My guide to Yosemite! I have been going to Yosemite every summer since I was a little girl, my family has had a cabin in Wawona since my grandmother was a little girl so I of course have to write about the things you must do while you’re there!
People travel from all over the world to visit this magical place, I didn’t understand until I was much older how special our little cabin in the woods really was. Many people may not know this but when Abraham Lincoln was president he signed a grant that permanently protected the land, and on October 1, 1890, President Benjamin Harrison signed legislation that created Yosemite National Park.
I hope these resources will help make planning your trip seamless!
Glacier Point overlooks Yosemite Valley, there you can see Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and Yosemite’s high country.
From the Glacier Point parking and tour unloading area, a short, paved there is a wheelchair-accessible trail that takes you to a point 3,214 feet above Half Dome Village (formerly Curry Village), on the floor of Yosemite Valley.
“Wawona is like a bright green emerald set between the sparkling diamonds of Yosemite Valley’s waterfalls and the red rubies of the Sequoias in the Mariposa Grove.” – Yosemite visitor, early 1900s
I personally hold a special place in my heart for Wawona, it was not added to Yosemite National Park until 1932, this location has hosted many people and activities for years and is originally the home to American Indians – the Miwok tribe. Later the area became a prosperous settlement and primary stopping point for people traveling to Yosemite Valley during the late 19th century. The town is located on the south fork of the Merced River, at an elevation of approximately 1300 m (4000 feet). It is on State Route 41, the main highway from Fresno to Yosemite Valley.
Hidden in the parks northwest corner you will find Hetch Hetchy Valley an area that is worth visiting any season. Located at 3,900 feet you can hike here pretty much year round, here you will find booming spring waterfalls and wildflower displays. The temperatures are high in summer months, but cools down the rest of the year making your treks very enjoyable.
Hiking In Yosemite:
Did You Know?
El Capitan towers more than 350 stories above Yosemite Valley, it is the largest exposed granite monolith in the world.
The Ahwaneechee Native Americans lived in the Yosemite Valley for at least 4,000 years.
Word of Yosemite’s beauty spread and the first group of tourists arrived in 1855.
The park’s giant sequoia trees can live to be more than 3,000 years old.
Yosemite Falls usually stops flowing in late August. The falls are fed solely by snowmelt, so the peak flow is in late May. Over the warm summer months the flow dries up—but returns around October, when snow again begins to fall.
Around 4 million people enter the park’s gates to explore Yosemite annually.
A waterfall of fire was once one of the park’s top tourist attractions, this started in the early 1870s, Irish immigrant James McCauley, who owned a hotel atop Glacier Point, ended evenings spent around the campfire with guests by kicking the burning embers over the soaring cliff.
In 1943, the U.S. Navy leased the posh Ahwahnee Hotel and converted it into a military hospital offering neuro-psychiatric treatment.
Sheep were once among the primary threats to Yosemite’s natural landscape. In 1870, as many as 15,000 sheep pastured in the Tuolumne Meadows alone.
Yosemite Falls: Is the tallest waterfall in North America. Snow runoff rolls down the 2,425 foot drop, with its peak flow in May.
Bridalveil Falls: Is a 620-foot waterfall and is located near the entrance of Yosemite Valley, in the springtime Bridalveil is at its peak flow and during the rest of the year the falls are fairly light.
Mirror Lake: Is more of a pond than a lake, but this Yosemite Valley spot is an extremely popular destination, you can see reflections of Half Dome and Mount Watkins in spring, when the water level is high enough.
Meadows: The most popular meadows to visit are Cook’s, Sentenial, Stoneman and Leidig.
Giant Sequoias and Mariposa Grove: Mariposa Grove is blessed with about 500 mature giant sequoias. Giant sequoias can live to be 3,000 years old and are the largest known living things on earth. Visitors can hike or take a tram ride to see Mariposa’s sequoias.
Lodging In Yosemite:
There are 13 campgrounds, and seven can be reserved (reservations are essential from April through September). While many have tap water and flush toilets, only Curry Village and Housekeeping Camp have showers.
More Resources For Yosemite:
Yosemite is open 365 days a year, and there is a $20/car entrance fee
“I have seen persons of emotional temperament stand with tearful eyes, spellbound and dumb with awe, as they got their first view of the Valley from Inspiration Point, overwhelmed in the sudden presence of the unspeakable, stupendous grandeur.” – Galen Clark, guardian of the Yosemite Grant
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