Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park
We offer custom escorted tours tours to Yosemite National Park and all the other nearby attractions including Tioga Pass, Tuolumne Meadows, Glacier Point, the Sequoia Mariposa Grove, Mono Lake, Mammoth Lakes and Mammoth Mountain, and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Please call us for tour details.
Experience the grandeur and incredible tranquility of the high Sierra Nevada Mountains in Yosemite National Park, one of the USA’s first wilderness parks. It is legendary for its spectacular granite cliffs, shimmering glacial streams, incredible waterfalls, and ancient giant sequoias. Yosemite’s 747,956 acres (3,026 km2) support more than 400 separate species of vertebrates, including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, as well as laying claim to North America’s tallest waterfall, the 2,425-foot (739 m) Yosemite Falls, and to the granite El Capitan, one of the most popular rock climbing destinations in the world.
For tens of thousands of years, humans have changed, and have been changed by, this place we now call Yosemite. The Ahwahneechee lived here for generations, followed by the arrival of Europeans in the mid-1800s. The rugged terrain challenged many early travelers, with just a few—only 650 from the mid-1850s to mid-1860s—making the journey to Yosemite Valley by horseback or stagecoach. By 1907, construction of the Yosemite Valley Railroad from Merced to El Portal eased the journey, thereby, increasing visitation. Today, 3.5 million people enter the park’s gates to explore. We learn from the stories of those who walked Yosemite’s trails before us, allowing appreciation of their lasting footprints that led to conscious preservation.
Seven present-day tribes descend from the people who first called this area home. As Europeans arrived in the mid-1800s, violent disruption ensued that displaced the native populations. Early white settlers arrived and hosted writers, artists, and photographers who spread the fame of "the Incomparable Valley" throughout the world.
Up to 4 million visitors per year enjoy some of Yosemite National Park's more notable features, including Yosemite Falls and Half Dome. The much-photographed Yosemite Falls is fed mostly by snow melt. Peak flow usually happens in late May, but by August, Yosemite Falls is often dry. It begins flowing again a few months later, after winter snows arrive.
Rising nearly 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley and 8,800 feet above sea level, Half Dome is a Yosemite icon and a great challenge to many hikers. Despite an 1865 report declaring that it was "perfectly inaccessible, being probably the only one of the prominent points about the Yosemite which never has been, and never will be, trodden by human foot," George Anderson reached the summit in 1875, in the process becoming the predecessor to today's cable route. Today, thousands of people reach the summit. For most, it is an exciting, arduous hike; for a few, it becomes more of an adventure than they wanted. Indeed, park rangers assist hundreds of people on the Half Dome trail every summer.