is incredibly beautiful, but can be powerful and deadly. Sixteen
people died in Yosemite's creeks and rivers between 2002
. Yosemite Search and Rescue
rangers share their knowledge of common mistakes and how to avoid them.
Yosemite National Park
covers nearly 1,200
square miles of mountainous terrain in the Sierra Nevada
. From high peaks and deep canyons to ancient forests and quiet meadows, the diversity of the world is on display here. At Yosemite you can see the tranquillity of the High Sierra
, the power of glaciers, giant sequoia groves, thundering waterfalls, clear streams and much more. Designated
a World Heritage Site
, Yosemite is also home to hundreds of wildlife and plant species. Two Wild
& Scenic Rivers
, the Tuolumne and Merced
rivers, begin in the park and flow west to the Central Valley
experience the park's 800 miles of hiking trails and 282 miles of road.
Visitors fall in love with the park's many waterfalls, specifically 2,425-foot Yosemite Falls
that ranks as the tallest in North America
, flowing down into the scenic Valley
meadows. Hikers take notice of the enormous granite mountains from the 8,842-foot Half Dome
to the 13,114-foot Mt. Lyell-Yosemite's tallest peak. Glaciers
, which John Muir
sought out in California as well as Alaska
, add into the mix with the Maclure and Lyell still intact.
"It is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature
I was ever permitted to enter." —John Muir
: Yosemite supports more than 400 species of vertebrates, including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Overall, the park's widespread coniferous forests--with a relatively mild climate and a mixture of plant species--provide a lush habitat for animals to live. Wildlife species
typically found include mule deer, black bear, bobcat, gray fox, mountain kingsnake, Gilbert's skink
, white-headed woodpecker, brown creeper, spotted owl, and a wide variety of bat species. 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.
up or down in elevation and feel as though you are in another park. Vegetation changes from oak woodlands to chaparral scrublands to lower montane to upper montane to subalpine to alpine. Those who step into the alpine zone can see krummholz whitebark pines and perhaps a western juniper or mountain hemlock. Scientists
study many individual plants, including the black oak, to understand its future challenges.
TRAVEL & TOURISM
Yosemite is open all year, though some areas of the park are inaccessible by car from approximately November through May due to snow.
Distances and Driving Times
From: San Francisco/Bay area
(195 mi, 4-5 hours); Sacramento
(176 mi, 4 hours); Reno & Lake Tahoe
(June through October, conditions permitting, 218 mi, 5 hours/All year, 315 mi, 8 hours); Los Angeles area
mi, 6 hours); San Diego area
(441 mi, 8 hours); Las Vegas
(June through October, conditions permitting, 642 km, 8 hours / November through May, 797 km, 8-10 hours)
Drivers can enter Yosemite National Park by several routes:
From the West
and Most Scenic: CA Hwy 140
This route is by far the most scenic drive into Yosemite National Park and the best way to go if you're visiting for the first time. It's
open most of the time and passes through the towns of Mariposa
and Fish Camp
. It's also a popular route for people driving to Yosemite from the San Jose
From the West: CA Hwy 120
most any time, this route goes through Oakdale
and Groveland and is often used by visitors from the San Francisco Bay area
and northern California. It passes through fruit and almond orchards, small agricultural towns, fruit stands and ranches in the rolling foothills before ascending sharply up the Priest Grade
to Big Oak Flat
and the old gold mining town of Groveland.
From the South
: CA Hwy 41
From US Hwy 99
, Hwy 41 runs north and west toward Yosemite's South Entrance
, which takes you through the towns of Oakhurst
and Fish Camp and into the park near the Mariposa Grove
of giant sequoias and Wawona.
From the East
: CA Hwy 120 and Tioga Pass
To find out more about traveling this route, average opening and closing dates, check the guide to the Tioga Pass.
From the East: Other Mountain
Other mountain passes that can get you across the Sierras
near Yosemite include the Sonora Pass
(CA Hwy 108
), Monitor Pass
(CA Hwy 89
) and Ebbetts Pass
(CA Hwy 4
may also close these routes in winter, but they are sometimes open when Tioga Pass is still snow-clogged.
Yaroooh! for Kids
- published: 01 Feb 2014
- views: 14228