Yosemite: Moonlight Valley Floor Tour

Board the tram for an after-sundown, sight-epic evening event.

MANY FABULOUS PHOTOGRAPHS, the kind that are regularly included in calendars and on postcards, depict Yosemite Valley at its sunniest, wowsiest best. There are the snapshots showing El Capitan at high noon, and the Merced River doing the glinty, glorious burbly thing that it does so well, and the meadows awash in soft, golden rays. Of course, the fact that the waterfall-laden, granite-glorious stretch rocks its daytime look so ravishingly doesn't at all diminish how nighttime is, for many Yosemite visitors, the ultimate time to enjoy the celebrated valley's views, landmarks, and beyond-real beauty. A full moon keeping Half Dome company and a waterfall-created moonbow are just two of the 5,928 different delights of night in Yosemite National Park. Is that number far too low? Then best book a spot on a...

MOONLIGHT VALLEY FLOOR TOUR, now that warmer evenings are here, and spend some time finding more wonders in the wonderful, wonder-filled place. The two-hour open-air tram tour departs from Yosemite Valley Lodge after sundown, then toodles out to take in a whole spectacular swath of valley hits, from Tunnel View to Bridal Veil Fall. And, of course, the full moon's BFF, Half Dome, though surely our planet's ancient satellite also fancies the epic El Cap, too (the moon is even more picturesque than usual when it appears near either). Note that this is not an early-in-the-evening outing, no siree; trams leave at 10 p.m. on many of the nights on the schedule, giving the sun plenty of room to make a full exit before the tour begins. But do note that the Moonlight Valley Floor Tour isn't on every night of the summer, but rather a few select nights each month, so plan your valley visit accordingly. The final month of the tours? September, right around the time when a nighttime open-air tram starts to get a mite chilly.

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