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Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park.

The National Park Service describes Yosemite as "embracing a spectacular tract of mountain and valley scenery in the Sierra Nevada", which was set aside as a National Park in 1890.The park harbors a grand collection of waterfalls, meadows and forests that include groves of giant sequoias, the worlds largest living things.

Yosemite Valley is open year-around and numerous activities are available through the National Park Service, Yosemite Conservancy and Aramark at Yosemite, including nature walks, photography and art classes, stargazing programs, tours, bike rentals, rafting, mule and horseback rides, and rock climbing classes. Many people enjoy short walks and longer hikes to waterfalls in Yosemite Valley, or walks among giant sequoias in the Mariposa, Tuolumne, or Merced Groves. Others like to drive or take a tour bus to Glacier Point (summer?fall) to see views of Yosemite Valley and the high country, or drive along the scenic Tioga Road to Tuolumne Meadows (May?October) and go for a walk or hike.

Most park visitors stay just for the day, and visit only those locations within Yosemite Valley that are easily accessible by automobile. Traffic congestion in the valley is a serious problem during peak season in summer. A free shuttle bus system operates year-round in the valley, and park rangers encourage people to use this system since parking within the valley during the summer is often nearly impossible to find. Transit options are available from Fresno and Merced.

In addition to exploring the natural features of the park, visitors can also learn about the natural and cultural history of Yosemite Valley at a number of facilities in the valley: the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center, the adjoining Yosemite Museum, and the Nature Center at Happy Isles. There are also two National Historic Landmarks: the Sierra Club?s LeConte Memorial Lodge (Yosemite"s first public visitor center), and the Ahwahnee Hotel. Camp 4 was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

In the winter, it is snowed in, but the area of Tuolumne Meadows has a great deal of hiking, rock climbing, and mountain climbing.