Tunnel View, in Yosemite, is probably one of the most over-photographed locations in the park. While it’s still on of my favorite spots, I rarely shoot there unless the conditions are extraordinary. I go there to “soak it in” and to get a handle on weather conditions. It’s also one of the best spots in the park to be just as a storm is clearing. I was there Saturday with a group and while there wasn’t anything particularly special going on, it was just a really nice day. While iconic as all get out I liked this scene just because if reminds me of why I go there.
Tunnel View scenic overlook is a historic site located adjacent to Wawona Road. “The overlook was constructed in 1932 during an era that heralded a boom in design and development throughout the National Park Service, and helped initiate the National Park Service “rustic design style.” If you enter the park from the South, this view is what you see after emerging from the long tunnel under TurtleBack Dome. It’s an iconic scene for a reason.
Last fall the park service completed a major renovation of the Tunnel View Overlook. They refer to it as a viewpoint restoration. In the 75+ years that visitors have enjoyed the view many trees have grown, blocking what many consider to be THE classic view of Yosemite. In addition to major improvements to the viewing platforms, they removed a number of trees; restoring the original view.
Being a National park and a natural place I have mixed feelings about the change. I enjoy the better view but it feels a little like we’re encroaching on nature; perhaps more than we should. At the end of the day, I suppose that you just have to accept the fact that this is very much a tourist location.