In Miwok, the name “Yosemite” means “killer” which originally referred to the name of a rebel tribe that was driven out of the area and probably destroyed by the Mariposa Battalion. Previously, the area was called “Ahwahnee” which means “big mouth” by native people. It is popular for its gigantic ancient redwoods, as well as for Half Dome, Tunnel View and the iconic panorama of the towering Bridalveil Falls and the granite cliffs of El Capitan. In the village of Yosemite, you’ll find shops, restaurants, accommodations, the Yosemite Museum and the Ansel Adams Gallery, with impressions of the photographer’s famous black and white landscapes.
Location: Situated at the west of Sierra Nevada in central California, Yosemite National Park is an American National Park bounded to the south-east by the Sierra National Forest and northwest by the Stanislaus National Forest.
The Park Area: The Park covers an area of 747,956 acres and is divided into four counties: Tuolumne and Mariposa, extending north and east to Mono and south to Madera County and managed by the National Parks Services.
Beauty of Yosemite Park: Yosemite National Park, in beautiful Mariposa County, invites you to discover this majestic park during the four seasons. Yosemite is internationally renowned for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant redwood groves, lakes, mountains, meadows, glaciers and biological diversity. Nearly 95% of the park is designated desert. Yosemite is one of the largest and least fragmented habitat blocks in Sierra Nevada, and the park is home to a diversity of plants and animals. The park has an elevation of between 2,127 and 13,114 feet and includes five large areas of vegetation: oak and Holm oak forests, lowland forests, high mountain forests, subalpine areas and mountains. Of the 7,000 species of plants in California, about 50% are present in Sierra Nevada and more than 20% in Yosemite. The park is home to habitats suitable for over 160 rare plants, with rare local geological formations and unique lands that characterize the limited areas occupied by many of these plants. The geology of the Yosemite area is characterized by granite rocks and remains of older rocks. About 10 million years ago, the Sierra Nevada was raised and then tilted to form its relatively gentle western slopes and the most dramatic eastern slopes. Lifting has increased the slope of waterways and rivers, resulting in the formation of deep and narrow canyons. About a million years ago, snow and ice accumulated forming glaciers on the highest alpine meadows that moved along the river valleys. Ice thickness in Yosemite Valley may have reached 4,000 feet during the first glacial episode. The downward movement of the ice masses has carved and sculpted the U-shaped valley that attracts so many visitors in its panoramic views today.
Things to Do in Yosemite National Park
• Half Dome: Half Dome is a granite dome located at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley, in Yosemite National Park, California. It is a famous rock formation in the park, named for its distinct form. One side is a pure face, while the other three are smooth and rounded, giving the impression of a dome cut in half. The granite ridge rises more than 4,000 meters above the valley floor.
• Yosemite Falls: Yosemite Falls is the highest fall in Yosemite National Park, with a total of 2,425 feet from the top of the upper fall to the base of the lower waterfall. Located in California’s Sierra Nevada, it is a major attraction in the park, especially in late spring, when the flow of water is at its maximum.
• Yosemite Valley: is a glacial valley located in the western mountains of Sierra Nevada, in Yosemite National Park, central California. The valley has a length of about 12 km and a depth of about 3,000 to 3,500 feet. It is surrounded by high granitic peaks such as Half Dome and El Capitan and is densely wooded with pines. The valley is drained by the Merced River and a multitude of streams and waterfalls flow there, including the Tenaya, Illilouette, Yosemite and Bridalveil creeks. Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in North America and is a major attraction. Specially in the spring, when the flow of water is at its peak. The valley is renowned for its natural environment and is considered the best part of Yosemite National Park, attracting visitors from around the world.
• Glacier Point: Glacier Point is a viewpoint over the Yosemite Valley in California, United States. It is located on the south wall of the Yosemite Valley, at an elevation of 7,214 feet, 3,200 feet above the village of Half Dome. This point offers superb views of many of Yosemite National Park’s famous sites, including Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, Vernal Fall, Nevada Fall and Clouds Rest.
• El Capitan: also known as El Cap, is a vertical rock formation of Yosemite National Park, located on the north side of the Yosemite Valley, near its western end. The granite monolith is about 3000 feet from the base to the summit along its highest face, and is a popular goal for climbers. In 1851, the Mariposa Battalion explored the valley and named the formation “El Capitan”. El Capitan (“Captain”, “Chief”) was taken to be a loose Spanish translation of the local Indian name for the cliff, variously transcribed as “To-to-kon oo-lah” or “To-tock-ah-noo-lah” It is unclear whether the Native American name refers to a specific tribal leader or if he simply meant “the chef” or “the chef rock”. You can reach the summit of El Capitan by taking the Yosemite Valley, following the Yosemite Falls trail, then west. For mountaineers, the challenge is to climb the granite floor. There are many named climbing routes, all challenging, including Iron Hawk and Sea of Dreams.
• Tunnel View: Tunnel View is a panoramic view of State Route 41 in Yosemite National Park. Visitors have seen and documented the iconic and expansive views of the Yosemite Valley since its opening since it opened in 1933. Internationally renowned artists, intended for occasional tourists, have painted, drawn and photographed the spectacular landscapes of here and there of the surroundings since the 19th century.
• Bridalveil Fall: Bridalveil Fall is one of the most important waterfalls in Yosemite Valley, California, in Yosemite National Park. The waterfall has a height of 188 meters and flows all year round.
• Tuolumne Meadows: Tuolumne Meadows is an area of soft sub-alpine meadows dotted along the Tuolumne River in the eastern portion of Yosemite National Park in the United States. Its approximate location is 37 ° 52.5’N and 119 ° 21’W. Its approximate elevation is 8.619 feet. The term Tuolumne Meadows is also often used to describe much of the high Yosemite country around the meadows, especially in the context of climbing.
• Tioga Pass: Tioga Pass is a mountain pass located in the mountains of Sierra Nevada California. National Highway 120 runs through it and serves as the eastern gateway to Yosemite National Park at the entrance to Tioga Pass. It is the highest pass in California and Sierra Nevada. Tioga Pass takes its name from the Tioga mine, whose name comes from New York: “Tioga” takes its name from an Iroquois term and Mohawk meaning “where it forked”.
• Mariposa Grove: Mariposa Grove is situated near Wawona, California, in the southernmost part of Yosemite National Park. It is a redwood grove, the largest grove of giant sequoia trees in the park, with several hundred mature specimens. Two of its trees are among the 30 largest giant sequoia trees in the world. The grove closed on July 6, 2015 for a restoration project and was reopened on June 15, 2018.
Restaurants near Yosemite: Restaurants in the area range from casual dining, to picnics, from a market to hamburgers, sandwiches, pizzas, pastas and even luxury dinners. The Yosemite restaurants are perfect, whether you’re staying in a hotel, motel, B & B or even when you’re camping in Yosemite Mariposa County. The place is the 1850’s restaurant for “crooked hamburgers” and locally brewed beer. If you are in the Wawona / Fish Camp area, stop at the Jackalope bar and grill at the Tenaya Lodge to enjoy locally sourced dishes that include gluten and vegan options. If custom sandwiches are your thing, go to the high-end Country food store in the Mariposa area for a healthy and delicious lunch. Or maybe you just need to recharge with a hot cup of Joe or a cold coffee drink. If so, go to Moonbow Espresso or Pony Expresso off Highway 140 in Mariposa to meet your needs with caffeine. At Midpines, visit the June Bug Café for a casual American meal, which includes Yosemite vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Stay in a vacation rental or in a cabin? Get closer to Mariposa Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza, grab a cake and bring it for an unforgettable night in your home away from home.