First protected in 1864, Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.
Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the USA, at least four million people visit a year. This is partly because of its proximity to the population centers of Los Angeles and San Francisco but is mostly due to the incredible natural beauty of Yosemite Valley.
Yosemite National Park is nearly 1,200 square miles filled with towering waterfalls, millennia-old Sequoia trees, daunting cliff faces and some of the most unique rock formations in the United States. 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.
Rock climbers will find few vertical rock formations as challenging as El Capitan. At one time “El Cap,” which stretches roughly 3,000 feet from base to top, was considered impossible to climb. Today, the most popular route to tackle is The Nose, which follows the rock’s huge projecting front. Even inexperienced hikers can enjoy Yosemite — guided tours and climbing lessons are offered from local adventure outfitters.
Despite its enormous size, most of the tourist activity takes place within a seven-square-mile area of Yosemite Valley. Mariposa Grove near Wawona at the southern entry to Yosemite National Park contains a magnificent stand of giant Sequoia trees.
These 300 feet (100 meter) tall trees with trunks up to 30 feet (10 meters) in diameter are well worth visiting. Over 95% of the park is designated as wilderness area. The park itself, located in the central-eastern part of California, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the third oldest national park in the U.S.