Located in central California, Yosemite National Park was established in 1890 and draws four million annual visitors. Almost 95 percent of the park’s 747,956 acres (roughly the size of Rhode Island) is classified as wilderness.
Yosemite National Park offers an abundance of activities and sightseeing destinations. The Valley is a 7 mile wide canyon with incredible rock formations, including El Capitan, the world's tallest granite monolith and one of the world's top rock climbing destinations. Yosemite Falls is the largest waterfall in North America with breathtaking views. Peak visitation at the falls is in the spring as it is comprised entirely of melting snow. The park is also known for its Giant Sequoia trees, which are estimated to be over 3,000 years old.
Weather in Yosemite varies throughout the year. In the summer months (May to September), rainfall is at a minimum. High temperatures are generally warm but comfortable, staying in the upper 70s to the low 90s. Low temperatures can dip to a chilly 40 degrees at night in the summer months. Spring ushers in the rainy season at the park. Temperatures range from the upper 60s to the low 30s. Winter is a volatile season at the park. Winter storms can approach rapidly and stay for days, dumping heavy snowfalls across the park.
Yosemite Tours and Camping
Guided Yosemite tours are available in the valley and on the trails to the park's popular waterfalls. Horseback riding excursions are also offered. There are plenty of interpretive programs and nature and history walks offered throughout the year.
Yosemite camping grounds can accommodate over 9,300 people. Specified areas are laid out for families, groups and even those on horseback riding excursions within the park. Winter weather in Yosemite National Park can change quickly. If you're camping in the winter, it's best to not venture too far off the main trails. A large portion of the Yosemite’s 1,500 campgrounds are closed from late autumn through the spring. When traveling or camping in the park, bring a Yosemite map and ask Yosemite park rangers for safety tips.
The expansive forests and a variety of rich habitats within Yosemite National Park hold over 400 animal species. Black bear, mule deer, foxes, and other mammals can be found throughout the Yosemite Valley. At higher elevations, the endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep can occasionally be spotted in the northeastern part of the park. Yosemite is also home to numerous bird populations, many of which are seasonal. Some park visitors may get the chance to observe California spotted owls or great gray owls.