Yosemite National Park
PO Box 577
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
WELCOME to Yosemite!
Yosemite National Park, one of the
first wilderness parks in the United States, is best known for its
waterfalls, 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.
You can visit Yosemite all year,
though some areas of the park are inaccessible by car from
approximately November through May due to snow. You can drive your
car into and around Yosemite, though we encourage you to use shuttle
buses in some areas.
Reservations are not required to
enter Yosemite, however we strongly recommend that you make
reservations for camping or lodging if you plan to spend the night.
For tens of thousands of years,
humans have changed, and have been changed by, this place we now
call Yosemite. The Ahwahneechee lived here for generations, followed
by the arrival of Europeans in the mid-1800s. The rugged terrain
challenged many early travelers, with just a few�only 650 from the
mid-1850s to mid-1860s�making the journey to Yosemite Valley by
horseback or stagecoach. By 1907, construction of the Yosemite
Valley Railroad from Merced to El Portal eased the journey, thereby,
increasing visitation. Today, 3.5 million people enter the park�s
gates to explore. We learn from the stories of those who walked
Yosemite�s trails before us, allowing appreciation of their
lasting footprints that led to conscious preservation.
Seven present-day tribes descend from the people who first called
this area home. As Europeans arrived in the mid-1800s, violent
disruption ensued that displaced the native populations. Early white
settlers arrived and hosted writers, artists, and photographers who
spread the fame of "the Incomparable Valley" throughout
Within Yosemite�s history, various cultures abounded that left a
mark. Historic mining sites remain from miners who came to the
Sierra to seek their fortune in gold. Early lodging establishments,
like the Wawona Hotel, offered a more primitive setting for the
Valley�s first tourists and today's visitors, and more elegant
lodging, like The Ahwahnee, was added to satisfy those looking for
History books detail the Mariposa Battalion entering Yosemite Valley
in 1851 to remove the Ahwahneechee. As Euro-American settlement
occurred, people arrived on foot, on horseback and by rail to rustic
hotels. Parts of the landscape were exploited, spurring
conservationists to appeal for protections. President Abraham
Lincoln signed an 1864 bill granting Yosemite Valley and the
Mariposa Grove to the State of California. John Muir helped spark
the creation of Yosemite National Park in 1890.
Archeological and architectural recognition honor Yosemite's past.
Archeologists systematically study the things left behind to uncover
clues about historic cultures, economic systems, settlement
patterns, demography, and social organizations. Architects make note
of the National Park Service Rustic Style of many Yosemite
structures representing the belief that buildings should blend in
with natural surroundings.
Research and Studies: A
plethora of ongoing scientific research abounds at Yosemite from
vista management to soundscape preservation to human carrying
capacity issues. Yosemite has been building its Division of Resource
Management and Science, serving as a public meeting place for
scientific symposiums with papers presented at monthly forums. View
the schedule for this year's Yosemite Forum.
Yosemite National Park, which boasts
nearly 95 percent designated Wilderness, is a 195-mile escape from
urban San Francisco or a 313-mile journey from populated Los
Angeles. The expansive park�s 747,956 acres or 1,169 square miles
are home to hundreds of wildlife species and thousands of Yosemite
plants. Designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, Yosemite is known
for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia
groves and biological diversity. Two Wild & Scenic Rivers, the
Tuolumne and Merced rivers, begin within Yosemite and flow west into
the Central Valley. People experience the park through 800 miles of
hiking trails and 350 miles of road.
Places to Picnic
- Inspiration Point
- Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center
- Wowona Information Center (3
- Yosemite Creek
- Yosemite Valley Visitor Center (5
Did You Know?
Black bears in Yosemite are active both day and night. Most bears
that rely on natural food sources are active during the day.
However, those that get food from people are often active at night,
when they can quietly sneak around and grab unattended food.
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