Photograph by Raul Touzon, National Geographic Creative
Upon entering Yosemite Valley, most people stop along the road to admire 620-foot-high (190-meter-high) Bridalveil Fall. A steep trail leads to its base, where swirling winds often assure that visitors get wet from the spray.
Photograph by eye35.pix, Alamy
More than 200 giant sequoia trees draw visitors to Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park. Along with Yosemite Valley, this is the attraction that inspired the original conservation efforts that led to national park status.
Photograph by Bill Hatcher, National Geographic Creative
Skiers work their way toward the summit of Clouds Rest, a peak in the park. Yosemite is open year-round, so activities range from ice skating and skiing in the winter to fishing and swimming in the warmer months.
Photograph by Richard Nowitz, National Geographic Creative
Mighty El Capitan—the largest monolith of granite in the world—rises above the Merced River. Though El Cap is the holy grail for Yosemite climbers, the park has many other world-renowned routes.
Photograph by Phil Schermeister
Sentinel Dome’s famous Jeffrey pine stood for over a hundred years, serving as muse to famed photographers like Carleton Watkins and Ansel Adams before finally falling in 2003.
Photograph by Alan Kearney, Getty
A hiker overlooks the turbulent Tuolumne River, one of two rivers that originate in Yosemite National Park. In 1984, Congress named some 80 miles (130 kilometers) of Tuolumne's restless waters a Wild and Scenic River, a designation that gives the waterway special protections.
Photograph by Shawn Reeder, Getty
Climbers tackle a rock face high above a raging waterfall near Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park. The valley is home to the 8-mile-long (13-kilometer-long) O’Shaughnessy Dam, a reservoir that supplies fresh drinking water to residents of the San Francisco Bay area.
Photograph by Barbara Jordan, Getty
Sunset tints the waters of Yosemite's Horsetail Falls fiery red. The 1,000-foot (305-meter) waterfall is best seen from the east side of El Capitan, a 3,000-foot (910-meter) granite monolith that challenges even the most ambitious and experienced rock climbers.
Photograph by Bill Hatcher
Visitors who can’t handle the daylong strenuous hike to the top of Yosemite Falls are in luck—the three separate falls that make up regal Yosemite Falls are visible from numerous spots in the park. The upper, middle, and lower falls form the highest waterfall in North America at 2,425 feet (739 meters) and the second highest in the world.
Photograph by John Blair
Sun cups, conical hollows that form after the sun melts portions of snow, often challenge mountaineers climbing through areas like Parker Pass in Yosemite National Park.
Sunrise in Yosemite
Photograph by Jeff Sullivan, Getty
Some 3.3 million people visit Yosemite National Park each year. "No temple made with human hands can compare with Yosemite," wrote John Muir, whose crusading led to the creation of the park in 1890.
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