- Yosemite National Park embraces almost 1,200 square miles of scenic wild lands set aside in 1890 to preserve a portion of the central Sierra Nevada that stretches along California's eastern flank. The park ranges from 2,000 feet above sea level to more than 13,000 feet and has these major attractions; alpine wilderness, three groves of Giant Sequoias and the glacially carved Yosemite Valley with impressive waterfalls, cliffs and unusual rock formations.
Copyright: National Park Service
Yosemite National Park
Recreation - Yosemite National Park provides a vast variety of activities for visitors of all interests and skill levels. There are four visitor centers in Yosemite National Park. The Valley Visitor Center, located in Yosemite Valley, is the largest and most comprehensive in terms of displays, books, postcards and maps. The Big Oak Flat Information Station, Wawona Information Station and Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center are open on a more limited basis. Regularly scheduled ranger-led walks, talks and evening programs. Concessioner-operated bus tours, guided horseback rides and bicycle rentals are also available on site.
For scenic driving there are one-hundred and ninety-six miles of paved roads within the park. To avoid crowds, travel to Yosemite at times other than spring weekends and busy holiday weekends such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day.
Individuals interested in hiking, walking or backpacking can choose from 840 miles of trails. Eight-miles of paved bike path provide a unique way to explore in Yosemite Valley.
Campgrounds in Yosemite are operated by the National Park Service. In Yosemite Valley, Upper Pines campground is open year-round, Lower Pines Campground is open March to October and North Pines is open April to October. Reservations are required at these Valley campgrounds. Sunnyside walk-in campground is open year-round; sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Outside Yosemite Valley, Wawona and Hodgdon Meadow campgrounds are open year-round. Reservations are required May through September; sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis October to April. Tuolumne Meadows campground is open July through September. Half of the sites are available by reservation only; half are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Crane Flat campground is open June to September; reservations are required. Bridalveil Creek,Tamarack Flat, White Wolf, Porcupine Flat and Yosemite Creek campgrounds are open during the summer months on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are also required at Group Camps in Wawona, Tuolumne Meadows, Hodgdon Meadow and Bridalveil Creek.
Climate - Weather can change rapidly during all seasons of the year in Yosemite National Park. Elevation plays a major role in temperature and precipitation. Most of the moisture comes in the months of January, February and March, and the winter climate is relatively mild. Sierra summers are typically warm and dry. April and November are transitional months, when warm, sunny days can suddenly become stormy. Clouds can build up during the summer to produce spectacular thunderstorm activity.
It is wise to pack for any season with clothing that can be "layered," ready to peel off or add on as the thermometer dictates. Always include some kind of rain gear when visiting this climate.
Yosemite National Park is located east of Modesto, California in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. California Highways 120, 140 and 41 lead into the park. Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) provides public transportation options for getting to and around the park. Amtrak, Greyhound, and Scenic Airlines all feed the YARTS system. For more information, go to www.yosemite.com, then go to the YARTS link.