Experience Your Yosemite

Uploaded by yosemitenationalpark on 31.01.2011

In the heart of California's rugged Sierra Nevada
sits Yosemite National Park.
From soaring cliffs and giant waterfalls,
to enormous trees and tranquil meadows,
Yosemite is a landscape of diversity.
The park is the destination for millions of visitors each year,
and with some of the finest scenery in the world,
it's easy to understand why.
Humans are dwarfed by a scale and power
that can only be found in the natural world.
Trees that live for thousands of years,
waterfalls that fall hundreds of feet,
and granite walls that climb unbroken
for more than a half mile.
In Yosemite, these features have combined
to create a landscape like no other.
At over 1,000 square miles,
an entire lifetime could be spent
exploring Yosemite National Park.
95% of the Yosemite is designated wilderness,
free from roads and cars
and crossed with hundreds of miles of trails.
Outside of these wilderness areas,
highways enter Yosemite from the West and South,
while inside the park,
the Tioga Road crosses over the mountains
to the Eastern Sierra.
These roads provide access
to many different areas in Yosemite.
In the center lies Yosemite Valley,
the primary destination for nearly all park visitors.
Half Dome,
Yosemite Falls,
El Capitan,
all of these features and more
are found in Yosemite Valley.
And this is one of the most dramatic examples
of a glacially carved canyon
and its towering cliffs and thundering waterfalls
are among the tallest in the world.
Beginning in the high mountains,
the Merced River tumbles dramatically
into Yosemite Valley.
While on the valley floor,
it winds its way through meadows and forest.
The exceptional scenery known throughout the world
help to inspire the very idea of national parks.
To many visitors,
Yosemite Valley is the heart of Yosemite National Park,
but at just 7 square miles,
the Valley is only one part of a much bigger place.
High above the valley floor,
Glacier Point sits on the South rim of Yosemite Valley.
The Glacier Point road winds its way
through stunning mountain scenery
a short walk provides a bird's eye view of Yosemite Valley,
thousands of feet below.
To the East lies Half Dome and Tenaya Canyon,
while beyond the Valley,
vast forest dominate the Yosemite landscape;
sugar pine,
red fir,
Within Yosemite, some of these trees are the largest
and tallest of their kind,
but in three distinct groves,
stand towering giant sequoias;
the biggest trees in the world.
At the Southwestern corner of the park
lies the largest and more accessible,
the Mariposa Grove.
This is home to some of the largest trees on earth
and to be among these giants is a humbling experience.
These big trees inspired protection of Yosemite
nearly 150 years ago,
and they still inspire visitors today.
The Mariposa Grove is one of the finest forests in the world and
a visit here is an important part of the Yosemite experience.
While the Western slopes are covered with ancient forest,
the high peaks on the East side of Yosemite
present a very different landscape.
North of Yosemite Valley
the Tioga Road winds through wonderland of rock
on its way to Tuolumne Meadows in the Yosemite high country.
Along the way, the road passes on Olmsted Point
where visitors enjoy an interesting view of Half Dome.
Around the corner lies Tenaya Lake;
one of the largest and most accessible lakes in Yosemite
and the perfect place to spend a summer afternoon.
Over the hill from Tenaya Lake, sits Tuolumne Meadows.
Like Yosemite Valley, this land was sculpted by glaciers,
but instead of a deep canyon,
the moving ice formed sharp peaks and rounded domes.
The wide open scenery of Tuolumne Meadows
is very different from other areas of the park
and many of the plants animals found here
are unlike those at lower elevations.
Tuolumne Meadows is a gateway to the Yosemite wilderness and
there are dozens of trails that lead into the mountains.
While some will enjoy short walks
that may last only an hour,
others will begin hikes that can take days or weeks.
A permit is required for overnight visits
and backpackers must carry many pounds of food and equipment,
but for those that are willing and able,
nothing can compare to spending in these mountains.
In this Alpine wonderland,
nature has been reduced to the elemental
rock and ice,
sky and water.
This is Yosemite at its most basic
and a visit here offers the chance for solitude
and inspiration,
as well as excitement and adventure.
The more time you spend exploring Yosemite National Park
the more likely you are to experience change in Yosemite.
