop of 2,425 feet!

Things to Do

No matter the season, there’s always something to do in Yosemite Valley. Some popular activities include hiking, rock climbing, photography, star gazing, wildlife watching, and simply enjoying the breathtaking scenery that this national park has to offer. Just remember to be prepared and pack accordingly for the season you’ll be visiting in. Happy exploring!

Booking Tips and Recommendations

When planning your trip to Yosemite Valley, it’s essential to consider booking accommodations well in advance. Especially during the peak season, which runs from April to October, lodging options can become fully booked quickly. Some popular places to stay in Yosemite Valley include The Ahwahnee, a National Historic Landmark hotel, and accommodations in Yosemite West, which is a great option for families.

A budget-friendly alternative is to book accommodations outside of the park, like in the towns of Oakhurst, Groveland, or Mariposa, which offer a range of hotels, inns, and vacation rentals. For example, All Seasons Groveland Inn is a charming bed and breakfast-style cottage just 23 miles from Yosemite National Park.

While browsing options for your stay, keep an eye out for package deals and discounts. Many hotels and lodges offer special rates for multi-night stays or bundled activities. Don’t forget to factor in the commute time from your accommodations to the park, as travel times can vary depending on the location.

Fun Fact or Interesting Story

Did you know that Yosemite National Park is home to over 800 miles of hiking trails? Hikers can explore a range of terrains, from the iconic Half Dome to the misty trails of Yosemite Falls. The park also features ancient giant sequoias in the Mariposa Grove, impressive granite cliffs, and breathtaking meadows filled with wildflowers.

Things to Do

There are plenty of activities for visitors to enjoy in and around Yosemite Valley:

  • Hiking: From leisurely walks to challenging treks, you’ll find a variety of trails to explore.
  • Rock climbing: Yosemite is a rock climber’s paradise, with numerous climbing routes for both beginners and experienced climbers.
  • Wildlife watching: Keep an eye out for the park’s diverse wildlife, such as deer, foxes, and even bears.
  • Photography: Capture the stunning beauty of Yosemite, from its waterfalls to its iconic granite formations.
  • Winter sports: When the snow falls, enjoy skiing, snowshoeing, or ice-skating within the park.

Remember to always check weather conditions and trail updates before heading out on any adventures to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit to Yosemite National Park.

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