12 things to do in Yosemite besides hiking

Yosemite National Park is one of the most visited attractions in the United States with over 3 million visitors per year.

Yosemite National Park is one of the most visited attractions in the United States with over 3 million visitors per year. The park is best known for its beautiful waterfalls and numerous hiking trails. While hiking is a popular thing to do here, there are other amazing things one can do to have an incredible adventure in the park and these are some of the most popular ones that shouldn’t be missed.


12 Discover the Yosemite Museum

The Yosemite Museum is located in Yosemite National Park and features an extensive collection of artifacts and materials about the Miwok and Paiute peoples of Yosemite who once inhabited the area. The museum is located near the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center and visitors will find art exhibits and demonstrations illustrating the rich culture of these people who have lived here for thousands of years.

11 Climb rocks

Rock climbing is an exciting thing to do in Yosemite as the park is blessed with plenty of rocks suitable for rock climbing. Although there are other rocks such as – Stalwarts and Half Dome, El Capitan remains the most popular and probably the most difficult climb one can experience here.


ten Take a scenic drive on Tioga Road

The hiking can be challenging at times, so sometimes you have to put away the hiking boots and get into a vehicle to explore this park on wheels. Tioga Road in Yosemite is one of the best road trips travelers can experience in Yosemite because it offers so much scenery that can be enjoyed while hiking the trails. The 60+ mile route rises to an elevation of approximately 10,000 feet and takes travelers through views of towering rocks, lush forests and beautiful lakes overlooked by snow-capped mountains.


9 Explore the birds of the park

More than 165 species of birds inhabit Yosemite National Park, while the park occasionally hosts up to a hundred other migrants. Some of the popular ones to watch out for include – Northern Pygmy Owl, Steller’s Jay, Acorn Woodpecker and Crows. These birds are usually seen in forest areas and quiet parts of the park and the best time to see them is in the early hours of the day.


8 See the waterfalls in the park

Yosemite is particularly famous for its many waterfalls, many of which present awe-inspiring scenery with their splashing water, surrounding trees, and stunning rocks. While many of these waterfalls can be easily seen from afar, a short hike is usually required to get the best views of the natural attraction.

Related: What to Know About Yosemite Falls and the Historic Yosemite Falls Trail


7 Happy Islands Nature Center

Visit the Happy Isles Nature Center to learn more about the flora and fauna of Yosemite National Park. The nature center features interesting exhibits, interactive exhibits, and art workshops that aim to reveal a lot about the ecosystem of this huge natural area.


6 go fishing

Fishing in Yosemite National Park is a wonderful experience. The serenity and scenery surrounding the rivers and streams make it relaxing and exciting. The abundance of fish also means that you will never leave the water without a catch. To enjoy this experience in Yosemite, a fishing permit is required and the park also has regulations that must be followed.




5 Explore wildlife

Yosemite, at 759,620 acres, is teeming with abundant wildlife ranging from land mammals to birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. Animals such as mule deer, mountain coyote and black bear are common on land, while amphibians such as sierra newt, Pacific tree frog and fish can be seen in the various water bodies of the park.


4 Camping in nature

Yosemite has many campgrounds that offer great camping opportunities. The campgrounds offer panoramic views of the mountainous landscape as well as views of the impressive sky, perfect for stargazing at night. Tents and RVs are permitted in Yosemite National Park, although RVs are only permitted at designated campsites.

Related: Cabin Vs. Lodge Stay: Which Yosemite Accommodation Is Best?


3 Cool off while swimming

Yosemite’s rivers and lakes are super clean and refreshing, making them perfect for swimming. Some of the best places to swim are Lake Tenaya, Merced River, and Carbon Falls. Although the experience is thrilling, there are no lifeguards nearby, so swimmers may need to wear life jackets and be careful of the waves in the river.


2 Cycling through the trails

With over 12 miles of paved bike paths in Yosemite National Park, biking is an exciting thing to do here. Much like a road trip through the park by car, biking also offers an easier and faster way to see much of Yosemite without the need to commit to a strenuous hike. Bikes are available for rent in the park and travelers are also allowed to bring their own bikes.


1 Float down a river

The rivers and lakes of Yosemite National Park are great stops for boating, kayaking, canoeing, and rafting. The floating experience here offers incredible scenery and peace, although some comes with an incredible thrill, so it really depends on your preference. Merced River offers a more scenic and exciting experience while Lake Tenaya presents a more serene atmosphere for a peaceful float.

Next: 20 Stunning Yosemite Photos That Make Us Want To Pack Our Bags Immediately


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