Information / Sources, Yosemite National Park
If you're thinking about taking a trip to Yosemite, I recommend watching the PBS special called "Hidden Yosemite" It's a great source of information. I just watched it again last week--it gives pointers on wilderness hikes, places to go "off the beaten path", why there are controlled burns in the park, activities recommend by rangers and affiliates, programs you should attend, places to eat and what to avoid. Some of these tips, and they point this out in the program, are things you won't find in guidebooks. It also tells you about dangers in the park and where you can find help.
This show airs a couple times a month, I think...or I'm sure you can order it from the Public Broadcasting Service.
Yosemite Village is a good stopping point to pick up supplies or to get information on the park. The short film played at the visitor's center is supposed to be pretty good. The shuttle bus leaves from Yosemite Village and loops around the valley and tram tours also leave from this area as well.
The village is not a place where you want to spend a lot of time, Its crowded and filled with stores and shops, which are not the reason for visiting Yosemite. But if you're visiting Yosemite Valley, you will likely find yourself here.
Preservationist, John Muir, fell in love with Yosemite in the late 1800's.
Read his journal account of a summer spent here in the shadow of El Capitan and Half Dome--it will beautifully prepare you for what you'll encounter at Yosemite National Park!
Muir eventually founded The Sierra Club and was instrumental in creating the Petrified Forest, the Sequoia national parks, the Grand Canyon and Mount Rainier.
As a tribute to his efforts, Muir Woods National Monument was established. It is located a short distance from San Francisco.
I highly recommend this book! The ISBN # 978-0-7607-8452-5; publisher Barnes and Noble books.
It's relatively inexpensive to visit one of our national parks. In fact, I'd say it was a fantastic bargain!
Entry fee for Yosemite National Park is $20 per car or $10 per person: this includes those who arrive on foot, upon the back of a horse, on a motorcycle or in a non-commercial bus.
PASSES TO YOSEMITE:
An annual pass to Yosemite National Park will cost you $40
America the Beautiful Annual Pass--admits you to all national parks and Federal recreational lands for $80
Access Pass--A lifetime admission and discount pass for US citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities. No charge for this pass.
Senior Pass--for those US citizens or permanent residents age 62 and older will cost you $10
For more information on fees or reservations if you plan to camp in the park, please go to www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/feesandreservations.htm
Favorite thing: The Yosemite Valley Visitor Center is located in the middle of Yosemite Village and contains the typical stuff you'd expect to find at a national park visitor's center. The park rangers encourage everyone to see the film at the visitor center- and it may be worth viewing if you have the time or inclination. But there's so much to see in this park that spending too much time at the visitor's center would be a shame. Still, this is a good place to stop off if you need information about tours, activities or trails in the area.
Favorite thing: There are 4 main park entrances. From southern California, Hwy 41 in Fresno heads north directly to the south entrance. From the west, Hwy 140 heads east from Merced through Mariposa to the Arch Rock Entrance. Another option is the Big Oak Flat Entrance, from the west along Hwy 120, which will put you right on Tioga Pass Rd. From the east, the only option is, again on Hwy 120, the Tioga Pass entrance. This is open during the summer only.
When you enter the park you'll receive a guide to Yosemite, which gives helpful information on camping inside the park.
There are four parks listed in the Yosemite Valley. Do your research early, because you'll need to book reservations for three of these ahead of time.
YOSEMITE VALLEY CAMPS:
North Pines (located at 4,000 feet) is opened from April to September, reservations required. There are 81 sites/spaces; $20 per site
Upper Pines (located at 4,000 feet) is opened year-round, reservations required. There are 238 sites/spaces; $20 per site.
Lower Pines (located at 4,000 feet) is opened from March to October, reservations required. There are 60 sites/spaces: $20 per site.
Camp 4 (located at 4,000 feet) is opened year-round/walk in or first come/first served basis but has limited parking. There are 35 sites/spaces; $5 per person.
More information on this can be found on www.AmericanParkNetwork.com
SITES OUTSIDE PARK
Wawona (located at 4,000 feet) on Wawona Road. Year round camp opened May to September, reservations required. There are 93 sites/spaces; $20 per site.
Bridalveil Creek (located at 7,200 feet) on Glacier Point Road. Opened July to early September, first-come, first-served basis. There are 110 sites/spaces; $14 per site.
Hodgdon Meadow (located at 4,872 feet) on Big Oak Flat Road. Opened year-round May to September, first-come, first-served basis. There are 105 sites/spaces; $20 per site. Note: Group camp closed in winter.
Crane Flat (located at 6,192 feet) on Big Oak Flag Road. Opened June to September, reservations required. There are 166 sites/spaces; $20 per site.
Tamarack Flat (located at 6,192 feet) on Tioga Road. Opened June to early September, first come, first-served basis. Note: To reach this area you must use a three mile access road, not suitable for large RV's or trailers. Pit toilets; no drinking water. There are 52 sites/spaces; $10 per site.
