Yosemite is one of the most popular and certainly one of the parks with the longest history in the USA. Protected since 1864, today's 3,081 sq. km national park in the Sierra Nevada is visited annually by well over 3 million tourists. The problem is that most of the visitors are concentrated in Yosemite Valley, which is only 18 square kilometers in size but is fully developed for tourism. Here, in the summer high season, there is always considerable traffic congestion and overcrowding. The attractive national park offers a variety of attractions. The focus, of course, is on nature, such as the mighty giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum) that thrive at three easily accessible groves in the park. Of the giants, up to 95 meters tall, “Grizzly Giant” in Mariposa Grove is the oldest – estimated by scientists to be 2,700 years old.
The waterfalls in the park are also always worth a visit, especially in spring, when considerable masses of water plunge into the depths after the snow melts. The Yosemite Falls, with a total height of 739 m, are considered the highest in the USA, but also the Bridalveil Fall, the Vernal as well as the Nevada Fall are very impressive and easily accessible.
A mecca for climbers is the legendary “El Capitan”, whose steep, up to 1,000 meter high walls rise into the sky above the Yosemite Valley. The mighty monolith is always a new challenge for ambitious climbers.
For hikers, numerous trails are offered from short walks to multi-day tours into the lonely hinterland. Here, in the quiet seclusion of the vast Sierra Nevada, one also increasingly encounters the diverse fauna of the national park. With a little luck, black bears, bobcats, gray foxes, raccoons, mule deer, as well as countless bird species and cute little squirrels can be observed in the wild.
Tourist life, on the other hand, hums in the Valley, or rather in Yosemite Village. Here you will find hotels and spacious campgrounds (be sure to book in advance!), shopping, restaurants and even a clinic. In Wawona there is also a golf course – in the national park.