Yosemite National Park
“It is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter.” —John Muir
John Muir was among the first to fall in love with and write about Yosemite National Park. Through his writing, he championed the natural beauty and extraordinary wildlife in the wilderness; and as a result Yosemite became one of the first National Parks.
Within its bounds are 1,200 square miles, sequoia forests, valleys, flourishing meadows, and rushing waterfalls. It was considered to be a valley of incomparable grandeur by the Ahwahneechee tribe and its tribal descendants, and by the Europeans who first arrived in the area in the mid-1850s. The park was first protected in 1864.
Indeed, the park is home to some of the most amazing sights in North America. Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in the North Americas at 2,425 feet high. Many of the deep valleys were carved by glaciers millions of years ago. Within the park there are five different ecosystems: The Foothill-Woodland Zone, Lower Montane Forest, Upper Montane Forest, Subapline Forest, and the Alpine Zone. As is clearly evident, Yosemite is hugely diverse, because it provides so many different kinds of habitats in each of these five zones. Essentially, the park houses Mediterranean, high-mountain alpine, and temperate coastal ecosystems, all within a 1,200-mile area.
Among the animals that call the park home are the mule deer, the spotted owl, the black bear, bobcats, the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, and a large variety of bats. The sheer variety of ecosystems in the park is part of the reason that it was designed as a World Heritage Site.
1. What is the highest waterfall in the park?
Yosemite Falls is the highest in the park and in North America at 2.425. Ribbon Falls at 1,612 has the highest vertical drop.
2. Does Yosemite get a lot of snow?
At the higher elevations…above 8000 feet…it snows a lot, typically about 65” a year.
3. What animals might I see?
Black bear, mule deer, squirrels, marmots, and lots of birds. And while bobcats and cougars live in the park, it’s a very rare and lucky occurrence to see one.
4. How high are the mountains in Yosemite?
The highest is Mt. Lyell at 13,114 followed by Mt. Dana at 13,053. The most famous is Half-Dome because of its sheer granite face. El Capitan draws rock climbers from around the world to challenge their abilities on its granite face, giving visitors an excellent opportunity to view this unique sport.
5. What about fishing in the park?
There are 127 major lakes with fish in Yosemite. Trout…rainbow, brown, brook and the elusive golden…are all residents of Yosemite’s lakes and rivers.
6. Does Yosemite have the ancient sequoia tree?
There are 500 giant sequoias in Mariposa Grove. You can hike or take a tram to see these majestic beauties.
7. What's the best place to drive within the park?
The Tioga Road is the most popular drive in Yosemite National Park. Approximately 48 miles in length, it is the highest route in the region, peaking at 9,945 feet at Tioga Pass. Tioga Road winds past dramatic peaks, grassy meadows, and clear-water creeks, and offers travelers glimpses of the park's abundant wildlife. Detours lead to other Yosemite attractions, including White Wolf, Siesta Lake, and the Red Fir Forest.
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