Above Yosemite Valley at 8,600 feet lies Tuolumne Meadows, a pristine sub-alpine landscape of mountain cirques and domes, lodgepole pines, and grassy expanses flanking the Tuolumne River. It’s the most photographed area in the park outside of Yosemite Valley for good reason. From here, a number of trails—including Pacific Crest and John Muir—lead into the backcountry to landmarks like Clouds Rest, Lembert Dome, and Cathedral Lakes. There are more than 300 tent and RV sites in the meadow, but this jewel of the Sierra is also easily done as a day trip by car from the valley. Before starting your exploration, stop in at the historic visitor center to learn more about the flora, fauna, and geology of the area, then grab some ice cream at the Tuolumne Meadows Grill.