Yosemite National Park embraces a spectacular tract of mountain-and-valley scenery in the Sierra Nevada, which was set aside as a national park in 1890. The park harbors a grand collection of waterfalls, meadows, and forests that include groves of giant sequoias, the world's largest living things. Highlights of the park include Yosemite Valley, and its high cliffs and waterfalls; Wawona's history center and historic hotel; the Mariposa Grove, which contains hundreds of ancient giant sequoias; Glacier Point's (summer-fall) spectacular view of the Valley and the high country; Tuolumne Meadows (summer-fall), a large subalpine meadow surrounded by mountain peaks; and Hetch Hetchy, a reservoir in a valley considered a twin of Yosemite Valley.
The classic beauty and fascinating ecosystems of the Sierra Nevada mountain range are well represented in the wilderness of this gorgeous National Park. Almost 95% of the Park is designated Wilderness. A place retaining its primeval character and influence, this wilderness area provides opportunities for solitude and unconfined types of experience. The lands within the wilderness range in elevation and life zones from 2,900' to 13,114' at the summit of Mt. Lyell. With over 800 miles of trail, visitors will find a spectrum of opportunities, of natural systems, and of levels of use.
All of the roads in this National Park are scenic, but the most famous scenic drive is along the Tioga Road, a 39-mile drive from Crane Flat to Tioga Pass. Road Trip that includes Yosemite Yosemite and Big Sur Road Trip: Approximately 1913 miles - This fantastic journey takes you through some of the most beautiful sections of California. From Yosemite National Park and Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks to Big Sur, Point Lobos, Ano Nuevo and Big Basin. See this Road Trip
In 1984, Yosemite was designated as part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. UNESCO World Heritage NPS Park Info Yosemite Conservancy National Parks Conservation Association Yosemite Nature Notes
The vast majority of Yosemite National Park is comprised of plutonic igneous rocks. Plutonic rocks forms deep underground when molten rock cools and solidifies very slowly, allowing large crystals to form. In contrast, volcanic igneous rocks form at the surface when molten rock cools and solidifies quickly, resulting in small crystals. Granite, granodiorite, tonalite, quartz monzonite, and quartz monzodiorite are all forms of plutonic rock that are found in the park, and are loosely referred to as granitic rocks. Quartz diorite, diorite and gabbro are plutonic rocks found in the park, but are not technically considered to be granitic rocks.
Bighorn sheep formerly populated the Sierra crest, but have been reduced to several remnant populations. There are 17 species of bats, 9 of which are either Federal or California Species of Special Concern. Over 150 species of birds regularly occur in the parks. Great gray owls are of special interest in Yosemite National Park because here, they reach the furthest southern extent of their global range, and they are isolated by hundreds of miles from the next closest population in far northern California.
Indian people have lived in the region for as long as 8,000 years. By the mid-nineteenth century, when native residents had their first contact with non-Indian people, they were primarily of Southern Miwok ancestry. However, trade with the Mono Paiutes from the east side of the Sierra for pinyon pine nuts, obsidian, and other materials from the Mono Basin resulted in many unions between the two tribes.