Yosemite National Park
Of Yosemite National Park, famed photographer Ansel Adams once said, "Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.” Truly, there are few places on earth so worth the praise and honor as Yosemite.
Established in 1864, Yosemite National Park consists of 1,200 square miles of deep valleys, meadows, giant sequoias, and a vast natural wilderness area that encompasses 95% of the entire park. Yosemite first was home to seven different Native American tribes, but quickly grew into a tourism hot spot for California after the word of its intense beauty spread quicker than wildfire.
Wildlife viewing is one of the more anticipated aspects of the park. Yosemite is also home to over 400 vertebrates, an area of extremely high biodiversity due to its varying degrees of elevation and geology. Cross paths with bobcats, coyotes, mule deer, and marmots and perhaps even black bears or mountain lions, preferably at a distance. Ranger-led programs allow you to experience the park and learn about the wildlife and landscape with a trained professional, for those who want a more in-depth informational adventure.
More than 3.5 million visitors choose Yosemite every year, making it one of the most popular national parks in the country. Recreational activities are at topmost priority for most visitors with hiking, biking, camping, and other offered experiences. Half Dome, the most notable feature, the peak rises over 8,000 feet, a cliff face of Plutonic granite that shears the mountainside seemingly in half. Hiking to the top of El Capitan offers the brave incomparable views of the Yosemite Valley and the neighboring mountains. For those who prefer a safer and more relaxed experience, the lovely Horsetail Falls is viewable from the El Capitan picnic area at the mountain’s base and offers photographers a captivating shot of the falls as they apparently turning red when lit by the setting sun.