The Yosemite National Park enjoys great renown among adventurers, nature lovers and families because of its spectacular landscapes filled with an abundance of showy wildflowers, magnificent trees and impressive wildlife. Visitors to the area are in awe of the imposing granite cliffs, thunderous waterfalls and Giant Sequoia groves – all of which are testament to its biological diversity. In fact, it has been designated as a World Heritage Site in 1984 and as recommended by Travel Lens this should top on your must visit list if you are coming to San Jose.
The Yosemite National Park is obviously under the administration of the National Park Service of the United States of America. It is located in east central California spanning the counties of Tuolumne, Mariposa and Madera and then reaching into the Sierra Nevada’s western slopes. It covers an area of approximately 3,080 square kilometers of which almost 95 percent is considered as true wilderness area.
Such is the large area of the Yosemite National Park that there are five major vegetation zones, namely, oak woodland, upper montane, lower montane, subalpine, and alpine. The impressive biological diversity within the park is such that 20 percent of the state’s 7,000 plant species can be found here. Plus, over 160 are plants have been formally documented in the park.
Like all other national parks in the United States, the Yosemite National Park has free admission for visitors of all nationalities – no need for reservations. It is open 24 hours a day for 365 days a year except for certain areas usually for safety reasons. For example, the Hetch Hetchy Entrance Station is closed during the nighttime and roads can be closed because of unsafe road conditions from heavy snowfall from November to June.
Otherwise, the Yosemite National Park offers great experiences the whole year-round. Each season definitely has its advantages so choosing what time of year to go visit depends largely on personal preferences, budget and goals for adventure.
Let’s take summer and winter, for example. Summer runs from June through September with the park exploding in delightful sights and sounds all around. All areas within the park are now accessible to all forms of land transportation including cars, bicycles and recreational vehicles. The wildflowers are in full bloom including redbuds, lupine, Mariposa lily and flowering dogwood by June with July still seeing gentian, yarrow and shooting stars in full bloom.
Winter runs from December through March, a season characterized by solitude in white. Downhill and cross-country skiing are possible at the Badger Pass Ski Area and in other mountain passes. Visitors are well-advised to use tire chains on cars to cope with the slippery road conditions.
Best Places to Visit
With the hundreds of beautiful places to visit at the Yosemite National Park, it will be a great injustice to the area’s magnificence to play favorites. Nonetheless, the following are a few of the most popular places to see in the park:
- Yosemite Falls is an impressive sight, indeed
- Yosemite Valley is famous for its array of meadows, cliffs, waterfalls and odd rock formations
- Mariposa Grove is the world’s largest known stand of giant sequoias
Before setting foot inside the Yosemite National Park, it is an excellent idea to plan your trip so as to be on the safe side. Ask for assistance from the National Park Service office for suggestions on your itinerary as well as tips for safety and general park rules.