bentoninn Adventure The Ultimate Guide to Yosemite National Park

The Ultimate Guide to Yosemite National Park

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Yosemite National Park is undoubtedly one of the most popular national parks in the country. Located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range, this beautiful national park boasts nearly 1200 square miles of wilderness, large meadows, native plants, and some of the tallest granite peaks in the country.

You’ll find deep valleys, breathtaking waterfalls, soothing streams and hiking trails perfect for your next adventure. Yosemite Valley, in the heart of the national park, is where you’ll find campgrounds and hotels, where you can start your hiking expeditions. Enjoy breathtaking park views from Tunnel View, bask in the serene alpine wilderness of Tuolumne Meadows, and learn about the important Native American tribes that lived here. Park rangers encourage visitors to plan ahead to explore different parts of the park through guided hikes. If you plan to stay overnight at the park, you should obtain wilderness permits in advance. Remember not to leave food in your vehicles to protect yourself from bears. The sad truth is that several peaks in Yosemite are shrinking in size due to natural melting caused by climate change.

Things to know about Yosemite National Park

Parts of Yosemite National Park

The national park can be divided into five parts: Yosemite Valley, Wawona/Mariposa Grove/Glacier Point, Tuolumne Meadows, Hetch Hetchy and Crane Flat/White Wolf.

Activities at Yosemite National Park

biking in Yosemite
Image Credit: Travel Yosemite

This natural wonder has been preserved and protected by the 1864 Yosemite Grant, which marked the first instance of park preservation for conservation and public use in the country. The National Park Service and Yosemite Conservancy conduct many activities in the park to promote tourism, such as art classes, photography sessions, stargazing sessions, and nature walks. We recommend checking their websites for more information on this.

Yosemite Valley and Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Valley is a glacial valley running through Yosemite National Park. The valley is about 3500 feet deep and runs over 12km. There are many granite cliffs with two of the most famous peaks being Half Dome and El Capitan which are covered with pine forests. The Merced River flows right through the valley floor and gives way to many different waterfalls and streams with Yosemite Falls being the tallest waterfall in North America. Bridalveil Fall and Vernal Fall are the other waterfalls in the valley. This valley is the most important part of Yosemite National Park.

The valley itself was formed by glaciers during the Ice Age, carving out the granite walls of the valley and creating a flat valley floor. Hikers and climbers especially love this region with peaks like Half Dome and El Capitan extremely popular with hikers. These are challenging hikes, so we strongly recommend you do your research beforehand. You may also need to obtain a permit for some hiking trails including Half Dome.

You’ll find many restaurants, accommodations, and campgrounds here, making it the perfect place to visit in the park. The Ahwahnee Hotel and Yosemite Valley Lodge are the most popular hotels in the park.

Giant Sequoias Butterfly Grove

yosemite maripossa

Mariposa Grove is an area of ​​over 500 giant sequoia trees and is located south of Yosemite National Park. These huge tall trees are extremely old, many of them around 3,000 years old and over 250 feet tall. This was the first portion of the park protected by the Yosemite Grant signed by Abraham Lincoln. You can use several hiking trails and boardwalks to explore this grove, including the Grizzly Giant Loop Trail.

The famous Wawona Tree or Tunnel Tree is 90 feet in circumference and a tunnel was cut through the tree in 1881 to allow carriages to pass. Unfortunately this weakened the tree which fell in 1969 under the weight of a heavy snowfall. We also highly recommend visiting the Mariposa Grove Museum to learn more about the Southern Miwok Native Americans who lived in this region and held the trees sacred.

Tip of the glacier

point glacier sunset yosemite

Glacier Point is one of Yosemite National Park’s most popular lookout points, located on the south face of Yosemite Valley at an elevation of over 7,000 feet. From this vantage point, you can enjoy breathtaking views of Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, and Yosemite Falls, along with the park’s other beautiful landmarks. The road to Glacier Point is only open during certain times of the year, being closed during the snow season, so you’ll want to check to see if it’s accessible ahead of time. You can also visit the nearby Sentinel Dome from here for 360-degree views of the mountain range.

FAQs

What is the best month to visit Yosemite?

The best time to visit Yosemite is between the months of May and September. The park attracts 75% of its visitors during these months.

How many days are enough for Yosemite?

Depending on what you want to see in Yosemite, you will need between 2 and 5 days in the park to truly be able to experience the different sights, experiences and hikes it has to offer.

Is Yosemite better than Yellowstone?

While we cannot compare the two, it is important to note that Yosemite is open for different activities and many parts are available to explore during the winter as well, but that is not the same case with Yellowstone.

Should I go to Yosemite or Sequoia?

Redwood groves like Mariposa Grove and Merced Groves in Yosemite National Park are a must visit.

What is Yosemite known for?

Yosemite is a national park known for its stunning natural landscape with tall granite hills, mesmerizing waterfalls and rainbows, and some of the best hiking trails in the country.

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