Some of the best vacation experiences in the world are those that center around visiting natural and outdoor settings. These destinations offer visitors the chance to see some of the finest natural scenery, whether they be rock formations, cliffs, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, forests, or anything else. One of the best outdoor settings to schedule a vacation or long weekend to is Yosemite National Park. This treasure in the United States National Park system has entertained and thrilled visitors for more than a century and people traveling there are continually amazed by the scenery that can be both viewed and experienced.
This park was established in 1890 and covers an area of more than 750,000 acres in central California. The park stretches across much of the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain range and is home to a great many natural features and types of wild life. Some of the many types of wildlife that can be found within the park include bobcat, skink, woodpecker, brown creeper, American black bear, mule deer, gray fox, and more. The park is also home to a number of different types of trees including pine, fir, sequoia, and more. The Pacific Crest Trail runs through the park on its way from Mexico in the south all the way to Canada in the north.
Here is a brief look at eight amazing natural attractions within Yosemite National Park that should not be missed. If you plan on visiting to Yosemite, try going on southwest or expedia. Southwest vacations has great package deals to your favorite destinations. Also with a southwest vacations promo code you can even save more. Expedia is the leading online travel agency in the United States, use an expedia flight coupon for discounts to destinations such as Yosemite.
One of the most visually recognizable landmarks within Yosemite National Park, El Capitan stands at more than 3,000 feet tall and greets visitors to the north end of the Yosemite Valley. The large rock formation is popular with hikers who can access the top through an extensive trail system as well as with rock climbers who regularly attempt to climb up its face. The sheer granite face of El Capitan has attracted climbers from around the world for decades. There are a number of photo opportunities available in the Yosemite Valley that use El Capitan as a wonderful backdrop.
Just west of El Capitan, Ribbon Fall plummets over the cliff side into the valley below. This waterfall has the distinction of being the largest single drop waterfall in all of North America. There is no creek system feeding into Ribbon Fall as it is fed almost wholly by snow and ice melt off, this means that though it is quite astounding looking in the spring, by the late summer it will have dried and have gone away until the next period of snow melt off. From the top of the cliff to the landing point far below, water going over Ribbon Fall plunges a total of 1,612 feet.
Hetch Hetchy Valley
The natural resources available to experience in Hetch Hetchy Valley are coveted by regular hikers who frequent the area and regularly enjoy all that it has to offer. The valley is largely covered with water as the O’Shaughnessy Dam was constructed in the early 1920s, while the rest of the area is open to hikers and horseback riders to explore. Vehicles can enter the valley as far as the dam, but beyond that point use is restricted to non-vehicles. The water backed up behind the O’Shaughnessy Dam forms the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and is a popular destination for travelers seeking fun on the water amongst forest lined valleys and high mountains. There are a number of other attractions worth visiting in Hetch Hetchy Valley including Tueeulala Falls and the Little Devils Postpile.
photo from: brims1285
Built in 1879 as a way to attract and serve the many travelers that were beginning to visit the area that would become Yosemite National Park, the Wawona Hotel was made a National Historic Landmark in 1987. The hotel is located between the Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Big Trees and almost unbelievably is still in use today. The Wawona Hotel provides a unique experience to those that choose to visit it in that it not only gives visitors a great way to experience the national park, but also provides a look into days gone by as the hotel is largely restored to how it looked in its early days and is appropriately furnished with a number of fine antiques. Directly across the street from the hotel is a nine hole golf course that has been operating within the national park since 1918.
Millions of visitors to Yosemite National Park get a glimpse of Bridalveil Fall thanks in most part to it being located in the extremely easily accessible Yosemite Valley. The fall is measured at 620 feet tall and is viewable year round. The water plunging over Bridalveil Fall comes from Ostrander Lake which sits roughly ten miles south of the fall. During moments of light water flow, the water often disappears in a mist before actually hitting the ground providing for a very unique photo and viewing experience.
Sitting on the south wall of the popular Yosemite Valley is a granite dome measuring at a little over 300 feet tall called Sentinel Dome. The dome is accessible to hikers via a somewhat easy two mile trail that leads to its base, those wanting to get to the top would then climb up the face of the dome. This dome’s prominent location allows visitors who trek to the top of it an opportunity to enjoy a panoramic view of the entire Yosemite Valley including being able to see several popular sites like Half Dome, El Capitan, North Dome, Basket Dome, and Yosemite Falls.
One of the most famous sights that many visitors to the national park make a point of attempting to see is Yosemite Falls. This is the tallest waterfall in all of North America and falls a total of 2,425 feet through a series of three drops. The longest single drop of the falls is 1,430 feet. The best time to view the falls is in late spring as the increased water flow from the snow melt off makes the views somewhat amazing. The last drop of the falls is a little over three hundred feet tall and drops into a pool with a viewing area very nearby. This is one of the best places to get an up close look at this symbol of the entire park. Both the upper and lower falls are easily accessible by hikers of all abilities.
Another of the trademark physical features of Yosemite National Park is Half Dome which is a partial granite dome that sits at the eastern end of the Yosemite Valley. The top of the dome is measured at more than 4,700 feet above the valley floor that lies beneath it. The rock formation is popular with serious hikers and climbers who can access it either by trail or by attempting to climb its face. Some of the most popular personal photographs taken in Yosemite National Park are of hikers having reached the top of Half Dome.
With its abundance of beautiful scenery and natural resources, it is easy to see why Yosemite National Park remains one of the most traveled to national park in the entire United States. Whether seeking out looks at rock formations, cliff walls, incredible forests, or dramatic waterfalls, a trip to Yosemite allows the visitor a number of great photographic opportunities. The park is a wonderful place where people of all ages can manufacture memories that will last them the rest of their lives. A visit to Yosemite National Park can easily be the highlight of anyone’s vacation to California