Not just a great valley, but a shrine to human foresight, the strength of granite, the power of glaciers, the persistence of life, and the tranquility of the High Sierra.
First protected in 1864, Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls and dramatic granite formations, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.
The brown bear, also known as the grizzly, is on the California state flag. So, why not look for it here in Yosemite? Because there are no more grizzlies in California.
As late as the 1870s, Half Dome was described as “perfectly inaccessible.” Today, people ascend Half Dome several ways. Thousands of hikers reach the top each year by following an 8.5 mile (13.7 km) trail from the valley floor.

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Yosemite National Park

With its scrubby sun-baked chaparral, stately groves of pine, fir, and sequoia, and expanses of alpine woodlands and meadows, Yosemite National Park preserves a Sierra Nevada landscape as it prevailed before Euro-American settlement.

As you approach the park, compare the surrounding lands. Outside Yosemite logging has significantly altered the land. Inside, the park contains some 225,510 acres (91,260 ha) of old-growth forest. The park’s protected habitats support more than 250 species of vertebrates, including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.

The majestic sights of Yosemite National Park delight and inspire visitors of all generations.

World famous waterfalls draw many visitors. Because many of Yosemite’s waterfalls are fed by snowmelt, the flow over each waterfall varies widely throughout the year. However, in seasons when the cascades slow to a trickle, other spectacular natural wonders still reward visitors who make the trip.

Though Yosemite Valley measures less than a mile wide, it’s about 3,000 feet deep and ringed with monumental rock formations.

In addition to its breathtaking scenery, Yosemite is home to diverse and fascinating wildlife. Some species recently on the endangered list now make a home in Yosemite. They include the peregrine falcon, golden eagle, and bighorn sheep. With a keen eye, you may spot some of these animals during your visit.

Yosemite’s diverse landscape harbors 37 species of native trees and hundreds of species of native wildflowers, many of which can be found only in the park.

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