White Wolf (located at 8,000 feet) on Tioga Road. Opened July to early September, first-come, first-served basis. Note: Not suitable for vehicles over 27". There are 74 sites/spaces; $14 per site.
Yosemite Creek (located at 7,659 feet) on Tioga Road. Opened July to early September. Note: There is a five mile access road NOT suitable for Rv's over 24" or trailers. Pit toilets, no drinking water. There are 40 sites/spaces, $10 per site.
Porcupine Flag (located at 8,100 feet) on Tioga Road. Opened July-September. Note: RV's can access the front section only. First-come, first-served basis. There are 52 sites/spaces; $20 per site.
Tuolumne Meadows (located at 8,600 feet) on Tioga Road. Opened July to September, advance reservations and same day reservations. There are 304 sites/spaces; $20 per site.
For more information on camping: www.AmericanParkNetwork.com.
(Or see park guide)
Yosemite is home to the 3rd tallest waterfall in the world: Upper Yosemite Falls
2 of Yosemite's other falls, Ribbon and Sentinel, also rank among the ten tallest falls in the world.
These are some other Yosemite superlatives which may or may not be considered interesting:
Tallest granite mountain: El Capitan
Most recognized mountain: Half Dome
One of the world's largest trees: Grizzly Giant
Soure: Frommers California 2004.
Yosemite National Park quick facts:
Annual Budget is $20,674,000.00 (FY 1999)
Annual Visitation is 3,648,384 (1999)
Park Covers 761,266 Acres
Federal Grant - June 30, 1864
National Park - October 1, 1890
Wilderness (93% of the park) - September 28, 1984
Yosemite is located in Mariposa (trans. Butterfly) County and covers 1, 189 square miles. It has a vast area of wilderness that is virtually untouched and uninhabited.
. Three million people visit Yosemite each year, some to climb, some to walk, some to hike, and all to see its awesome beauty.
. Eighty-nine percent of Yosemite's region is designated wilderness area, and the rest is under review and up for consideration.
. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
. Yosemite was the first park set aside by the US government for preservation and protection, even before Yellowstone.
. Twenty percent of California's 7,000 plant species are located in Yosemite National Park.
. Home to El Capitan and Half-Dome, two world famous rock climbs that draw climbers from all over the world.
. Yosemite's highest point is Mt. Lyell.
. Yosemite has a Mediterranean climate, meaning that the winters are cold, the summers are hot, the springs are mild, and the falls are chilly.
. Thomas Ayres and James M. Hutchins were Yosemite's first visitors in 1855. They visited, studied, and wrote numerous articles about the area.
. Famous Yosemite photographers include Charles Weed and Ansel Adams. Charles Weed was perhaps one of the first people ever to photograph Yosemite.
. Yosemite Grant to help conserve the park was signed by Abraham Lincoln on the 30 of June, 1864.
. Mt. Conness and Mt. Dana are two of Yosemite's highest peaks. There are many tall mountains in Yosemite's wilderness, including Mt. Lyell.
. Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in North America and third highest in the world, standing out at 2425 feet. An awe-inspiring plunge, it merges into smaller waterfalls below it before thundering to the bottom waters. It is one of the most popular hikes at Yosemite.
Fondest memory: The above I got from Yosemite Four Seasons site. Though Yosemite Falls is listed as the third highest it's actually only the 5th longest drop. After Angel Falls there's one in South Africa and two in Norway both higher.
There is some contention because many people like to list single drop waterfalls rather that one that has 3 or 4 goes before it actually gets to the bottom. I'll leave you to sort that list out!
Despite this, it will not diminish your enjoyment at one of several highlights to be found in this park and if it's only waterfalls you're interested in then there's an excellent brochure you can buy called "The Waterfalls of Yosemite" for a modest price.
You will receive this newsletter when you arrive enter the park. You can also find them at the visitors center.
The newspaper contains a schedules of park programs and special events. Provides a great resource for your trip.
"This is a land ruled by nature and over 40 people have died coming over the falls after slipping on the moist granite, without exception doing something outside the park guidelines. Despite the beauty, it’s not a place to take lightly and over 900 people have perished here in total in things like base jumping, climbing, plane crashes, hiking and scrambling, road accidents etc."
Fondest memory: I bought a book called "Off the Wall - Deaths at Yosemite". It's available at the tourist shops in Yosemite and should be recommended reading for all those who venture off the main road. I shudder at times when reading it as it records many wrong things I have done bushwalking (hiking) in Australia. Even simple short walks in Yosemite can end up fatally as the instances in this book clearly illustrate.
People with great reputations as rock climbers, experienced walkers and astute horsemen have all perished. It's not a place to take lightly; you have been warned!
Grab a park map when you come in the park if your going to be camping. There are a few spots where for a few dollars you can get a warm shower. This may not sound like much but after 5 days of climbing and no shower it was almost orgasmic.
Fondest memory: The people you meet.
Favorite thing: From this photo, it is easy to see the 4000 ft. drop from the face of Half Dome to the Valley Floor. Also, behind it to the left is Cloud's Rest (elevation 9926 feet).