Thinking of steep mountains, vast forests, countless grand waterfalls and rivers that continue to rearrange the landscape? This place in Sierra Nevada mountains is definitely an adventure-worth to see!
Yosemite National Park is considered the first true wilderness park in the United States. This nature reserve has unprecedented natural beauty. It is a wonderful hiking area, where you can go out for days.
ABOUT 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.
|Hiking in Yosemite National Park|
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.
How do we pronounce Yosemite?
Yosemite is pronounced as "yoh-SEM-ih-tee" in English language.
History of Yosemite National Park
The past of this area is relatively unknown. Scientists have been able to identify some major events, but not many. The grounds rose about 10 million years ago, probably due to volcanic activity.
The climate has also changed drastically in the past. About a million years ago it created a solid ice mass on the peaks of the Sierra Nevada. The foothills subsequently formed into glaciers. And they continued to model the landscape with brute force. With today’s Yosemite as a result. Today’s mountains, gorges, waterfalls and lakes are very popular with tourists. Yosemite is therefore affectionately called the ultimate outdoors by the Americans.
This erosion created deep gorges in the landscape. These are now up to 1,200 meters deep. With strikingly steep mountain walls such as El Capitan and Half Dome. In addition, meltwater has remained in numerous places, making Yosemite more than 3,200 lakes. These are just a few indications of the forces of nature that once worked here, even though the rivers continue to change the landscape.
Climate of Yosemite National Park
Contrary to popular belief, Yosemite has a mild climate. That you can almost call the Mediterranean if you look at the limited rainfall. The reason is that this area is only a little over 200 kilometers from the Atlantic Ocean, so dry air is supplied. The temperature is lagging somewhat until July snow can fall in the higher parts.
What to see/expect in Yosemite National Park?
More than 90 percent of the park is wilderness. And is hardly visited or not at all. Avoid the crowds and go to Hetch Hetchy in the west of the park. Hetch Hetchy is a relatively unknown part of the park. This is the catchment area of the Tuolumne River, which provides the water supply for San Francisco, among others.
Here are 10+ things to do and discover at Yosemite National Park:
Hiking in Yosemite Valley
Those who want to experience Yosemite must put on their hiking shoes. And then the famous valley with all the waterfalls, forests and rivers is the place. The choice is wide, from almost level hikes to tough hikes with a lot of height difference. Most famous is the Valley Floor Loop, a 20.9-kilometer long walk through the valley. In which you walk a striking number of old settler paths, without too much difference in height. You can also walk halfway and take the bus back from the park.
Olmsted Point is one of Yosemite’s relatively unknown gems. This vantage point gives you a wide view over Clouds Rest, with Half Dome in the background. Olmstead Point can be reached via Tioga Road, after which it is a short half hour walk. What is also special here is that you can clearly see in various places that immense glaciers have been at work here. Especially in the morning this place is almost magical.
This alpine meadow is famous for its rustic location. The backdrop is formed by countless granite peaks and the Tuolumne River. It is located on Tioga Road and can only be visited by car in summer and autumn. In winter you can go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.
Sentinel Rock and Sentinel Falls
Sentinel Rock is a 2,145-meter high sheer cliff. It is seen as the guardian of the south side of Yosemite Valley. Sentinel Falls is found next to Sentinel Rock. This waterfall consists of various parts from which the water drops or flows alternately. They are opposite Yosemite Falls.
Few visitors know that Yosemite has a burial ground. White settlers in particular are buried here. Their life was hard in this rugged area, where disease regularly arose. The pioneer cemetery is tucked away in a forest near the Yosemite Museum. Ask about visiting possibilities at the museum. Information about the people buried here is available on site.
Indian Village of Ahwahnee
According to scientists, the first inhabitants lived here about 8,000 years ago. After that, Indian tribes such as Mono Paiute, Sierrra Miwok and Ahwahnechee lived in the area. According to scientists, the Ahwahnechee descend from the Miwok and were the first in the park to have contact with white people.
|Indian Village of Ahwahnee|
They lived along the rivers and used, among other things, fire to keep various meadows free of trees. So that many wild animals came to graze there for hunting. The Ahwahnechee were very bloody and were called yohemite or yohometuk by other Indian tribes. Which stands for: they are murderers. Yosemite is named after this unfriendly name.
