Your Yosemite Moments

A selection of photos submitted for Yosemite Conservancy's "Yosemite Moments" contest, featuring park fans' favorite snapshots of Half Dome, El Capitan, Yosemite Falls and more.

Earlier this month, we asked you to share some of your favorite Yosemite Moments with us — and we were blown away by your responses! You shared stories and photos of first visits and annual trips, proposals and anniversaries, backpacking trips and bobcat encounters, rainbows and reflections, hopes for the future and memories of loved ones lost, and countless reminders of the beauty and tranquility you can find on the trail.

Thanks to everyone who submitted photos and stories, and congratulations to our two contest winners, Julie Delille and Zach Hanna! Keep an eye on our social media for more opportunities to connect with us (and win prizes). In the meantime, scroll down to see a handful of the special moments that were shared.

As Day Turns to Night

Julie Delille

First ever night in Yosemite this past spring. My best friend and I had just finished setting up our tent. As she was rummaging for extra wood and brush for our fire, I looked up and saw this magnificent view. I wandered, camera in hand, until I found the perfect clearing to capture this moment.

 

Our Tree

Zach Hanna

The photo on the bottom was taken 7 years ago when my then best friend and I were falling in love. We found this tree in the middle of the Valley floor and took a photo. The top photo is the same tree, just fallen down a bit more, 1 year ago. We visit Yosemite often and always find "our tree." We've now been married three years and this is one of our favorite places on earth.

 

Stoneman Bridge

Eric Nelson

Autumn reflection of Stoneman Bridge over the Merced River. A raging river in the spring and yet a most peaceful and calm river in fall.

 

Half Dome at Sunset

Ben Pollock

For the longest time I have seen images of this iconic location, and dreamed of the day to be able to be here in person.  The photos you see cannot do this justice, seeing in person literally left me speechless every time I saw it.  Half Dome and Vernal and Nevada falls off in the distance, taken near Glacier Point in June 2017.

 

YES

Sarah Canterbury

The love of my life proposed to me on the climbers' trail to The Nose (on El Capitan) in February, and I obviously said YES!

 

The Rock Guard'in

Barbara Putz

I have been coming to Yosemite since I was a child, and through those years I have taken such joy in all its wonders and provoking grandeur.  The memories of my time spent there are forever etched on my heart and ingrained in my mind. I like this photo, in all its simplicity, because I remember chuckling to my self at the time, and thinking "that rock is looking at me"!  I think it's much deeper than that though, as Yosemite IS alive! It breathes, it moves, it ages, and it evolves continually. And yes, it even sees us.

 

White Cascade

Douglas Croft

Sitting in Yosemite's high country under a blanket of stars has been one of my favorite things since we used to camp in Tuolomne Meadows when I was a kid.  On this night, with the Milky Way shining over White Cascade, all of those special memories came flooding back.

 

Half Dome is Calling

Katherine Warren

Hanging out near Camp 4, but Half Dome is calling.

 

A Mother's Love

Sean Jagow

On the Panorama Trail toward Nevada Fall, I came across a doe and her fawn out for a walk.

 

Spring Thaw

Krista Micklo

Yosemite is a magical place, every season a new beautiful scene, a wonder to the eyes. The thaw of spring is powerful. Especially after a heavy snow year, an angry torrent of snow melt unleashes from the tall walls of granite and cascades down to the valley below. While each waterfall is magnificent, Yosemite Falls stands the tallest, a ferocious coursing stream sending clouds of ethereal mist in every direction. Bright morning light only enlivens the shot. Each picture just one small snapshot of the multitude of out-of-this-world moments that occur within the park every second of every day whether we are there to witness them or not.

 

Tenaya Peak Topout

Jared Kemper

Tenaya Peak via Northwest Buttress was on my list when I was living in Missouri over a year ago. After moving to California last December, I finally ticked Tenaya in September and took this photo on the summit blocks.

 

Tilden Lake, Yosemite Backcountry

Haley Henson

This was taken in August 2017 on a backpacking trip that began at Hetch Hetchy, went to Lake Vernon, Tilden Lake, and finally Rancheria Falls. This was taken on the morning of Day 3. It was a gorgeous beginning to a nearly 16 mile day to Rancheria Falls that evening. The morning over the lake was perfect with the water allowing for an almost perfect reflection of the sky and the mountains beyond. It was the perfect view to start a long, hard day. Thankful for Yosemite and all the memories I have been able to create both in the valley and in the back country.

 

Baby in Yosemite

Dikran Ornekian

My first time bringing my first son to my favorite park. He may forget it, but I won't.

 

Glacier Point: First View

Catrin Pugh

We pulled over at the side of the road to see what was there and were blown away by the vista which lay before us.  This viewpoint was before the main car park and so completely peaceful.

 

Into the Woods

Priscila De Cassia

Yosemite reminds us how tiny we are...and how magnificent nature is!

 

It's a Girl!

Tim Cederwall

My wife and I decided to have the nurse write down on a card if we were having a boy or girl. We wanted to do something special for the reveal, so we went to Yosemite. We decided to hike out to Elizabeth Lake and I set up my tripod to capture the moment. This picture captures the exact moment that we found out we were having a girl.

 

Bobcat on the Trail

Jennifer La

"Bobcat", I whispered. We stared at each other for the longest 10 seconds, my heart beating with excitement and caution. Then she lay down to rest right on the trail, the only way back down to camp.    This photo was snapped early in the morning after hiking up Vernal Falls, climbing to Clark Point then taking the John Muir Trail back down. My partner and I were the only ones hiking so that early. It was such a special moment that we had to ourselves, connecting with nature and wildlife.

 

Capturing the Moment

Mark Settle

My family had just arrived in the Valley and got out of the car to take in all of the wonderful scenery. My girls were ahead of me and decided to race each other as I took this picture which I feel captured the moment of enjoying Yosemite perfectly.

 

Winter at Tunnel View

Rich Fraguero

A crisp snowy morning spent at Tunnel View.

 

He Gets It

Kimberly Lienhart

My hiking partner and I took my son to North Dome in November a few years back. I was waiting to see if he got it. You know...that feeling Yosemite gives you of awe. He stood completely still looking at Half Dome for a long, long time and I knew in that moment that he "got it".

 

My Last Day

Brandilyn Pharris

I lived in Yosemite this summer and fall and the last day before I moved was immeasurably beautiful. This is Bridalveil Fall on the right and El Capitan on the left, looming over a misty meadow.

 

Our Annual Yosemite Christmas

Chan Shipman

No where else in the world is more special to us than  Yosemite National Park for Christmas and Hanukkah because our kids are learning to appreciate family and national parks like we do.

 

As several of you observed, Yosemite's natural processes pulse ever on — waterfalls roar, granite gleams and seasons shift whether or not we're there to hear and see it happen. With so much wonder at every turn, you're bound to experience something new, something that helps you feel even more in tune with your surroundings, anywhere you go in the park. And those Yosemite moments will stick with you long after you leave, as precious reminders of your connection to this special place.

We'll leave you with some apt musings from Terry Tempest Williams, in The Hour of Land, on why moments in places like Yosemite matter:

Our national parks receive more than 300 million visitations a year. What are we searching for and what do we find? As we Americans and visitors from abroad explore the 400-plus sites within the national park system... perhaps it is not so much what we learn that matters in these moments of awe and wonder, but what we feel in relationship to the world beyond ourselves, even beyond our own species.

Thanks again for giving us a glimpse into your Yosemite moments!

Yosemite Insider