Yosemite National Park

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Visit Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada!
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Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. It’s famed for its giant, ancient sequoia trees, and for Tunnel View, the iconic vista of towering Bridalveil Fall and the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome. In Yosemite Village are shops, restaurants, lodging, the Yosemite Museum and the Ansel Adams Gallery, with prints of the photographer’s renowned black-and-white landscapes of the area.

First protected in 1864, Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.

Yosemite National Park covers nearly 1,200 square miles (3,100 square km) in the Sierra Nevada, with elevations ranging from about 2,000 feet (600 m) to 13,000 ft (4,000 m). Yosemite receives 95% of its precipitation between October and May (and over 75% between November and March). Most of Yosemite is blanketed in snow from about November through May. (Yosemite Valley can be rainy or snowy in any given winter storm.)

Yosemite National Park supports more than 400 species of vertebrates including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The high diversity of species is the result of diverse habitats in Yosemite that are largely intact. The park’s rich habitats range from thick foothill chaparral to conifer forests to expanses of alpine rock. Animals feel at home in each location.

In Yosemite Valley, you'll find species that depend upon meadow habitat. Predators, in turn, are attracted to these areas. The interface between meadow and forest is also favored by many animal species because of the proximity of open areas for foraging, and cover for protection. Overall, the park's widespread coniferous forests—with a relatively mild climate and a mixture of plant species—provide a lush habitat for animals to live.

Destinations visited
Mariposa Grove
Mariposa Grove
With their massive stature and multi-millennium maturity, the chunky high-rise sequoias of Mariposa Grove will make you feel rather insignificant. The largest grove of giant sequoias in the park, Mariposa is home to more than 500 mature trees spread over 250 acres.
Glacier Point
Glacier Point
If you drove, the views from 7214ft Glacier Point might make you feel like you cheated – superstar sights present themselves without your having made barely any physical effort. A quick mosey up from the parking lot and you’ll find the entire eastern Yosemite Valley spread out before you, from Yosemite Falls to Half Dome, as well as the distant peaks that ring Tuolumne Meadows.
Half Dome
Half Dome
Yosemite's most distinctive natural monument, Half Dome is 87 million years old and has a 93% vertical grade – the sheerest cliff in North America. Climbers come from around the world to grapple with its legendary north face, but good hikers can reach its summit via a 17-mile round-trip trail from Yosemite Valley. The trail gains 4900ft in elevation and has cable handrails for the last 200yd.
Olmsted Point
Olmsted Point
This ‘honey, hit the brakes!’ viewpoint, midway between the May Lake turnoff and Tenaya Lake, is a lunar landscape of glaciated granite with a stunning view down Tenaya Canyon to the back side of Half Dome. Looming over the canyon’s eastern side is 9926ft Clouds Rest, a massive mountain comprising the largest exposed chunk of granite in Yosemite. (As its name implies, clouds often settle atop the peak.) Rising 4500ft above Tenaya Creek, it makes for a strenuous, but rewarding, day hike: it's 14-mile out-and-back with 1775ft of elevation gain.
Bridalveil Fall
Bridalveil Fall
At the southwestern end of the valley, Bridalveil Fall tumbles 620ft. The Ahwahneechee people call it Pohono (Spirit of the Puffing Wind), as gusts often blow the fall from side to side, even lifting water back up into the air. Peregrine falcons glide overhead. The waterfall usually runs year-round, though it’s often reduced to a whisper by midsummer. Bring rain gear or expect to get soaked when the fall is heavy.

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