Yosemite National Park

Yosemite-Nature’s Crowing Glory-is located high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in eastern California. About a two-hour drive south of Reno, NV this National Park inspires people of all ages with its picturesque scenery. From the valley floor to the towering cliffs of white granite, Yosemite is breathtaking in beauty and awe-inspiring at every turn.

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For all it offers in beauty, Yosemite’s grandeur is a product of millions of years of titanic geologic forces which have combined to create a masterpiece. Lava, glaciers, erosion, weathering, and uplift all worked to give us this American Park.

When visiting Yosemite, you have four park entrances to choose from. Three are located to the west and south sides of the park and one is on the east side. Once you are inside, have your camera ready. Yosemite offers more panoramic views than any place on earth!

The most popular destination in Yosemite is the valley. Here you can easily see the most popular features of the park. Half Dome, Yosemite’s iconic structure is located on the south side of the valley. Though there is a roped path to the top, it is not recommended that you take this unless you are a highly-skilled climber. On the north side of the park you see El Capitan, the one of the most-popular rock climbing formations in the world. This 3,000-foot cliff is both imposing and amazing. You can see climbers on the cliff face most of the year.

There are numerous trails you can hike in the valley. Plus, there are trolleys located in the region that can take you from one part of the valley to another. One of the favorite trails you can take will bring you to the bottom of Bridalveil Fall. One of the highest falls in the world, this magnificent fall is best seen in the springtime and early summer when snow melt is at its peak. It is a lot of fun for kids to feel the cold spray from the falls and the mist can reach you as much as a quarter of a mile away. There are many other falls in the park, but most are found after a long hike. Some of the more popular falls are located in the high country, so make sure you have a good map and good shoes when you go.

Speaking of the high country, you can find amazing wildlife in the mountains. Though you should never approach any of the animals in the park, you can see mule deer, bobcats, black bears, mountain sheep and more. A wide variety of bats, spotted owls, squirrels and more are abundant in and around the park. So, be sure to be on the lookout.

If you are into plants, Yosemite has plenty for you as well. Starting with wildflowers, there are many varieties and an array of colors. Yosemite is also home to many towering pine tree forests with a few different varieties dominating the area. Best of all, though, are the Giant Sequoias found mostly in the western part of the park. These are definitely worth checking out.

Yosemite is a paradise for those who love to camp, hike, climb, take photos, or who just enjoy nature. It is a wonderful place to vacation, but be sure you make reservations in plenty of time if you want to stay in or near the park. Camping is available as are cabins and lodges, but these can be a little pricey.

If you plan on driving to Yosemite, check out the conditions before trying to enter the park. Heavy snows or rains may close a park entrance as well as falling rocks. When you do visit, be sure you have proper clothing and good shoes. Also, if you visit in the summer, be sure to pack bug repellent and sun screen. You will be glad you have both!

For more information, visit http://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm You will find a lot of what you are looking for on this site including visitors updates, maps, fees, and more.


Image by Georg Lester