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Top Tours

 
Guided Half Dome Hike
"Early in the morning meet your expert guide at a trail head that is confirmed at the time of booking. Here you receive a safety briefing and review the day’s schedule. Your journey to Half Dome is carefully organized so that you set a good pace on this strenuous 17-mile (27-km) trip. Once you have received your orientation lace up your hiking boots and hit the trail. As you hike you’ll learn about the geology and natural history of Half Dome Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada mountains.Along the way
From $194.00
 
Yosemite National Park and Giant Sequoias Trip
"Your journey begins with a convenient pickup at your hotel. You'll cross the San Francisco Bay Bridge en route to the Sierra Nevada mountain range driving through gold rush towns as your guide carries you back to the era of the old West.In the late morning enter Yosemite National Park where you'll take a guided walk. Visit the Tuolumne Grove (weather permitting) and be amazed by the size of the redwood trees in Yosemite's largest grove. Let the serene surroundings of the forest recharge your energy. Stop a watch for rock climbers as they daringly make their way to the summit. In the springtime marvel at the tallest waterfall in the park Yosemite Falls.After you may explore Yosemite Valley on your own. For lunch
From $159.00
 
Small-Group Yosemite Tour from San Francisco
"Gear up for your full-day Yosemite adventure with early morning pickup from your San Francisco hotel. Relax aboard your 20-passenger luxury biodesel van across the Bay Bridge offering great views of San Francisco Bay the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.Making your way across the Central Valley — one of the largest agricultural regions in the United States — make a 10-minute stop at a street-side fruit stand for a chance to purchase some fresh local nuts or fruit. arrive at Yosemite National Park a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its spectacular granite cliffs waterfalls massive sequoia groves and biological diversity. Start your visit with a 1.5-hour driving tour through the park’s main attraction
From $179.00

Pioneer Yosemite History Center Tips (10)

Wawona

Wawona is perhaps the least visited area of the park though the Mariposa Grove gets its fair share. While lacking the spectacular scenery of the other two sections, it exudes an old rustic charm missing elsewhere in the park. It includes the Yosemite Pioneer History Center which has the oldest man made structures in the park and provides great insight into early settlers in the area.

It also is home to a grove of giant sequoias and if you are not going to Sequoia National Park, this is an area you should not miss. These massive trees are not only the biggest trees mass-wise in the world, they are amongst the oldest living things on the planet.

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richiecdisc
Sep 24, 2009

Pioneer Center-continued

Blacksmith shops provided an important service in the early years of the pioneers. They were especially needed in the forging of farm implements, the shoeing of horses and for the repair of stage coaches traveling along primitive roads.

People visiting Yosemite came by horseback or horse-driven stage. It was quite an undertaking! A trip from Wawona to the Yosemite valley took eight hours!

We read that a stage pulled by four horses would have to change four times, requiring 16 horses in total. This mode of transportation was finally retired in 1916.

The Wells Fargo Office allowed visitors to keep in touch with the world beyond Yosemite. Telegrams, make long-distance phone calls or reservations for overnight lodging could all be done here (picture 2).

Wawona Stables provides half day, 5 hour horseback rides to the waterfalls and beyond. The rider must be at least 7 years old and 44' tall; maximum weight is 225 pounds. (pictures 3 & 4) Call 209-372-4386 for more information.

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VeronicaG
Sep 04, 2007

The Pioneer Yosemite History Center

Surrounded by a stand of woods and edged by a trickly branch of the Merced River, The Pioneer Yosemite History Center presents what 19th century life was like in the shadows of El Capitan and Half Dome.

Historic buildings were moved to this Wawona site in the 1950's and '60's. Each of these buildings illustrates a era of Yosemite's history.

The first structure we encountered was the covered bridge, constructed on land owned by Galen Clark (who became the first guardian of Yosemite).

He is credited with opening the first waystation for visitors to the area and building this bridge, which crosses the Merced. It was covered by later owners, the Washburns.

The Homestead Building-this rare two-story cabin was once located in the Aspen Valley and built by the Hodgdon family--cattle ranchers from the San Joaquin Valley* (picture 2).

FYI:*JOHN MUIR(an avid preservationist) along with others, felt that domestic herds in the high country would lead to damaging the watershed and waterfalls, so worked to establish Yosemite National Park in 1890.

The Powderhouse and Jail--blasting powder for building roads at the park was stored in this building. (picture 3) In order to form roadbeds, granite rock had to be blasted from the hillsides.

The George Anderson Pioneer House(1870) was originally located at Big Meadow, northwest of Yosemite Valley (picture 5). Anderson was a miner and blacksmith, but also escorted tourists throughout this area.

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VeronicaG
Aug 20, 2007

Pioneer Yosemite: Homestead

There is just one homesteader's log cabin left in Yosemite, and it is now in the Pioneer Yosemite History Center. The two story house was built in 1879 in Aspen Valley. This and many other homesteads in the west were granted by the US government's 1862 Homestead Act, which gave a 160-acre parcel of land to settlers willing to live on it and farm it for five years. Behind the house is an outhouse and a beautiful meadow that unfortunately has electrical wires running through it.

