Yosemite National Park is one of the oldest nature reserves in the USA, established in 1890 in Central California on the Western slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It covers an area of 3,030 square kilometres, 95% of which consist of terrain untouched by humans. In 1984, the park was registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
One of the attractions is the ancient giant sequoias which cover the mountain slopes. They're the largest and oldest trees in the world, which is the reason for their legendary status. The most ancient sequoia is 2,700 years old. Grizzly Giant, which is the name of this tree, measures over 63.7 metres, and the diameter of its trunk is 8.8 metres.
Tourists are also attracted by the numerous roaring waterfalls: Yosemite (739 m), Wapama (520 m), Snow Creek (652 m) and the most picturesque waterfall of all, Bridalveil (190 m).
The Yosemite Valley takes up barely 1% of the park's overall territory, but this is precisely where all of the tourists go. The most popularity (especially among people who like mountain climbing) is enjoyed by a granite precipice, El Capitan, with a height of 2,307 metres. It is very visible from every part of the valley. It's also hard to miss Half Dome, which was considered impossible to climb until the 1870s. Today one can reach it in several ways. The simplest is to choose a marked trail leading from the valley almost to the very peak.
Yosemite owes its fame not only to nature, but also to technological innovation. On the Northern slope of the Yosemite Valley, a tunnel was built that includes an observation deck, from which stretches a gorgeous panorama. Thanks to the ingenious technological solutions used in its construction, the observation infrastructure was added to the USA’s National Register of Historic Places.
The park offers about 1,300 kilometres of hiking trails, some of which are accessible only seasonally due to the risk of avalanches. In addition to journeys on foot, fishing and horseback-riding are also permitted. Fans of more intense experiences will be pleased that the park offers the opportunity to do extreme sports of various kinds, such as rafting, mountain climbing, skiing and snowboarding.
It's possible to spend the night in your own tent. For more demanding guests, there are also hotels and motels of various categories, from the simplest kinds to the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Village, where even the President of the USA has stayed and the prices of rooms begin at 500 dollars a night. On the grounds of the park there are also a few shops and cafes.
The red fox lives in Yosemite Park. In American culture, it is considered a symbol of cunningness, along with the coyote. In the mythology of the indigenous people of California, the red fox is treated as the creator of the world and is considered to be an elusive predator. Other inhabitants of the park, Baribal bears, are famous due to their frequent escapades in search of food. They get into parked cars, and are often spotted near rubbish bins and dumps. For the sake of safety, tourists are requested to be extremely careful in their storage of food, keeping food remains solejy in special, sealed containers situated near campsites.
The most comfortable and also most popular way of getting around the park is by car. In the park there are over 550 functional roads. However, one must pay close attention, since most of them are one-way and a moment of distraction could cause an unplanned detour of many miles. Furthermore, at peak season (from May to October) there is increased traffic, and it can be difficult to find parking spaces. The park wardens recommendmaking use of free buses that run from morning until evening and transport nature enthusiasts to all of the official hiking trails.