The whites arrived in the Yosemite Valley in 1851. Because the various Indian tribes in the area fiercely resisted, they were expelled or massacred. This happened during the infamous Mariposa Indian War, in which the whites tried to get all of California Indian free. In order to be able to search for gold in this part of the US without hindrance. For a long time, the Miwok tried to live with the whites, but in the end, they had to leave.
The Ahwahnee village belonged to the Ahwahneshee Indians. The village has been completely reconstructed and shows their environment from around 1870.
East of El Capitan you find three granite rocks, with beautiful names such as Eagle Peak, Middle Brother, and Lower Brother. Together they are called The Three Brothers, although Pompompasus is also used.
This Native American name means mountains playing leapfrog. A suitable name for those who look at the three mountains. Eagle Peak is the highest (2,173 meters) and rises about 1,150 meters above the valley.
Cathedral Rock is an impressive rock with its height of 2,025 meters. The name comes from its shape. It resembles a Gothic cathedral. Two narrow granite columns can be seen to the left of Cathedral Rock. They are called the spires. Cathedral Rock is located on the east side of the valley, diagonally across from El Capitan.
Next to the Nevada waterfall is the immense Liberty Cap. A granite 2,137 meters high rock, rising 1,402 meters above the Yosemite Valley. And towers are more than 600 meters above the Nevada waterfall. This makes the waterfall look remarkably small. Liberty Cap shows what the immense erosion has done here. If you see both, you will see typical Yosemite: rugged nature.
Vernal Fall en Nevada Fall
These two waterfalls are close to each other. Vernal Fall is 97 feet high, while Nevada Fall is 181 feet high. They both drop their water in the Yosemite Valley. From Nevada Fall you can walk to Vernal Fall. You can swim in the ice-cold water of both.
This is the park’s other famous waterfall. It is 188 meters high and falls from the edge of the canyon into the Yosemite Valley. The action of a former glacier can be clearly seen in the U-shape of the canyon. Unlike Yosemite Falls, this waterfall can be seen all year round.
Yosemite’s history is very colourful. Not only about glaciers and rivers, but also about the people who have lived here for centuries. In the Yosemite Museum, you can see everything about the original inhabitants, the various Indian tribes, and the first white settlers. From 1850 to now.
Discover the many types of trees
In this nature reserve you can also find the gigantic giant redwoods; the largest tree on earth. These trees are only found in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. They have been referred to as “the largest living organism in the world.” They are the tallest trees in the world and also very bulky. These trees can grow up to 30 meters and their length can reach 115 meters. Most are easily 60 to 80 meters high. Their trunk is a striking reddish-brown, while the needles always remain green.
Yosemite is one of the best places to see the giant sequoia or giant sequoia. Mariposa Grove is the place to literally let yourself be belittled among these giants. Also, note the immense size of the trunk.
Hike the John Muir Trail
The John Muir Trail is one of California’s longer hiking trails. It is 334 miles long and follows the route the conservationist took when he explored Yosemite and the surrounding area. You don’t have to hike it completely, it is also possible to explore parts of the trail. Along this trail you can find Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls.
Hetch Hetchy is a valley, a reservoir, and a water system in California in the United States. The glacial Hetch Hetchy Valley lies in the northwestern part of Yosemite National Park and is drained by the Tuolumne River. For thousands of years before the arrival of settlers from the United States in the 1850s, the valley was inhabited by Native Americans who practiced subsistence hunting-gathering.
During the late 19th century, the valley was renowned for its natural beauty – often compared to that of Yosemite Valley – but also targeted for the development of water supply for irrigation and municipal interests. The controversy over damming Hetch Hetchy became mired in the political issues of the day. The law authorizing the dam passed Congress on December 7, 1913.
Yosemite Entrance Fees
- Individual (on foot, horseback, or bus)
Good For 7 Days, Yosemite National Park: $15
Good For 7 Days, Yosemite National Park: $30
Good For 7 Days, Yosemite National Park: $35
- Yosemite Pass (automobile)
Good For 1 Year, Yosemite National Park: $70
- America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass (automobile)
Good For 1 Year, all US National Parks and Federal Recreation Areas: $80
- Senior Pass (automobile)
Good For Lifetime, all US National Parks and Federal Recreation Areas, only for US citizens or permanent residents 62 or older: $80
Which Option Should I Choose?
