As Americans are starting to look at getting out and about this summer and looking to squeeze in a trip, many are looking for vacations that are outdoors.
Last week we took a look at the Smoky Mountains area in the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. This week lets head west and check out Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California.
Yosemite National Park was created in 1890 by an act of Congress. It was the first time the U.S. Government protected land for public enjoyment, laying the foundation for the establishment of our national and state park systems. The park is best known for its waterfalls, towering granite monoliths, deep valleys, and ancient sequoias. It encompasses 1189 square miles, and is located about 140 miles east of San Francisco.
The park has just re-opened to the public after being shutdown for 83 days due to the coronavirus pandemic. Like many attractions around the country, the park is taking a phased in approach to opening. Popular landmarks and hiking trails are open, but the museums and visitor centers are still closed. Only one campground is open, but the shuttles around the Valley and at Mariposa Grove won’t be operating at all this summer. Lodging is available at Yosemite Valley Lodge, Curry Village, and Ahwahnee. Only about half the usual number of visitors for this time of year will be able to get in to the park, so you will need reservations to visit.
Let’s take a look at some highlights of the park:
Yosemite Valley is a glacial valley within the park. It is approximately 7.5 miles long and more than 3000 feet deep. It is surrounded by Half Dome and El Capitan. The valley is drained by the Merced River and many streams and waterfalls flow into it.
The Upper, Lower, and Middle Yosemite Falls come together to makeup the highest waterfall in North America. The trail to reach the upper fall is a challenge, but visitors can check out the lower fall much more easily.
Half Dome is one of the most photographed landmarks in the park. Permits are required to hike to the summit, and the trip is only recommended for hardcore, experienced hikers. Best views of Half Dome for everyone else are from Mirror Lake at the base of the stone monolith or from Washburn Point overlook on Glacier Point Road.
Standing at over 3000 feet on the western edge of Yosemite Valley is El Capitan, a gargantuan granite mountain. It is one of the most notable landmarks in the park.
Glacier Point is a 7,214 foot overlook with amazing views of Yosemite Valley and High Sierra crest. Best time to visit is sunrise or sunset when Half Dome and its neighbors turn pink.
The windblown mists of Bridalveil Falls cast a veil across the 620-foot deluge of water. Peak flow is May, but the fall flows year round. The fall is one of the first most people see when they enter the park and it is easily walkable to the base.
Made famous by an Ansel Adams photograph, Wawona Tunnel View is one of Yosemite’s most iconic scenes. From the east side of the tunnel take a panoramic picture of Yosemite Valley, El Capitan, Half Dome and Bridalveil Falls.
And to end this post - check of this great video tour.
We hope you enjoyed your virtual tour of Yosemite and it helps to inspire your next adventure.