Poor Yosemite National Park. Beset by a deadly hantavirus outbreak. Ravaged by the Rim Fire (did you know that fire has its own Wiki page?). Knee-capped by the $%*#*&! US government shutdown. It’s been a tough few years for one of the most visited national parks in the United States. But this iconic park is back and we’ve got your Yosemite travel inspiration including the scenery, sequoias, and the why you shouldn’t blow off Tuolumne Meadows. And don’t miss our comprehensive post about hiking Half Dome too.
The seasonal scenery of Yosemite
Yosemite National Park started as a protected area in 1864 and was made a National Park in 1890. In 1984 the park was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It currently includes 1,200 square miles (517 square km) of valleys, cliff faces, rivers, waterfalls, and high mountain meadows. To call it divers is an understatement and it’s beautiful all year round. How do we know? Because we’ve visited this park may times in may seasons. Here are some side-by-side shots that prove show the seasonal scenery of Yosemite.
Mariposa Grove and the stately sequoias of Yosemite
As if epic valleys and views weren’t enough, Yosemite is also home to hundreds of giant sequoias, aka redwood trees. These are the oldest trees on earth and two of the giants in the Mariposa Grove, in the southern part of Yosemite National Park, are on the list of the 30 largest examples of this species on the planet.
Fire is an important part of the natural life-cycle of redwood trees and the giants are built to withstand fire with a natural fire retardant in their bark which can be two feet thick at the base of the tree. However, the very hot, very fast Rim Fire had naturalists worried enough to construct fire breaks around Mariposa Grove and even bring in sprinklers.
Tuolumne Meadows bound
Tuolumne Meadows, in the eastern part of Yosemite National Park, is a different world and one that many visitors skip. We think they’re missing out, as these photos prove.
Bonus: Whoa Nellie Deli gourmet gas station
Another reason to wander through Tuolumne Meadows and exit Yosemite National Park near the town of Lee Vining? Whoa Nellie Deli. Located in the Tioga Gas Mart gas station, white-capped chefs have replaced microwave burritos with gourmet meals including fish tacos and elk steaks.
Here’s more about travel to US National Parks & Monuments
Here’s more about travel in the USA