Yosemite National Park is located in the Sierra Nevada region, north east of California near the town of Mariposa, and is one of the first wilderness parks in the United States. Yosemite National Park is a must for adventure lovers and nature enthusiasts. Explore Yosemite National Park and discover the granite cliffs, giant sequoias, waterfalls and other natural wonders. Not only does Yosemite have a vast number of these natural wonders, Yosemite is also home to more than 400 species of vertebrates as well as 20% of California’s flora. Yosemite is a must for those touring in California.
Yosemite National Park’s Wildlife
The natural division between the meadows and forests provide the perfect habitat for animals such as the Yosemite toad, mountain beaver, great gray owl and willow fly catcher. Since the park is part of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, park’s varied elevation provides a home for unique and rare animals such as the pika, yellow-bellied marmot, white-tailed jackrabbit, Clark’s nut cracker and rosy finch. Also located within the park are areas of treeless alpine habitats which are preferred by the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep.
Yosemite National Park has a special status under either California or federal endangered species legislation for a total of 37 animal species currently residing in the park. The park takes extra measures to preserve the integrity of the natural system and preserve the wildlife found in the park by implementing several programs. The success of the black bear is a great example of one of the parks programs to support and preserve the natural habitat in the Sierra Nevada. The program was designed to limit human-bear interactions while still allowing visitors to learn and observe these majestic creatures.
Popular attractions within the park:
Here are some of the most popular destinations within Yosemite National Park you can experience these on your own or by tour.
Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias
Located at the south entrance of Yosemite National Park, you can found around 500 giant sequoias. There sequoias are probably one of the largest living things on earth and some the oldest sequoias are over 4600 years old.
Tioga road is one of the most scenic routes through Yosemite National Park. By travelling on this road via motor vehicle or hiking trails you can experience a wide range of views of the national park. These views include the towering peaks, lush meadows, giant sequoias and beautiful glaciers.
Glacier Point is located on the south wall of Yosemite Valley and is known for being one of the best viewing spots of Yosemite National Park. To get to Glacier Point you must travel along Glacier Point Road or the Four Mile Trail. Make sure you bring your camera as this will be a perfect photo opportunity.
The Half Dome is located on the Eastern end of Yosemite Valley. The Half Dome is completely composed of granite and is created entirely by nature. For a really exciting experience you can try hiking the half dome using cables. Once you reach the top there is a flat area where you can relax and enjoy the view on top of Yosemite’s most famous rock creation.
Camping at Yosemite National Park
There are 13 campsites within the park but most sites require advanced reservations. Reservations for campsites are accepted up to 366 days in advance. There are also group camp sites and horse camp sites, if you plan on reserving a camp spot you can do this by calling 877/444-6777.
Lodging within Yosemite
There are a few places to lodge in Yosemite that can suit different needs from cabins to luxury hotels. For those who prefer luxury accommodation, visit the Ahwahnee. For motel and premium rooms try staying at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls. Curry Village offers some motel accommodation, cabins and canvas tent cabins. For more primitive lodging, perfect for camping without having to set up a tent, stay at House Keeping Camp.
Lodging near Yosemite
There are a few towns near by Yosemite where you can lodge. The closest towns are Foresta, Yosemite West, Wawona, Fish Camp and Lee Vining.
Best Time to Visit Yosemite
You can visit the park all year round, however the best time to visit is during late spring to early fall as most tour will operate at this time. Avoid visiting during winter as the park is often snow laden with limited activities for visitors.
To enter the park is costs $20US per passenger vehicle. If you are planning to lodge at Yosemite it can cost US$74 to $482 per night depending on the style and location of your accommodation. Camping in Yosemite costs around $10 to $20 depending on which camp site you choose.
There is a free shuttle bus, visitor’s centres, park rangers and tours. There are also hiking and climbing facilities, with the Half Dome day hike being the most popular.
Best Tours at Yosemite
You can't visit Yosemite without experiencing some of the amazing and fun tours. Here are three of the best tours.
Yosemite Valley Floor Tour
If you are interested in learning about Yosemite's history, geology, plant life or wildlife and also see some of the most popular site seeing points in the park, then this two hour tour is perfect for you. This tour is operated by the rangers at Yosemite National Park and operates from late spring to early fall via an open air tram. While in October through April you can enjoy this tour is a heated enclosed motor coach. This tour is perfect for those who love taking photographs of beautiful sceneries.
Tuolumne Meadows Hikers Bus
This is an all day tour for adventure lovers. Enjoy a fantastic hiking trail where you will experience Yosemite’s most popular attractions. There are amazing photo opportunities at Olmsted, Tenaya Lake and Tuolumne Meadows. At these stops you can choose to either relax or go on a hike.
Glacier Point Tours
You cannot leave Yosemite without experiencing the amazing glaciers. This is a four hour tour which begins at the valley and goes all the way to Glacier Point. At Glacier Point you will be able to enjoy panoramic views of Yosemite Falls, Nevada and Vernal Falls. Definitely remember to bring your camera! If you are feeling adventurous you can also choose to hike back down to the valley. The tour operates during late spring to early fall.