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Yosemite National Park
In east-central California, surrounding Yosemite Village
Yosemite Valley is the heart of the magnificent 1,200-square-mi park that spurred conservationist John Muir and photographer Ansel Adams to some of their best achievements. The park is so large that it can be grouped into several different areas. Yosemite Valley is famed for its waterfalls, such as the 2,425-foot Yosemite Falls, highest in North America, and the granite monoliths of El Capitan and Half Dome. Some of the best views of this valley can be seen from Glacier Point. The Wawona area, near the south entrance, has a cluster of historic buildings and the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias. Both Wawona and Yosemite Valley are open year-round. The Hetch Hetchy reservoir area and the subalpine Tuolumne Meadows, on the other hand, stay open only as long as snowfall allows. There are a few developed areas within the park, including Wawona and Yosemite Village in Yosemite Valley, which has lodges, restaurants, the Ansel Adams photography gallery, a medical center, and other services. Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Big Tree Grove were granted to the State of California in 1864. The national park was established in 1890. The federal government accepted lands returned by the state in 1906. The El Portal site was authorized in 1958. The park was designated a World Heritage Site in 1984.
WHAT TO SEE & DO
Auto and bus touring, backpacking, bicycling (rentals), bird- and wildlife watching, cross-country skiing, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, ice-skating, rafting, rock climbing, skiing, swimming, viewing geological features and waterfalls. Facilities: 4 visitor centers: Valley (Yosemite Valley), Big Oak Flat, Wawona, and Tuolumne; 196 mi of scenic roads, 800 mi of hiking trails, museum. Bookstores. Programs & Events: Ranger-led walks, talks, and evening programs; bus tours; horseback rides; theatrical events; tram tours. Tips & Hints: Plan to spend at least four hours touring Yosemite Valley and two days to visit entire park. Drive slowly and with extra caution in case of wildlife on the roads. Use turnouts to pull completely off the road to look at views, take photographs, etc. Do not enter the water near the brim of a waterfall. Check water conditions with park staff and swim only when the water is low. Dress in layers and bring rain gear to accommodate weather changes. Expect warm, dry summers; most moisture falls Jan-Mar. Busiest July and Aug., least crowded Nov. and Jan.
FOOD, LODGING & SUPPLIES
Camping: 13 campgrounds in park (1,445 sites; $8-$40; some flush toilets, some vault toilets). Backcountry camping allowed (permit required, see below). Hotels: In the park: Ahwahnee Hotel (99 rooms, 24 cottages; $357), Curry Village (18 rooms, 183 cabins; $76-$110), Redwoods Guest Cottages (tel. 209/375-6666; 120 units; $88-$500), Wawona Hotel (104 rooms; $96-$161), White Wolf Lodge (4 cabins; $84), Yosemite Lodge (239 rooms; $103-$146). Restaurants: In the park: Ahwahnee Hotel Dining Room (tel. 209/372-1489; $15-$30), Mountain Room Restaurant (tel. 209/372-1281; $18-$30), Wawona Hotel (tel. 209/375-1425; $ll-$24), White Wolf Lodge (tel. 209/372-8416; $12-$17). In Oakhurst: Castillo's Mexican Restaurant (49271 Golden Oak Loop, tel. 209/683-8000; $6-$12), Kyoto Kafe (40423 Rte. 41, tel. 209/692-2400; $5-$14), the Mountain House (Rte. 41 at Rd. 222, tel. 209/683-5191; $5-$ll). Groceries & Gear: In the park: The Village Store (9012 Village Dr., tel. 209/372-1253).
FEES, HOURS & REGULATIONS
Entrance fee: $20 per vehicle or $10 per bus passenger, bicyclist, or walk-in. Free shuttle bus in east end of Yosemite Valley (year-round) and between Wawona and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and from Tuolumne Meadows to Tenaya Lake (June-Sept.). California fishing license required. Wilderness permit (free in person; $5 for telephone reservations) required for any backcountry camping (tel. 209/ 372-0740). No pets on trails or beaches or in backcountry or public buildings. Leashed pets restricted to specific campgrounds. No hunting. No discharging weapons. Don't deface or remove natural historic features. The Tioga Pass entrance is closed Nov.-early June because of snow. Park open daily. Yosemite Valley Visitor Center open June 15-Sept. 15, daily 8-7; Sept. 16-June 14, daily 8-5. Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center open June-Sept, daily 9-5.
HOW TO GET THERE
There are four entrances to the park: the south entrance on Rte. 41 north from Fresno, the Arch Rock entrance on Rte. 140 east from Merced, the Big Oak Flat entrance on Rte. 120 east from Modesto and Manteca, and the Tioga Pass entrance on Rte. 120 west from Lee Vin-ing and U.S. 395. Closest airports: Merced (80 mi), Fresno (94 mi), San Francisco (200 mi).
Public Information Office, Yosemite National Park (Box 577, Yosemite, CA 95389, tel. 209/372-0200). Mariposa Visitors Bureau (Box 425, Mariposa, CA 95338, tel. 209/966-2456 or 800/208-2434). Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau (41969 Rte. 41, Oakhurst, CA 93644, tel. 559/683-4636). Lee Vining Chamber of Commerce (Box 130, Lee Vining, ? A 93541, tel. 760/647-6629 or 760/647-6595).
Yosemite National Park. How to get by car to the Yosemite National Park. How to book a room and its price in the Yosemite National Park