Earlier this morning I was renting a motorcycle in South San Francisco and now I’m watching the sunset at one of Yosemite’s top sites – the Tunnel View Overlook. Somebody pinch me.

We hopped on our motorcycles and blasted up from the valley after lunch and our hike on the Mist Trail. Sunset is about an hour away and the Tunnel View Overlook is filled with visitors.

Tunnel View Overlook Yosemite Sunset

Tunnel View Overlook’s name comes from the fact that it is the first view of Yosemite Valley after a driving through a mountain tunnel eastbound on Wawona Road (State Route 41).

The Wawona Tunnel was bored through solid granite in 1933. The 4,233 ft tunnel is the longest highway tunnel in the state of California.

What can be seen at Tunnel View Overlook?

The wide view shows all of the sites of the valley. On the left you have the 3,000 ft granite giant El Capitan. At the end of the valley (center frame) you have Half Dome, and to the right is Bridalveil Fall.

Tunnel View Overlook Yosemite Sunset

Bridalveil Fall flows all year round and drops 617 feet. Like many other waterfalls in the park, at the end summer the flow is severely weakened and sometimes doesn’t even hit the valley floor. We’re here in early summer, so we get to see most of the waterfalls flowing pretty heavily.

With a little zoom, we’re afforded a closer look at Bridalveil Fall and Half Dome in the distance.

Tunnel View Overlook Sunset Bridalveil Fall

Half Dome is always an impressive sight no matter where you’re located.

Half Dome from Tunnel View Overlook

To the immediate right of Tunnel View Overlook is Silver Strand Fall. This melting snow-fed waterfall is in low flow mode in spring when the snow is not yet melting and in late summer when the snow is all melted away.

It’s easy to overlook this waterfall since it doesn’t carry the same weight as Bridalveil Fall, El Capitan, and Half Dome. But, you should look up to the right if you visit the Tunnel View Overlook so that you don’t miss it.

Silver Strand Fall Yosemite

The sun has dipped below the horizon. We don’t have any dramatic clouds, just these cotton candy wisps directly overhead.

Tunnel view overlook Yosemite clouds

But there is a purple glow on the granite of Yosemite Valley. I think that’s worth a few more snaps, including this close-up of Bridalveil Fall.

Bridalveil fall tunnel view overlook yosemite

It’s hard to leave even though it will be dark by the time we reach our motel in Mariposa. I’m not a huge fan of riding in the dark, but there is good reason to push for as much park time as possible.

Tunnel view overlook Yosemite sunset

Visit Tunnel View Overlook

Tunnel View Overlook is free with park admission. Enter via State Route 41 for the full effect of seeing the view develop from through the Tunnel. Otherwise, you can scoot up here from the valley floor via Wawona Road.

Comments (1)

  • Jo Ann Walsh . September 7, 2018 . Reply

    Breath taking views .I love traveling with you .These pictures are wonderful .Thank you!!!!

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