National Park-founder John Muir once said "The mountains are calling and I should go." Taking a note from Mr. Muir, you should too! Designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, glaciers, and biological diversity with almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness. A visit to such an overwhelmingly stunning park can be quite daunting especially for first-timers so be sure to download the Yosemite National Park Travel Guide and Offline Map.
There is so much hiking to be had in Yosemite. Panorama Trail is an 8.5-mile one-way trip from Glacier Point to Yosemite Valley and takes you past hidden gems like Panorama Point and Illilouette Falls, before joining the Mist Trail to incorporate Nevada and Vernal Falls too. If you're feeling lucky and up for a mighty challenge then you can apply to undertake the infamous Half Dome Hike – a 10-12 hour trek to the summit of the park’s focal peak, which only allows around 300 people on the trail each day. Equipped with torches and a sense of adventure, you can also opt for a "Flashlight Hike" offered by nearby hotels. You’ll be led through the woods around the area to learn all about the trees and wildlife that make up the forest and makes for a great opportunity for some stargazing.
2. Water Activities
First formed by the actions of mighty glaciers, Yosemite’s astonishing scenery is also the result of many millennia of the weathering actions of wind and water. So it's only natural that rafting, boating, and water activities are quite popular at Yosemite. Today, rivers and lakes are some of the park’s biggest attractions, especially for swimmers and paddlers of canoes and kayaks. For thrilling white-water action, venture outside the park boundaries, especially along the mighty Merced River. Adrenaline junkies will surely enjoy the wild and scenic stretches of the Merced and Tuolumne Rivers just outside the park offer thrilling whitewater rides.
3. Winter Sports
If you're looking for a unique way to visit Yosemite then head over sometime between December to March and strap on some skis, snowshoes, or hit the slopes for some downhill adventure! Yosemite is home to the oldest downhill skiing area in California and offers downhill skiing and snowboarding. You'll find groomed trails perfect for cross-country skiers, chair lifts that take Alpine skiers to the top of the runs in minutes, a challenging terrain park for snowboarders and skiers to test their limits, and a tubing area where the whole family can experience the thrills together.
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