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El Capitan

Experience the enormity of Yosemite Valley’s glacially carved granite peaks when you gaze upon this distinctive formation and rock-climbing landmark.

El Capitan is one of Yosemite National Park’s best-known features, rising sharply from the valley floor in a spectacular precipitous formation. Translating to “the captain” in Spanish, El Capitan looks out over the magnificent valley and dares rock climbers and hikers to reach its dizzying peaks. See the mesmerizing rock face from one of several roads that wind through the western part of Yosemite Valley or grab your climbing equipment and tackle “El Cap” yourself.

The sheer cliff face of El Capitan stands opposite the magnificent mists of Bridalveil Fall. Drive along the roads that connect Tunnel View, El Capitan Meadow and the Bridalveil Fall area to get clear views of Yosemite’s chief peak and the climbers scaling its face. Rising over 3,000 feet (900 meters) from its base, the granite monolith’s tallest face is easy to identify from the length of the valley. The Mariposa Battalion gave the formation its name while exploring the valley in 1851. The local Native American name for the formation translates to “Rock Chief” or “Captain,” inspiring the Spanish name.

Photograph the precipice and capture the sunlight as it reflects off the rock face. Sunset is a popular time for photographers in this colossal landscape, when the colors of the sunlight cast red and orange hues across the granite sentinel.

Reach El Capitan’s base by hiking out of Yosemite Valley on the trail that heads west from Yosemite Falls. Keen rock climbers have long heralded El Capitan as one of the world’s greatest challenges. If you are an experienced climber, bring your gear and tackle one of the climbing routes ascending the sheer granite face. If not, use binoculars to view climbers on the southwest and southeast faces.

El Capitan is located in the valley’s western section at the center of Yosemite National Park. See the magnificent peak as you drive along one of several scenic routes that pass through the soaring valley. Visit in summer to see the stark contrast of the blue sky above the pale rock or check out the views in winter when snow dusts the formation’s nose.


Top El Capitan Flight + Hotel Deals

Top Hotel Deals

See all 247 Properties near El Capitan
Yosemite Valley Lodge £186
Yosemite Valley Lodge

Yosemite Valley Lodge

9006 Yosemite Lodge Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA
     
    3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Situated in a national park, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Yosemite Valley and Yosemite Falls. Yosemite Visitor Center is 0.8 mi (1.2 km) away.

    The Ahwahnee £362
    The Ahwahnee

    The Ahwahnee

    9005 Ahwahnee Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated in a national park, this historic hotel is steps away from Ahwahnee Meadow and Yosemite Valley. Yosemite Falls and Yosemite Visitor Center are also within 2 miles (3 km).

      Curry Village
      Curry Village

      Curry Village

      9010 Curry Village Dr., Yosemite National Park, CA
         
        2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated in Yosemite National Park, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Yosemite Mountaineering School and Yosemite Valley. Yosemite Falls and Yosemite Visitor Center are also within 2 miles (3 km).

        Yosemite View Lodge £94
        Yosemite View Lodge

        Yosemite View Lodge

        11136 Highway 140, El Portal, CA
           
          2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Situated on the riverfront, this hotel is 0.5 mi (0.8 km) from Yosemite National Park and 2.5 mi (4.1 km) from Yosemite Arch Rock Gate Entrance. Yosemite Valley and Tunnel View are also within 12 miles (20 km).

          The Ahweanee in Foresta, Yosemite National Park
          The Ahweanee in Foresta, Yosemite National Park

          The Ahweanee in Foresta, Yosemite National Park

          4234 1st St, Yosemite National Park, CA
             
            0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Situated in the mountains, this historic cabin is within 9 miles (15 km) of Yosemite Valley, Tunnel View and Yosemite Arch Rock Gate Entrance. Yosemite National Park and Bridalveil Fall are also within 9 miles (15 km).

            Large Vacation Home, Former B&b, Inside Yosemite
            Large Vacation Home, Former B&b, Inside Yosemite

            Large Vacation Home, Former B&b, Inside Yosemite

            7210 Yosemite Park Way, Yosemite National Park, CA
               
              0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in the mountains, this holiday home is 0.4 mi (0.6 km) from Yosemite National Park and 2.9 mi (4.7 km) from Sierra National Forest. Yosemite Valley and Badger Pass Ski Area are also within 9 miles (15 km).

              Scenic Wonders Yosemite Park Place 3 Bedrooms
              Scenic Wonders Yosemite Park Place 3 Bedrooms

              Scenic Wonders Yosemite Park Place 3 Bedrooms

              7507 Yosemite Park Way, Yosemite National Park, CA
                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated in Yosemite National Park, this cabin is 0.4 mi (0.7 km) from Yosemite National Park and 3 mi (4.8 km) from Sierra National Forest. Yosemite Valley and Badger Pass Ski Area are also within 9 miles (15 km).

                Scenic Wonders El Capitan Loft 3 Bedroom
                Scenic Wonders El Capitan Loft 3 Bedroom

                Scenic Wonders El Capitan Loft 3 Bedroom

                7306 Buck Brush Lane, Yosemite National Park, CA
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Situated in Yosemite National Park, this cabin is 0.5 mi (0.9 km) from Yosemite National Park and within 9 miles (15 km) of Sierra National Forest and Yosemite Valley. Badger Pass Ski Area and Tunnel View are also within 12 miles (20 km).