The best choice depends on your circumstances, but if you're going to visit Yosemite more than once or visit multiple parks, the Yosemite or America the Beautiful passes are worth getting. It's a mystery why people will readily shell out $100 apiece for a day in a theme park, but won't part with a smaller amount for a park pass that will cover their entire family. Look how they compare:
|Famous Theme Park||Yosemite Pass|
|Gets you into||a theme park (1 square mile)||Yosemite National Park (1,100 square miles)|
|Who gets in?||you||you and everyone you can fit into your car|
|How long is it good for?||1 day||1 year|
|Wildlife||bored teenagers in animal costumes; toddlers on sugar highs||deer, bear, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, hawks, etc.|
|Thrill ride duration||2 minutes (rollercoaster)||2 days (climbing El Capitan)|
|Favorite occupation||waiting in line||staring at mind-blowing scenery|
|flowers, mountains, trees, you name it||fake||real|
|Back Country||employees only||go walkabout anywhere|
|Money spent on cotton candy and funny hats||how much have you got?||only the rangers wear funny hats here|
It's enough to make you reconsider just what is the happiest place on earth.
There's another benefit to having a Yosemite or National Parks pass: on busy summer weekends when traffic is backed up dozens deep at the entrance gates, the park service will frequently set up a special lane just for pass holders to use so they can buzz straight into the park past the carloads of visitors trying to find change for and get advice from the entrance-booth attendants.
(Imagine that the checkout line at the grocery store extends to the back of the building, and everyone in front of you is a little old lady with a month's worth of groceries in the cart, and each one of them is paying by check, arguing over half a dozen expired coupons, and buying three or four mysterious items that don't scan and require a bagger be sent off to look up the price. Imagine this, and you'll know what it's like entering Yosemite on Fourth of July weekend without a pass.)
If you want to buy a pass but not wait in line at the park gates to get one, you can order them ahead of time at the national parks website or call 1-888-GO-PARKS.
Yeah, but can I get in free?
What, the Yosemite Pass isn't good enough for you? Smokey the Bear is weeping in his porridge. Oh, well: try the getting-in-free page; if you're sufficiently determined, one of the methods there may suit you.
ACTIVITIES AND TOURS IN YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK
Where to stay near Yosemite National Park
Here's a list of accommodation options nearby Yosemite National Park:
- Yosemite Valley Lodge - See Room Rates & Availability!
- Curry Village - See Room Rates & Availability!
- Ramada by Wyndham Fresno North - See Room Rates & Availability!
- Hyatt Place Fresno - See Room Rates & Availability!
- SpringHill Suites Fresno - See Room Rates & Availability!
- San Joaquin Hotel - See Room Rates & Availability!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Yosemite National Park
- What is the best time of year to visit Yosemite National Park?
The Best Time to Visit Yosemite National Park for Avoiding the Crowds. The park is open year-round, but nearly 75% of visitors come from May to October, ensuring a wonderfully quiet and crowd-free park from November through April.
- Why is Yosemite famous?
Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, towering granite monoliths, deep valleys and ancient giant sequoias. On October 1, 1890, Yosemite became a national park, and more than 125 years later, it's still wowing visitors.
- Can I enter Yosemite without a reservation?
If you enter Yosemite before 6 am or after 4 pm, you do not need a reservation. You can remain in the park during peak hours if you arrive during these non-peak hours. If you are planning to arrive after 4 pm, please do not arrive at a park entrance station until after 4 pm. Do not try to arrive early.
- How many days should I stay in Yosemite?
One day is enough to see all of the Yosemite Valley, but 2-3 days is ideal if you wish to take some of the longer hikes or explore Glacier Point and the Tioga Pass.
- Where do you fly into for Yosemite?
The closest airport is the Fresno-Yosemite International Airport (FAT), which is about 65 miles south of the park (about a 1½-hour drive). San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Oakland International Airport (OAK) and San Jose International Airport (SJC) are also within driving distance of park.
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