The park is more beautiful than you can imagine! (In fact, the whole drive from Mariposa to Yosemite Village is breathtaking.) Ansel Adams has made areas of this park infamous with his black-and-white images of its beauty.
The park was created by glaciers that carved out the mountain rock as they recessed millions of years ago. The park is essentially a three-mile wide, flat valley with amazing scenery. The park is home to several types of wildlife, but most notably, the mountain lion, black bear, bobcat, and coyote. In fact, on our way out of the park we got to see a baby coyote in a field playing. Therefore, don't be surprised if you see these creatures around when you are hiking. (Don't worry: if you don't provoke them, they won't bother you!)
There are easily five waterfalls right on the main roads in the park. We did quite a bit of hiking and climbing around the waterfalls; however, there was a lot we weren't able to access because of the snow. We went the second week of April and the snow was waist high in some areas of the park. I would suggest that if you go, do so from mid-May through September when all the roads are open to the public. Also, be sure to fill-up on gas before you head off to the park--there is really nowhere to fill-up outside of Mariposa and if you run out you are essentially just out of luck. I would also recommend taking a picnic lunch so you can avoid Yosemite Village all together. It's a tourist trap with nothing more to offer than shopping. Don't waste your time inside a store when you are at the park!! Instead, enjoy one of America's most beautiful scenic areas!
Park entrance fees are $20 per car per day. We chose to buy an annual National Park Pass; it allows us access to any park for one year. It paid for itself on that vacation because we spent four days inside the three parks in that area and saved $30!