There are only a few places in the world that have such impressive sights of interest at a considerably smaller area as Yosemite Valley – is a beautiful and full of variety 12 kilometer long natural masterpiece and even John Muir, a famous naturalist said the following: “God has surpassed Himself here”.
The valley holds many secret phenomena and it reaches across the Sierra-Nevada mountain chain in the center of California. Yosemite is recognized for its Merced River, waterfalls and besides, the Yosemite Falls is the third highest falls in the world (739 m). The landscape is distinguished by its magnificent hills and cliffs as well as several biggest and majestic boulders on Earth, the most impressive is considered to be El Capitan, which is a granite cliff that goes straight up 1099 m from the valley.
Strictly speaking, the Yosemite Valley is only a small part of the Yosemite National Park that covers 3080 km2. In 1864 the valley became the first State Park in the United States and the surrounded area was declared the National Park which starting from 1906 included the territory of the National Park.
There are ancient sequoia trees growing in the Mariposa grove around the southern park entrance, some of them are several thousand years old. To the east there is a popular Tuolumne Meadows Lodge, a mountainous terrain with gigantic rock cliffs rising up from the green fields and transparent lakes. Behind the Tuolumne Meadows there is a Tioga Pass Road (3031 m), the highest point that can be found in the park and there is a steep road from the pass road that goes downwards through the Inyo National Forest and up to the eastern slopes of Sierra Nevada. To the north from this area one can find the High Sierra, a less visited place in the Yosemite Park, which includes the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River passing well beyond the Hetch Hetchy Valley generated in 1913 and flooded the magnificent valley as Yosemite Valley.
Yosemite had been known to the habitants who dwelled on the west before 1851, the year when the Mariposa Battalion was led into the west end of Yosemite Valley pursuing and suppressing Native Americans which had to be brought to a reservation. The name of the park comes from “uzumati”, a defaced local Indian name for grizzly. A few years later people started to come here and admire the valley views that are seen when leaving the Wawona Tunnel: on the left there is a gloomy El Capitan boulder, on the right, you can see the 189 m high Bridalveil Fall that falls down from the Cathedral Range, further there is the Sentinel Dome which is absolutely hardly ever reached and right straight ahead it can be seen the Half Dome, the slopes cut due to the glaciers.
Thanks to John Muir’s efforts Yosemite Park is now a part of American cultural heritage. Muir has played a key role in the formation of the forest land conservation concept as a part of the USA governmental policy; he has also spent most of life wandering the Sierra terrains and particularly along the Yosemite and describing distinct natural wonders that he faced there. Ansel Adams, a famous American photographer that has become John’s successor who played the role of a prophet of wild nature and whose black and white photos have captured the Yosemite Park and its surroundings in all seasons and weather.