In the fall, Yosemite Valley is an explosion of color,
as the shadows lengthen and the days grow shorter.
By the New Year, the mountains are blanketed in white
and the park is transformed into a winter wonderland.
As temperatures drop, waterfalls can become ice-falls.
Usually, winter is a quite time in Yosemite,
but when spring comes,
the park will experience its biggest change.
While the high peaks and passes
are still buried deep under snow,
the lower elevations are a carpet of wild flowers.
This migrating bloom will last throughout the summer
as it slowly works its way up the mountain slope.
As temperatures rise, the snow begins to melt
and quiet waterfalls are brought back to life.
By early summer, the sound of water thunders
throughout the park.
These high flows may last for months, but by summer's end,
the rivers have calmed.
Some creeks and streams will stop running completely
and even Yosemite Falls can run dry.
Exploring a landscape as dynamic as Yosemite National Park
is very rewarding
but the natural forces that make the park so compelling
can also present some very real dangers.
Water is one of Yosemite's biggest detractions.
Generated from melting snow, the water here is cold and swift,
especially in the springtime.
Visitors must respect all warning signs
and realize that wet rocks along streams
and rivers can be very slick.
Do not go beyond fences or railings
and never swim in swift water or above waterfalls.
Even with all this water, it's important to remember
that Yosemite can also be hot and dry.
Protect yourself from the sun,
which is more intense at higher elevations
and carry and drink plenty of water.
Know your limits and always keep safety in mind
as you experience your Yosemite.
The mission of the National Park Service
is to protect the park for future generations,
while providing enjoyment to today's visitors.
This protection makes Yosemite a great place
to see diverse wildlife in its native habitat.
To further protect wildlife and yourself,
do not feed or approach any animal.
For the protection of black bears,
visitors are required to store all food,
garbage, and scented items properly.
Protecting wildlife also means driving with care.
Hundreds of animals, from squirrels to bears,
are struck and killed by cars each year.
Mountain roads are often narrow and winding
and driving conditions can change rapidly.
In the winter, snow and ice can make driving difficult
and four-wheel drive and chain restrictions
are often in effect.
In the summer, traffic and congestion,
especially in Yosemite Valley,
can bring cars to a standstill.
If you park your car,
you will find that there are many other ways
to experience Yosemite National Park.
In the valley, the easiest way to get around
is on the Yosemite shuttle.
These free buses run throughout the day
and they stop at nearly every point of interest
in Yosemite Valley.
In addition to buses,
bicycles are a great way to explore Yosemite.
Miles of bike paths wind through the valley
and rental bikes are available throughout the summer.
For those who are looking for more activity,
Yosemite is a hiker's paradise.
In the valley,
a short trail leads to the base of Yosemite Falls,
while the popular Mist Trail follows the Merced River
up to spectacular Vernal and Nevada Falls.
In Tuolumne Meadows, mountain peaks and alpine lakes
are all within a day's walk.
While in Mariposa Grove, many will visit the Grizzly Giant;
one of the largest trees in Yosemite.
Throughout the park,
hundreds of miles of trails await your discovery.
If you are inspired to learn more about Yosemite,
join a ranger led walk.
Free ranger programs are given daily
and they are a great way to make a deeper connection
to Yosemite National Park.
No matter which part of Yosemite you choose to explore,
a good place to start is at a Visitor Center.
In the valley, an exhibit hall
tells the story of Yosemite's geologic past
as well as its rich natural and human history
while in the theater, the film Spirit of Yosemite
presents a dramatic overview of the park.
At the nearby Indian village,
visitors can learn about the first people of Yosemite Valley
and exhibits and demonstrations at the Indian Cultural Museum
provide a window to the past.
Near the Mariposa Grove, the Wawona Hotel and Golf Course
reminds us of the early years of Yosemite National Park,
while the nearby Pioneer Yosemite History Center
brings the past to life.
A blacksmith's hammer and a horse-drawn coach
transports us to the days of log cabins
and covered bridges.
It's no wonder that so many visitors are drawn
to Yosemite National Park.
From high peaks and deep canyons,
to ancient forests and open meadows,
the diversity of the natural world is on clear display.
Making a connection to Yosemite National Park
requires only one thing,
your presence.
Have a safe visit and help us protect this special place
as you experience your Yosemite.