Yosemite - UNESCO world
was not the first National Park in the USA; that was Yellowstone.
Yosemite gained park status in 1890, making it one of the
oldest nature reserves in the United States. Yosemite is one
of 12 UNESCO Natural World Heritage Sites in the USA, and one of two
such sites in California (the other being Redwoods national and state
in the Sierra Nevada
mountains, almost four hours drive due east of San Francisco, Yosemite
National Park is loved and renowned for its forests and rocks.
It is home to some of the mightiest
giant sequoia trees in the USA, to some of the highest waterfalls in
the USA, and to spectacular sheer granite cliffs, most notably El Capitan and the Half Dome.
There are five accesses to Yosemite National Park, four on the western
side, and one on the east. The busiest entrance and the one most easily
accessible from San Francisco is the Big Oak Flat
entrance, on Highway 120.
Highway 120 runs through the park area, exiting at Tioga Pass
, near Mt.
Dana, which is the eastern entrance to the park, close to Mono Lake.
The least busy entrance is at the Hetch Hetchy
entrance, giving access to the wilderness area around Mather in the
north of the National Park.
The most interesting entrance to Yosemite is the Arch Rock
on Highway 140, from Mariposa and Incline, that brings visitors in
under Arch Rock, a natural tunnel, and past El Portal.
Recreation in Yosemite
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Yosemite is above all a recreation area. While it is quite
possible to come for the day, drive round, see the sights and drive out
again before nightfall, visitors who do this will miss out on a big
part of the Yosemite experience. The best way to appreciate Yosemite is
to spend at least a couple of days in the park, and experience it to
the full. Yosemite is a paradise for camping, hiking, cycling, enjoying
nature, photography, backpacking, and mountaineering. In addition,
there are opportunities for fishing, horseback riding and golf, as well
as winter sports, including downhill and cross-country skiing and
at 739 metres (2,425 ft), constitute the twentieth highest waterfall in
the world, and the third highest in the continental USA. However the
falls are off the main Yosemite valley, and to get a good view of them
means hiking up into the hills. Consequently, Yosemite's best known
waterfall is the the Bridalveil
a "mere" 189 metres (620 ft) in height, but conveniently situated
beside the Yosemite valley road opposite the cliffs of El Capitan.
There are a number of places to stay within the National Park,
including guest lodges and campgrounds.
Not to be missed, just beyond the eastern exit from the Park via
Highway 120, is the amazing Mono
The water in this lake is so saline that it cannot support normal
aquatic life. it is home however to remarkable little shrimps that have
learned to adapt to the very harsh conditions.
Official National Parks Service Yosemite website