When you think of Yosemite Park, one of the first things that comes to mind is the impressive waterfalls that it embodies.
If you are a fan of majestic waterfalls, and you would love to see some of the most impressive falls that the US has to offer, then you really need to consider taking a vacation to this park. Yosemite is not only about waterfalls however. It is also stocked full of other natural wonders like glacier-carved mountains, domes and spires, pristine wilderness areas and sequoia forests, lovely lakes and rivers and much more. The park itself encompasses nearly 1,200 square miles of beautiful Sierra wilderness area.
Yosemite's waterfalls are flowing at their most impressive rates in mid to late spring and early summer. The months of January through late March is generally the wet season in Yosemite when most of the precipitation falls as snow or rain. The summer months can often be dry, and the flow over the waterfalls will begin to scale back the further into summer and fall that you go.
Popular areas within Yosemite Park
Some of the most popular areas within the park include the picturesque Yosemite Valley, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, and Wawona Valley.
The Yosemite Valley
Yosemite Valley is where a great majority of Yosemite's more popular attractions can be found, including several of her most impressive waterfalls. It is also where you will find the most popular options for in park Yosemite lodging.
Yosemite Valley Panorama by Ralphman via Flickr (CC By-SA 2.0)
You will catch your first glimpse of Yosemite Valley as you emerge from the Yosemite Tunnel at a point which is aptly named "Tunnel View." From here you can gaze out over the entire valley that stretches out for several miles to the east, culminating with the impressive profile of Half Dome in the far distance. You will also get a fantastic view of Bridalveil Falls from this point as well as the stately El Capitan.
As you continue down the road that leads into the valley, you will find some other of Yosemite's primary highlights including Yosemite Falls with it's magnificent spray as it cascades more than 2,000 feet down the granite cliffs along the valley's northern wall.
Another favorite stop that shouldn't be missed is the Yosemite Chapel which was built in 1879. The chapel is an interdenominational facility and was originally constructed by Samuel Thompson of San Francisco.
Grizzly Giant in Mariposa Grove Yosemite by George Lester via Flickr (CC By-SA 2.0)
Situated just inside Yosemite south gate, you will find the stately grove of giant Sequoia's at Mariposa Grove. It is best to visit Mariposa Grove during the warmer months of May - early October, because the road is often closed during the late fall and winter months, and you would only be able to visit by snowshoeing or skiing.
Two of the trees in The Mariposa Grove are counted amongst the tallest in the world. The most popular tree in the grove is probably the Grizzly Giant which is estimated to be around 2400 years old.
The Wawona Valley is the home of the Wawona Hotel, a national historic landmark with beautiful old-world charm and a rich history relating to the parks early beginnings. Across the road from the hotel you will find the Wawona Golf course – one of the only golf courses that you will find inside any national park in the U.S. This lovely nine-hole course was opened in 1918 and has manages to remain an integral part of the Wawona Valley and Yosemite throughout the years.
This article only scratches the surface about all of the amazing features and attractions that you will find inside Yosemite National Park. Yosemite is a beautiful and fascinating destination which is guaranteed to entice and delight your senses.
You can learn more about what Yosemite Park has to offer by visiting the Yosemite reservations page at the NPR website.
You might also want to check out the following resources for more information: