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National park tips: How to make your Yosemite grand entrance

Yosemite National Park
If you enter the park from the south, Tunnel View is the first broad view you get of Yosemite National Park’s Yosemite Valley.
(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

Headed to Yosemite? Don’t expect drop-dead panoramas at this California park’s southern entrance. You’ve got 25 miles, and 45 minutes on curvy Wawona Road, before you reach a tunnel, and then ... Tunnel View.

That’s when Yosemite Valley appears before you — the granite walls, the waterfalls — and the kids snap to attention. If you want to see the panorama without tour buses in the foreground, arrive before 8:30 a.m.

READ: A full view of Half Dome »

Half Dome in Yosemite National Park is a California icon, and there’s more than one way to look at it -- from the non-rounded side, for example.
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In honor of this year’s National Park Service centennial, the Travel section is posting 100 park travel ideas and tips based on trips staff travel writer Christopher Reynolds has taken, along with photo-op advice from Times photographer Mark Boster. We’ll post one per day through Dec. 31.

Follow Reynolds on Twitter: @MrCSReynolds

See travel videos by Reynolds from around the world.

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