Although Yosemite National Park was not recognized as a US national park until 1890, it has been a source of enormous interest to tourists ever since non-native settlers began clashing with its native inhabitants in the 1850s. Over time, two competing visions of its future came to be. One sought to claim the region for human use, covering it in homesteads while converting its lush meadows into orchards and pastures. In contrast, the other sought to preserve and protect its natural beauties, which have found and continue to find firm purchase in the human imagination. In the end, a collaboration between John Muir and Robert Underwood Johnson convinced Congress to set aside more than 1,500 square miles of forestland as Yosemite National Park, which soon expanded to incorporate the earlier Yosemite Grant.
Yosemite National Park
In modern times, Yosemite Park remains as a reminder of the Californian landscape that existed before non-native settlement. Much of its expanse is still clothed in firs, pines, and other old-growth conifers, which fade at higher elevations to expose the cold and austere granite of the Sierra Nevada. Here and there, untouched meadows lie scattered throughout the mountainous landscape, serving as home to numerous species interested in either the rivers that run through them or the other animals gathered there. In short, it is no coincidence that more than 400 vertebrate species can be found in the confines of Yosemite Park, which lends luster to its status as one of the most prestigious national parks in the United States.
Befitting its diverse landscape, Yosemite Park can be explored using a number of methods, including but not limited to biking, hiking, rock climbing, and even watercraft. However, it is important to note that not all methods can be used to experience the national park at all times. For example, much of Yosemite Park is closed starting in late autumn because snow renders the trails impassable. In contrast, winter activities such as skiing and snowshoeing are not possible except between the months of December and April.
If you are visiting Yosemite Park in either spring or summer, your car is one of the easiest methods with which to tour its vast expanse, competing with its shuttle bus system. Using either method, you can learn about Yosemite Park at educational facilities such as the Yosemite Museum and the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center, while also visiting historic landmarks such as the Ahwahnee Hotel and the LeConte Memorial Lodge. However, even more options open up if you are willing to step out of your car. Following the trails lets you see more of the Sierra Nevada than otherwise possible, ranging from the roaring torrent of Yosemite Falls to the giant sequoias of the Mariposa Grove. Similarly, choosing to climb lets you see sites such as Camp 4 in Yosemite Valley, Lyell Glacier resting atop Mount Lyell, and even the iconic rock formation called El Capitan.
In short, if you are interested in experiencing the Sierra Nevada in all of its untamed splendor, there is no better choice than Yosemite National Park for your next adventure in the Great Outdoors.