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Yosemite National Park, California

Designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, Giant Sequoia groves, and biological diversity. Almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness.

Yosemite Map

Half Dome

Half Dome is a granite dome in Yosemite National Park, located at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley — possibly Yosemite's most familiar sight. The granite crest rises more than 4,737 ft (1,444 m) above the valley floor. For many years, Half Dome was deemed unclimbable, but in 1919 a cable route was added to Half Dome's eastern face, and Yosemite hikers can now pull themselves up the steep grade to the top. Weather is a major factor when hiking on Half Dome. To hike to the top and back will take at least 10 hours.

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

The Mariposa Grove is located 36 miles (one hour) south of Yosemite Valley, near the park's South Entrance. The Mariposa Grove is the largest stand of giant sequoias (also known as Sierra redwoods or big trees) in Yosemite. Giant sequoias are perhaps the largest living things on Earth. The road to the Mariposa Grove is not plowed in winter and is often closed to cars (but not to hikers or skiers) from sometime in November through April.

Hetch Hetchy

Hetch Hetchy, a lesser known twin to Yosemite Valley, is home to spectacular scenery and is the starting point for many less-used wilderness trails. The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is the source of drinking water for much of the San Francisco Bay Area. Although the road to Hetch Hetchy is open year-round during daylight hours (approximately), it may close periodically due to snow in winter and spring.


Wawona is the home to the historic Wawona Hotel, dating from the late nineteenth century. The Pioneer Yosemite History Center, a collection of historic buildings, is located just over the covered bridge from the hotel. Wawona is accessible by car year-round. It is located within Yosemite National Park in a mountain valley through which visitors pass if entering the park via the Hwy-41 and the South Entrance. The two main attractions are the historic Covered Bridge and the Pioneer History Center.

Yosemite Falls

The Flows: approximately November through July, with peak flow in May. Look for the ice cone at the base of the upper fall during winter and for roaring runoff April through June. Yosemite Falls, one of the world's tallest, is actually made up of three separate falls: Upper Yosemite Fall (1,430 feet), the middle cascades (675 feet), and Lower Yosemite Fall (320 feet).

El Capitan

El Capitan is a favorite for experienced rock climbers. Rising more than 3,000 feet above the Valley floor, it is the largest monolith of granite in the world. El Capitan is opposite Bridalveil Fall and is best seen from the roads in western Yosemite Valley, including Tunnel View, Bridalveil Fall area, and El Capitan Meadow.

Leconte Memorial Lodge

Originally constructed in 1903, and moved and rebuilt in 1919, the Lodge was the principal foothold of the influential Sierra Club in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is a transitional building in 20th century architecture, with strong European roots in its Tudor Revival design combined, with an interesting use of building materials found in the work of architects of the Bay Area tradition. An outstanding example of the theory that the materials and site should determine the design of the building.

The Ahwahnee

This resort hotel at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley is named with a local Indian word meaning "deep, grassy meadow." The epitome of rustic monumentality and luxury, with rough granite piers and concrete formed and stained to imitate wood, the Ahwahnee open in July 1927. Wrought-iron fittings, stained-glass windows and murals in geometric Indian/Deco designs on the interior enhance the structure's intentionally rustic atmosphere.

Tenaya Lake

Tenaya Lake is a magnificent High Sierra lake surrounded by granite domes, lodgepole forests, and Yosemite’s vast wilderness. It is the largest lake in Yosemite’s front-country. Because of its remarkable scenic qualities, its inviting blue water, and its proximity to Tioga Road, Tenaya Lake is one of the most popular destinations for summer visitors in Yosemite.

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