Inside the Park

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

info-iconLocal Expert Tip

"These monsters are hard to photograph; try getting people in front of the base of the trunk, and use people for scale next to some of the fallen trunks. "

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Yosemite National Park Travel Guide

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Yosemite National Park Is Known for...

Five of Yosemite National Park's most unique features and characteristics.

Rock climbing

The 3000' granite walls of Yosemite Valley are a mecca for climbers from around the world.  Predictable weather, easy access to hundreds of routes, big walls that last for days, a strong climbing community, a tradition of boldness and innovation, and reliably solid rock combine to make Yosemite a nexus for this sport.  In summer, climbing shifts uphill to the cooler domes in the Tuolumne Meadows area - world class in its own right.  Even if you don't climb, it's fun to watch men and women challenge themselves on miles of vertical terrain.

National park preservation

Many scholars see Yosemite as the start of America's (therefore the world's) system of national parks.  Eight years before Yellowstone was made a national park, the US Congress and President Lincoln protected Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove.  The idea of preserving these places for all time, for all people - simply because they are beautiful - was a first.  In 1984 almost all of Yosemite National Park was further protected by Congress as designated Wilderness.  It was also granted World Heritage Site status in 1984, partly because of its history in anchoring "America's best idea." 

Popularity

Yosemite gets about 4 million...  

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About Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is Yours

Yosemite National Park is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of central California, about a 4 hour drive from the San Francisco Bay region and about 6-7 hours from the Los Angeles area.  It is one of the world’s first national parks and draws 4 million visitors a year from all over the planet.
Most visitors head to Yosemite Valley, a deep granite canyon with a collection of stunning landscape features.  El Capitan is a 3000’ vertical face, renowned among the world’s rock climbers.  Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in North America and among the top ten globally.  Half Dome is an immense granite structure that looks just like its name; a popular trail to the top is one of the earth’s classic hiking challenges.  These elements are surrounded by numerous other waterfalls, forests, cliffs, domes and spires- enough to keep a photographer busy for a lifetime (Ansel Adams, for example).  On their own, each of these geographic jewels would be an astounding landmark, but together they comprise a rich hoard of visual treasures.
Start an exploration at a park Visitor Center where the excellent ranger staff can help plan your time.  Popular walks in Yosemite Valley include the base of Lower Yosemite Falls (320’...  Read more »