Tunnel View Yosemite National Park El Capitan Tunnel View Yosemite Valley Overlook

On the drive north to Yosemite Valley on Highway 41, as anticipation builds for the beauty ahead, you will pass through a dark tunnel. Suddenly the tunnel end, and an epic view appears, a breathtaking valley with magical waterfalls spilling off dramatic granite wall. Pull over the car and take in the full magnificence of Tunnel View.

The eastward vantage into spectacular Yosemite Valley serves up a timeless view. To the left, on the north side of the valley is the sheer 3,000-foot face of El Capitan. To the right is Bridalveil Fall, spilling from an enchanting hanging canyon into the pine-carpeted valley. In the center, hanging in the background at the far end of Yosemite Valley, is another park icon, Half Dome.

Tunnel View is wonderful. From early black and white photos to present day post cards, the imagery from this location is nothing short of incredible.

Tunnel View Yosemite
Half Dome and a wind-swept Bridalveil Fall from Half Dome

Even as roads have been constructed and buildings have been erected in Yosemite Valley, Tunnel View has not changed. With great care, unnatural developments have been hidden from this special viewpoint. From Tunnel View you can imagine that nothing has changed and that nothing will change in this perfect valley.

Early in the day, Yosemite Valley is back-lit, throwing impressive details into shadow. Sunlight in the late afternoon creates the most striking perspective. if you can plan your day to arrive just before sunset, the transfer of light to shadow that plays out across the valley is a enchanting display. If Tunnel View is your first stop in Yosemite National Park, the classic imagination-inspiring viewpoint will make you fall in love. You won’t want to leave.

Tunnel View Yosemite
Tunnel View of El Capitan, Half Dome, and Bridalveil Fall
Tunnel View Yosemite
El Capitan from Tunnel View

Tunnel View is even worth visiting during bad weather. If you’re able to look out from Tunnel View during a clearing storm, you can watch the moving clouds plays a beautiful game of hide and seek.

Tunnel View Yosemite
Clouds clearing from Yosemite Valley at dusk

For another exceptional drive-up view, check out Glacier Point.

To get to Tunnel View: From the junction of Highway 41 and Highway 140 in Yosemite Valley, head south on Highway 41 toward Wawona. Climb up from the valley floor for 1.6 miles and pull into the parking area on the side of the road just before the tunnel. From the south entrance of the park, near the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, drive 24.5 miles north on Highway 41. Once you pass through the road’s only tunnel, you will know you’ve arrived.

Tunnel View address: Wawona Road (Highway 41), Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
Tunnel View coordinates: 37.715484, -119.67723 (37° 42′ 55.74″N 119° 40′ 38.02″W)

Use the map below to view the overloook and get directions:

View Yosemite National Park in a larger map
Or view Sierra Nevada trails and campgrounds in a larger map

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These photos were taken in May of 2012 and 2017. Click to enlarge.
Nearby Trails
Bridalveil Fall TrailBridalveil Fall Trail
This easy paved half-mile trail visits the base of a 620-foot single-drop waterfall on the south side of Yosemite Valley.
Wildcat FallsWildcat Falls
This short path finds a secluded cascade along El Portal Road near the Arch Rock Entrance of Yosemite National Park.
Yosemite Falls TrailYosemite Falls Trail
This 3.5 to 7.1-mile hike rises from Yosemite Valley past Columbia Rock to unforgettable views of Upper Yosemite Fall.
Lower Yosemite Fall TrailLower Yosemite Fall Trail
This 1.2-mile hike delivers visitors to the base of the tallest waterfall in North America. The experience is not to be missed.
Taft Point TrailTaft Point Trail
This 2-mile round trip hike visits an overlook on the south wall of Yosemite Valley with fascinating rock fissures carved into the exposed granite.
Chilnualna Falls TrailChilnualna Falls Trail
This 8-mile round trip hike ascends 2,200 feet past a raucous string of cascades to the top of a waterfall alongside Wawona Dome.
Mariposa Grove Giant SequoiasMariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias
This 1.6-mile hike (or longer) visits the biggest trees in Yosemite.
hiking trails sierrasMore trails in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
Explore other destinations in Yosemite National Park and the rest of the range.
Yosemite CampgroundsYosemite National Park Campgrounds
Thirteen campgrounds with over 1,600 total sites are spread throughout the park to facilitate your visit.
Tagged with · National Parks · Yosemite Valley

4 Comments on Tunnel View in Yosemite National Park

  1. […] Tunnel View in Yosemite National Park – The inspiring view on the road into Yosemite Valley, looking north toward El Capitan, Half Dome, and […]

  2. Ron wrote:

    What is the height of the tunnel in Yosemite? Any vehicle restrictions?

  3. […] September we entered the National Park by way of Tunnel View.  Bridalveil Fall, the 620 foot plunge that captivates visitors when the sun hits the spray […]

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