Yosemite National Park
As the Yosemite National Park enters it's 110th year, learn about the attractions that have amazed people for over a century.
Yosemite National Park – located in the Sierra Nevada mountains of central California – is a truly spectacular, awe inspiring landscape. In fact the sight so impressed the first white man to look upon it’s grandeur that he was moved to exclaim it as “ a landscape that . . .after all my wanderings still appears as the most beautiful I have ever beheld.”
The area has the distinction of being the first territory ever set aside by Congress for public use and protection in 1864. However, it took another 26 years and the combined efforts of such men as John Muir – quoted above -, Theodore Roosevelt, and other conservationists to bring all of the lands of today’s Yosemite National Park under Federal protection. On October 1, 1890 the United States Congress set aside more than 1500 square miles of reserved forest lands, to be known as Yosemite National Park. Today, 94.5 % of the park’s 1,170 square mile area is dedicated as true wilderness for all who visit to enjoy.
Each year over 4 million visitors experience Yosemite National park for themselves. The Park ranges in altitude from 2000 feet to 13000 feet above sea level. It offers 3 major features – alpine Wilderness, groves of Giant Sequoias, and Yosemite Valley. Lets take a closer look:
Alpine Wilderness – the wilderness of Yosemite is varied. It has about 840 miles of trails and in the winter the added attraction of cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing. Tracks are graded from novice to seasoned back-packer level. If you wish to partake of an overnight tramp, you’ll need to get a Wilderness permit for overnight wilderness travel.
Giant Sequoias – these massive trees can be seen at Crane Flat – a forest and meadow area located 16 miles from Yosemite Valley at the junction of the Big Oak Flat Road and the Tioga Road. The Sequoias can be seen about a mile from here, at Tuolumne Grove. Skis or snowshoes may be needed in winter.
Yosemite Valley – the awesome valley is surrounded by sheer walls of granite and contains a mosaic of beauty – open meadows to oak woodlands, spectacular waterfalls to rare and exotic wildlife.
The plant life of the Park varies according to the altitude. At lower levels, scattered trees, both deciduous and coniferous can be seen. At the level of Yosemite Valley can be found larger stands of conifers and higher up are mountain hemlock and lodge pole pine. The park is home to such animal species as mule deer, squirrels, chipmunks and black bears.
Yosemite National Park is definitely a must see place to visit. Taking in it’s pristine, natural beauty is a great way to renew city weary batteries and get a new lease on life. Why not fit it into your travel itinerary?