Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite National Park Photos
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Yosemite National Park is arguably one of our most beautiful national parks. What I find so special about Yosemite is that it changes with every season. We love going in the fall for the peace and quiet and the colors and also in the spring for the roaring waterfalls. However, the winter is a magical time there and most people definitely visit during the summer months. It is no wonder that so many artists and photographers make the pilgrimage to the park. It truly is a stunning place.
Yosemite National Park covers nearly 1,200 square miles of mountainous terrain in the Sierra Nevada. The Valley is world famous for its impressive waterfalls, meadows, cliffs, and unusual rock formations. It is accessible by car all year. Although Yosemite Valley is the most visited part of the park there are many other beautiful parts waiting to be explored.
Both main roads into the Valley have groves of giant sequoias along them. The Mariposa Grove is the largest grove of giant sequoias and is near the park's South Entrance. The Merced Grove is near Crane Flat along Highway 120. Both groves are truly awe inspiring to walk through and witness Mother Nature's power.
Wawona is the home to the historic Wawona Hotel and The Pioneer Yosemite History Center. Wawona is a great place to stay away from the crowds of the valley and yet still be able to enjoy all of the parks finery. Glacier Point and Badger Pass ski area are an hours drive from the valley floor. Glacier Point gives you absolutely fantastic views of the valley and Badger Pass is great for downhill and cross-country skiing in the winter.
Tuolumne Meadows is 40 miles from Crane Flat along scenic Tioga Road. The drive takes you though forests and past meadows, lakes, and granite domes. Tuolumne Meadows is a large, open sub-alpine meadow shaped by the winding Tuolumne River and surrounded by majestic peaks and domes. Hetch Hetchy Valley is a lesser known twin to Yosemite Valley. It is home to spectacular scenery and is the starting point for many less-used wilderness trails. It's also the home of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, which is the source of drinking water for much of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Some tips for visiting Yosemite Valley: Make reservations for staying overnight in the Valley as early as possible. We make ours one year ahead of our planned stay. Park your car and leave it there. The shuttle system in the Valley is wonderful and will take you right to 99% of the places you'd want to go. If you are so inclined, consider bringing bikes. The 12 miles of bike paths in the Valley are fantastic.