Yosemite National Park USA
The majestic sights of Yosemite National Park delight and inspire visitors of all generations. Take a quick tour of some of our most popular Yosemite Park attractions, including amazing natural features, and the plants and animals that make the park their home.
Discover the highest waterfall in North America — and the sixth largest in the world: Yosemite Falls. At 2,424 feet, the waterfall is a major attraction in the park, located in the central Sierra Nevada mountain range of California. It’s best viewed in late spring when snowmelt flows most vigorously.
At Yosemite, waterfalls draw visitors from around the globe year after year. Because many of Yosemite’s waterfalls are fed by snowmelt, the amount of water rushing over each waterfall can vary widely throughout the year. In addition, numerous other falls can be seen during the spring run-off or after a heavy rainstorm.
For a few weeks in February, if the water is flowing in Horsetail Fall, photographers and park visitors gather in the waning evening light for an amazing natural display. The Horsetail Fall phenomenon appears when the angle of the setting sun sets the waterfall ablaze with reds and oranges, like a fire was falling down the cliffs on the shoulder of El Capitan.
The granite dome in the background is Yosemite’s most popular rock formation: Half Dome. The granite crest rises more than 4,737 feet above the valley floor — hikers can ascend it with the use of cables
A visit to Yosemite isn’t complete without leaving the valley floor and hiking up to Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall where the Merced River “stairsteps” toward the valley floor. The two falls flow all year with peak flows in May and June. Vernal Fall is visible from the footbridge (.8 mile from the trailhead), but you may want to continue up the 600 steps of the Mist Trail the top experiencing a cooling mist gleaming with rainbows.
For an extra treat, continue to the pounding Nevada Fall and enjoy spectacular views along the way.
Discover this meadowy section of Yosemite along the Tuolumne River. Wild, wonderful plant and tree species to explore include Ross’s sedge, Lodgepole Pine and dwarf bilberry. The area also offers day-hike and camping opportunities (the park service campground is open July through late September)
In addition to its breathtaking scenery, Yosemite’s wildlife is both diverse and fascinating. Some formerly endangered species like the peregrine falcon, golden eagle and bighorn sheep can now be found in Yosemite. With a keen eye, you may be lucky enough to spot some of these beautiful animals during your visit.
Thank the 145-mile-long Merced River: It’s responsible for carving out the glacial valley known as Yosemite Valley. The valley is about 8 miles long and a mile deep, with an amazing vantage point offered at Valley View. This turnout is located near the park exit, traveling west on Northside Drive.
Yosemite Valley, approximately 3,000 feet deep and less than a mile wide, is known for its incredible rock formations, created from plutonic rock that cooled far below the earth’s surface. Some of the most famous Yosemite cliffs, mountains & rock formations are:
- Half-Dome (8,842ft)
- Sentinel Rock (7,038ft)
- El Captain (7,569ft)
- Mt. Lyell (13,114ft)
- Mt. Dana (13,053ft)
- Matterhorn Peak (12,264ft)
- Clacier Point (7,214ft)
Get Around and Things to Do In Yosemite National Park
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