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chewy3326
Jun 29, 2006
 
 
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Pioneer Yosemite History Center

At the gates of the outdoor history center hangs a plaque reading: "a place of pioneers who so profoundly influenced the birth and growth of the national park idea". The pioneer Yosemite History center details the lives and the homes of early European settlers in the area who helped to bring about the founding of Yosemite National Park. The History Center, at Wawona (thought to have been Miwok for "big trees"), is an interesting place, but not exactly worth stopping at if you're in Yosemite for the scenery.

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chewy3326
Jun 29, 2006

Pioneer Yosemite History Center

Located in Wawona in the southern part of the park is the Pioneer History Center focusing on Yosemite's human history and pioneer past. If you are playing golf, stopping by for a meal or staying at the Historic Wawona Hotel it's worth dropping by the Pioneer History Center right next door. There are relocated historic buildings, old carraiges, a covered bridge and horse-drawn coach rides. Interpretive signs and brochures are available for a self-guided tour.

A gift shop is near the main road. Restrooms are toward the back of the property. During busy times, overflow parking is located here with free bus transportation to the Mariposa Grove.

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annk
Jul 03, 2005

Yosemite Pioneer Village

When you visit Yosemite, be sure to spend some time at the Pioneer Yosemite History Center. It's a wonderful place to step back in time and see the way life was 100 years ago, and to find out how Yosemite was the inspiration for National Parks across the US, and the world.

The staff are all dressed in period costume, and speak the part as well. Don't even think of talking about your car to them, they will ask you what a 'car' is!

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travelgirl3
Nov 30, 2004

Pioneer Yosemite History Center (2)

Besides the historic structures from around the Park, the Pioneer Yosemite History Center also provides various ranger talks and exhibits. Next to the Center there's a stable and a beautiful covered bridge sitting on top of the South Fork Merced River (see photo). In the summer, you can catch a horse-drawn stage ride here at the bridge. The ride takes you to the nearby classic Wawona Hotel (see my hotel/accommodation tip) and down to the South Fork Merced River bank. It's interesting to experience how Yosemite pioneers used to travel.

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mht_in_la
Nov 02, 2003

Top 5 Yosemite National Park Writers

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chewy3326

"The Incomparable Valley (and Park)"
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goingsolo

"Yosemite in a day"
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richiecdisc

"On Becoming Part of the Food Chain: Yosemite"
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acemj

"Yosemite National Park"
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atufft

"Yosemite is Perhaps the Prettiest Park in the USA"
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Pioneer Yosemite History Center (1)

The first time I visited Yosemite in the late 90's, I was a volunteer with Yosemite Foundation to restore the Pioneer Yosemite History Center. The Center contains a group of historic structures built within the Park boundary throughout Yosemite's history. The structures were later moved to their current location in Wawona for display. They were built during the mining and logging era, or by early adventurers and artists seeking inspiration in the Valley. The Center tries to keep them as original as possible.

The Center is located in Wawona near the south entrance of the Park. Although my contribution was minimum and my carpentry non-existent, I always come back here to make sure the cabin I worked on stands still.

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mht_in_la
Oct 30, 2003

Take a Buggy Ride

At the Yosemite Pioneer Village, if you're tired of walking, why not take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage? They drover will take you all around the Village, stopping along the way.

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travelgirl3
Nov 26, 2004

Things to Do Near Yosemite National Park

Things to Do

Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake was empty when we visited this place on 12 September 2009. Even though the lack of water was unexpected, it was quite an interesting sight and we also had the rare opportunity to stand on...
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Things to Do

Ahwahnee Hotel

We didn't stay at the Ahwahnee Hotel, so I can't comment on its lodging attributes, but we did have a few rounds at the bar after a long day of hiking, and we spent about 30-40 minutes walking around...
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Things to Do

Half Dome

The half dome is one of the most popular hikes in Yosemite. At over 400 feet incline, it is a difficult hike. The trail runs 12 miles; 6 miles each way. It is a seven hour hike in all. Since I was...
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Things to Do

Valley

This is a must do, even if there is traffic. The views are amazing and there are plenty of parking along side the road if there is a view you would like to see a little longer.Coming into the valley,...
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Things to Do

Glacier Point

Okay, they say a photo is worth a thousand words, so I have, by way of the photos here ALREADY written 5,000 words ^O^. But if you have the time, take the road up to Glacier Point, it is one of those...
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Things to Do

Falls

We went to Yosemite in July, it was perfect, the weather is not too hot then. We went on a hike, an easy one, passing by the Yosemite Falls, it's really beautiful. It's at 2,425 ft. There are several...
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Getting to Yosemite National Park

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Wawona, California

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