Yosemite National Park: The Best Photos from the Iconic American Park

by Jon D. B.

On Instagram, few parks do it like Yosemite National Park, and we’re taking a look at the most gorgeous photography their famous landmarks have to offer.

If you’re an avid outdoorsman and social media user, then you know that following your favorite national parks on Instagram is an excellent decision. Most, and Yosemite especially, are terrific about posting the best of what our grand U.S. landscapes have to offer. Within, you’ll find tips and tricks for the parks – and beyond stunning photography of their landmarks.

The latter is what we’re focusing on today. Yosemite National Park‘s Instagram is chock-full of brilliant beauty. After all, the park is “not just a great valley, but a shrine to human foresight, the strength of granite, the power of glaciers, and the tranquility of the High Sierra.”

Below we’ve gathered the absolute best Yosemite has to offer out of over 2,000 Instagram posts. So sit back, relax, and strap in for some breathtaking nature.

Instagram Shows Unparalleled Beauty of Yosemite

“First protected in 1864, Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.” So says the park’s official U.S. website. All of these landscapes and features, too, are highlighted on their Instagram.

Let’s get right to it! Up first is the breathtaking Dinner Ledge on Washington Column.

“Would you sleep here? At 300 feet above the valley floor, the Dinner Ledge on Washington Column is breathtaking!

Planning ahead and bringing proper gear is essential for safety and to fully enjoy your wilderness adventure. A portaledge (hanging tent), haul bag with enough space for food and waste storage, and proper layering systems for remaining warm during cold nights are just a few things to consider. For more information to help you plan your trip, visit our website.”

Yosemite NP

Cathedral Peak, Yosemite

In addition to their incredible photos, the park’s Instagram also shares many tips and tricks, like above. They also, however, share further artistry relating to the park – such as this poem by Camille Dungy.

Dungy’s poem accompanies this brilliant shot of Cathedral Peak:

Silence is one part of speech, the war cry
of wind down a mountain pass another.
A stranger’s voice echoing through lonely
valleys, a lover’s voice rising so close
it’s your own tongue: these are keys to cipher,
the way the high hawk’s key unlocks the throat
of the sky and the coyote’s yip knocks
it shut, the way the aspens’ bells conform
to the breeze while the rapids’ drums define
resistance. Sage speaks with one voice, pinyon
with another. Rock, wind her hand, water
her brush, spells and then scatters her demands.
Some notes tear and pebble our paths. Some notes
gather: the bank we map our lives around.

Camille Dungy, 2006

Magnificence of Vernal Fall

As any who have been to Yosemite know, few features outshine their waterfalls. Vernal Fall, however, isn’t just phenomenal in the context of the park. It’s a world-class, monumental sight that’ll floor even the most experienced outdoorsman upon first seeing it.

The dangerous, unrelenting, and destructive forces of water carve out change in the landscape. Where have you found beauty in the process?

Hiking the Mist Trail to Vernal Fall is a dangerous yet beautiful experience! Learn more about this popular trail at https://go.nps.gov/vernalnevada


Cook’s Meadow at Yosemite Falls

Catch a moment of serenity within Cook’s Meadow, and take in the brilliance of Yosemite Falls.

“Do you feel your mind buzzing lately? Thoughts, worries, to-do lists, one-hit wonders from back in the day… all swirling around making it harder to think? Please, virtually join us in Cook’s Meadow to listen to the birds sing and trill, watch water tumble over and down Yosemite Falls, and take a moment to let your mind settle. You deserve it.”


Captain Kirk to Mr. Spock…

Yosemite even drops some original Star Trek quotes, from time to time.

“I’m flattered, 1200 points of interest in Yosemite, and you pick me.” —Captain Kirk to Mr. Spock

Has any of your quarantine entertainment featured Yosemite or other national parks? Even if sci-fi isn’t your thing, we have you covered. Enjoy hours of video content with Yosemite Nature Notes, covering everything from bears to park history to geology. Find them on the park’s website at go.nps.gov/naturenotes.”

Yosemite NP

Tuolumne Meadows in Winter

These pristine winter shots of Tuolumne Meadows come from Yosemite rangers patrolling the park’s high-elevations. Afterwards, those same rangers describe their journey as “one of the most scenic commutes we have ever had.” The resulting shots from this below are stunning.

“As the Tuolumne Meadows winter rangers patrol the park’s high-elevation wilderness and conduct the most important snowpack survey of the season, they describe their travels as, “one of the most scenic commutes we have ever had.” The rangers write, “The peace these moments bring can last a lifetime. At one point we looked up to a windless grey sky where flakes as big as feathers drifted down. The only reminder that it was not a dream was their sound as they touched down upon our nylon jackets.”

Yosemite NP

More of Yosemite’s Winter Splendor

While gorgeous in all seasons, there is something beyond magical about Yosemite in winter. We’re sure, at this point, that you’ve noticed. This next shot, however, is proof positive to the thousandth degree. Just look at this view.

“What a severe yet master artist old Winter is — No longer the canvas and the pigments, but the marble and the chisel.”

John Burroughs, writer and naturalist

Gorgeous Glen Aulin

“Wilderness ideas can trickle out and benefit people beyond our park, even if one never sets foot in Yosemite.”

If you’re planning a trip to Yosemite, or have been before and didn’t visit Glen Aulin – let this photo serve as proof as to why you must.

Starting in the high sierra Wilderness of Yosemite, the Tuolumne River (pronounced tu-AW-luh-mee) carves its way through a series of canyons and tumbles down numerous waterfalls before joining the San Joaquin River in California’s Central Valley. But this river is more than just an opportunity for scenic views, recreation, and wildlife habitat; The Tuolumne River affects urban and suburban areas far beyond park borders, too. Water from the Tuolumne River generates hydroelectricity, helps irrigate California’s Central Valley (responsible for 1/4 of the nation’s food), and serves as the primary source of water for up to 2.4 million people within the San Francisco regional area. The source of this river is protected by designated Wilderness within Yosemite, and this protection means better quality of water available to people downstream. Wilderness protection literally flows out beyond wilderness borders to benefit places beyond, often in surprising ways.

Yosemite NP

And That’s Just the Tip of the Iceberg

Er, Glacier. Glacier Point, that is. If you’ve yet to visit this legendary park, we cannot recommend it enough. The shots above are but a taste of the overwhelmingly grandiose nature of this national treasure. Each corner, peak, falls, lake, forest, and gully are positively teeming with beauty.

For more from the National Park, visit their official Instagram.