Overview: Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular parks in America and is visited by more than 3.5 million tourists each year who experience the beautiful scenery, waterfalls and rugged cliffs of this place. Although the park is spread over a huge area of 1,189 square miles, the most popular section with tourists is the 7 square miles of Yosemite Valley. The park is extremely famous among mountain climbers for the 3,500-foot vertical granite wall of El Capitan. The park has a lot to offer such as rafting on the Merced River, hiking, professional photography, biking, horseback riding, skiing and snowshoeing at Badger Pass and camping. Yosemite National Park is located about 200 miles east of San Francisco (SFO), about a 3-4 hour drive by road.
Yosemite Valley It is located in the central part of the Sierra Alta and is the most visited section of the park. Yosemite Valley begins to experience the most visitors from early spring to early summer (February through May) as the waterfalls are in full swing. Summer time is from June to September and it is crowded, especially on weekends, as summer school vacations occur around that time and many parents bring their children during that time. The park entrance fee is $ 20 per car, valid for 7 days. You have the option of driving on your own, but to maintain the park’s natural beauty and keep it in a pollution-free zone, the park operates free shuttle buses to most popular spots. Heavy traffic is common, especially at the entrance, but the looming beauty is worth seeing. Yosemite Valley is the only place in Yosemite where you can buy food inside the park. Although all major roads are kept clean during the snow season, the National Park Service requires private vehicle drivers to wear tire chains. Some helpful phone numbers are listed below
For general park information, current weather, and road conditions, call: 209-372-0200 (information on file). In summers, you can find trail information at: 209-372-0308, Lodging reservations: 559-252-4848, Camp reservations: 518-885-3639
Get to Yosemite Valley: By Road Take the Oakland-Bay Bridge to Highway 80 East, take Highway 580 East and follow signs for Tracy / Stockton to Highway 20, Highway 205 to Highway 120 and into Yosemite National Park. It takes about an hour from the park entrance to Yosemite Valley and Village.
AMTRAK serves San Diego, Los Angeles, Fresno, San Jose, San Francisco, and Sacramento to and from Merced / Riverbank, and connects to VIA bus lines for direct service to the Yosemite Valley. Call 800-872-7245 for more information.
Glacier Point Road: Glacier Point Road is about a 30 mile drive from the visitor center. It opens at the end of May and closes in November. This road offers one of the most spectacular views from the elevation. People make short stops, take pictures, and walk.
Tioga Pass: The Tioga Pass is approximately 9950 feet high and offers spectacular views of the park. It is accessible only in the summers around June-July, as this area is at a height and there is heavy snowfall in the winters. You can also see some beautiful wildflowers and redwoods.
Mariposa Grove: Mariposa Grove is the largest giant redwood forest in Yosemite. The largest tree, the gray giant, is about 1800 years old.
Half done: Half Dome is a granite dome in Yosemite National Park, located at the eastern end of the Yosemite Valley, possibly the most familiar sight in Yosemite. The granite ridge rises more than 4,737 feet above the valley floor.
Useful websites for information about Yosemite National Park are: http://www.travelandtourisminfo.com , nps.gov/yose/, yosemite.org
Be save: Yosemite has a large population of black bears that live in Yosemite and it is recommended to keep food wrapped so that the bears cannot smell it. Mountain lions are sometimes seen as well. Fill your car’s gas tank before entering the park, as it is expensive within the park and available only at distances. Accommodation is available, but it is expensive if done last minute, so book early and shop around. If you want cheap accommodation, you can always stay a few kilometers from the park.