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Yosemite National Park - Celebrating Americas National Parks

Updated on January 16, 2012

My Trip To Yosemite National Park

In 2007 I had the amazing opportunity to spend three months traveling around the United States - it was my own Great American Road Trip!

My brother and I loaded up the car with camping gear and headed west. I decided that we should try to visit every National Park we came across along our route, and as we headed east for home from California we had to stop at Yosemite National Park - it turned out to be my favorite off all the National Parks I've visited!

We arrived at Yosemite in August and the park was experiencing a bit of a drought, so most of the rivers and waterfalls were drier than in most years. My only regret is that we didn't get to see those amazing falls in their full majesty, but that just gives me good reason to make it back there someday...

Tunnel View, Yosemite National Park
Tunnel View, Yosemite National Park
Map of Yosemite National Park
Map of Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park Facts:

  • In 1864 President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill assigning preservation of Yosemite Valley by California
  • Established as a park in 1890
  • Became an American National Park in 1890
  • Yosemite Falls in the highest waterfall in North America at 2,425 feet (739 meters)
  • There are 13 campgrounds and 8 hotels/lodges in the park
  • Most visitors only visit the park for the day, traveling the parts of the park that are easily accessible by car
  • Over 3,000,000 visitors annually
  • Yosemite valley represent only 1% of the parks area, but is the part of the park where most visitors stay
  • 95% of the park is designated as Wilderness
  • Gained designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984

Yosemite National Park Pictures

Half Dome Rock Panorama
Half Dome Rock Panorama

Yosemite Valley

Within Yosemite Valley, most visitors start at the well-appointed Visitor's center, which includes shopping, dining and a museum that displays the incredible natural history of the valley and the rest of the park. Multiple roads criss-cross the valley, and along the way you can see such popular sights as Half Dome, El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls, Tunnel View and Yosemite Falls.

Sights in Yosemite Valley

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Tunnel ViewRolling mountains in the valleyHalf Dome RockEl Capitan
Tunnel View
Tunnel View
Rolling mountains in the valley
Rolling mountains in the valley
Half Dome Rock
Half Dome Rock
El Capitan
El Capitan

Mariposa Grove

Mariposa Grove is a sequoia grove in the extreme southern end of Yosemite National Park. It contains two of the 25 largest trees on Earth. Since Giant Sequoias are resistant to rot and decay, the remains of trees that fell centuries ago still remain in the park.

Video Tour of Yosemite National Park

Tioga Road

The most popularly driven route through Yosemite National Park, Tioga Road spans the width of the park from east to west. The 39 mile (62 km) drive from Crane Flats to Tioga Pass is the most popular tourist drive, with easy access to 6 of the parks campgrounds. Along the way you can see sights like Tuolumne Meadows, Tenaya Lake and multiple granite domes.

Sights along Tioga Road

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Distant granite domeTenaya LakeSome massive trees at our campsiteTenaya Lakeshore
Distant granite dome
Distant granite dome
Tenaya Lake
Tenaya Lake
Some massive trees at our campsite
Some massive trees at our campsite
Tenaya Lakeshore
Tenaya Lakeshore
Yosemite Campground Map
Yosemite Campground Map

Camping in Yosemite National Park

During my visit to Yosemite National Park, I decided to avoid the crowds and stay at one of the remote campgrounds - plus, we didn't have a reservation, and the more primitive remote campgrounds are first-come, first-served! We chose the Yosemite Creek campground, which has no flush toilets or showers - in fact there's no running water available, so we had to bring our own. It was pleasantly remote and only accessible via an unpaved road, so no giant RVs or rowdy party-types. Just a quite and peaceful spot to rest up after a day of exploring!

There are many other options if you're not into the primitive sites and pit toilets for your Yosemite National Park vacation! There are over 1,400 campsites around the park's 13 campgrounds, and many are RV and handicapped accessible with showers and/or flush toilets and potable running water sources. Many need reservations, and the less primitive the site the more you'll pay per night. For instance, the place where I camped was just $10 a night, while the more "cushy" campgrounds charge $20...

More Yosemite National Park Pictures

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Tunnel ViewHalf Dome El CapitanTunnel View at Sunset
Tunnel View
Tunnel View
Half Dome
Half Dome
El Capitan
El Capitan
Tunnel View at Sunset
Tunnel View at Sunset

Yosemite National Park Video Tour

Maps in the public domain, courtesy of the National Parks Service.

All text and photos copyright by the author.
©2010, All Rights Reserved.


Submit a Comment
  • bueler profile image


    8 years ago from California

    Great information. Probably one of my favorite national parks.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    We stayed at Yosemite Pines in one of their park model cabins. Yosemite Pines is an RV resort, campground, and lodge located near Yosemite National Park offering Yosemite lodging. Yosemite Pines offers Yosemite camping near Yosemite National Park with full hook-up RV and campsites Yosemite camping. Yosemite Pines also offers Yosemite lodging and cabins near Yosemite National Park with Yosemite cabin rentals. Amenities include a clubhouse, gold mine, gold panning, petting zoo, swimming pool, hiking trail, general store, children’s playground, horseshoe pit, and volleyball.

  • earnestshub profile image


    9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

    I have been to this amazing park many years ago when touring the states. I believe it is one of the most outstanding National Park's in the world. I was absolutely blown away by it's unusual and varied aspects. Wonderful hub, thank you!

  • Polly C profile image

    Polly C 

    9 years ago from UK

    This looks beautiful, actually it is a place I have always wanted to go to but never have - I have not visited the US at all but if I get the opportunity then this is the area the I will be heading to! Thanks for a great hub.

  • Edweirdo profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from United States

    @Ramkkasturi - I was there in the summer, and most of the waterfalls were dried up because of a bit of drought...

    Otherwise, yes it's still there!

  • Deborah Demander profile image

    Deborah Demander 

    9 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

    Nicely put together. Thanks for the great info.

  • ramkkasturi profile image


    9 years ago from India

    Yosemite was a place I visited almost every year when was living in the bay area.It is very beautiful place.The mirror lake, the half dome the water fall are very enjoyable. It certainly deserves the credit it gets. In winter it looks very pretty with snow.Wish you had some pictures. Is the water fall stll there? Iam happy to see a hub on Yosemite and you have done a very nice job. Thanks-Ramkkasturi


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