VALLEY TRADITION: We don't need to take a poll, or send results to some think tank, or having users fill out a bunch of bubbles on a questionnaire to know the following statement is 100% fact: Everyone loves to look upon El Capitan. Call it outright staring, call it quiet communing, call it meeting the granite with a reverent gaze, if you like. But taking in that huge hunk-o-granite, with its climbers and myths and history and spectacular girth, is something pretty much all visitors to Yosemite National Park do at some point during their visit. While this communing/gazing is often done while on foot, it isn't unlikely for visitors to be in a vehicle while they get their El Capitan fill, too. If it is wintertime that vehicle is likely closed, with the heat on, but once the warmer days of spring arrive? El Capitan fans, and all fans of Yosemite Valley's stunning sights, often like some breeze to accompany their reverence, whether they're on a bike or in a tram. Oh, did we just name-drop the famous Yosemite Valley Floor Tour? Without a lot of subtlety? We did, because, like a robin in a tree or a crocus bud on a stem, the beloved tradition is back, back to weave into our spring and summertime Yosemite sojourns.
TWO HOURS: You'll have time to commune with El Capitan on the open-air tour, which is led by a knowledge-laden, question-answering ranger (so arrive with all of your Big Y queries, from "biggest waterfall" to "bear sightings"). The tour, in fact, often stops near Camp 4, to see if any climbers may be spied up the side of El Cap. ("Yes" is the usual answer, spoiler alert.) Other meadow-y, waterfall-tastic stops along the road are typically in store, so call it a fine overview to take in during the fine weather of March, April, May and beyond. You say you totally want to do this tour but can't before October? It still happens during the bundle-up months, but, yep, it is on a bus, the better to keep tour goers on the toasty side. For all the info, fees, times, and such, take a moment to stop thinking of El Capitan's grandeur (if such a thing is even possible) and call upon this helpful site.