Yosemite National Park is an area of extraordinary natural beauty in the center of California. It has abundant flora and fauna in addition to majestic mountains, giant trees, vast valleys and peaceful lakes. Every year, millions of travelers visit the park, which stretches across 747,956 acres (302,687 hectares). Glaciers formed the fascinating landscape about 1 million years ago.
See Yosemite Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in the United States. The 2,425-foot (739.1-meter) attraction is one of the park’s most visited sites. Enjoy a picnic on a grassy area nearby while listening to the flowing water.
Get a permit in advance to make the arduous 8.5-mile (13.7-kilometer) hike up Half Dome. Steel cables help hikers climb the steep final section. Some attempt this trek overnight to watch the sunrise from the summit and avoid the afternoon heat. Plan for more than 10 hours for the round trip.
While views from Yosemite Falls and Half Dome are impressive, Glacier Point may be the park’s most spectacular spot. Access the area by car or on foot or skis in winter. Capture photos of the panoramic vista incorporating sparkling granite mountains and tree-covered valleys.
Descend into Yosemite Valley to explore lakes and vegetation. Paddle in the chilly waters of the Merced River.
Investigate some of the world’s largest trees in the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. The Grizzly Giant has a 27 foot (8.2 meter) diameter. Walk through carefully carved gaps for the bizarre experience of standing inside a tree.
Look for many types of wildlife, from spotted owls and white-headed woodpeckers to king snakes and American black bears.
Amtrak trains and tour buses arrive in Yosemite Valley from Los Angeles and San Francisco, which are respectively 300 miles (482.8 kilometers) and 200 miles (321.9 kilometers) from the park. Be sure to make an advance reservation if you plan to stay overnight.
Yosemite National Park is so vast and diverse that you can spend weeks exploring the picturesque region.