|Yosemite National Park|
|Located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California Yosemite National Park is about 200 miles (300 km) east of San Francisco. It would be a pleasant drive eastward over the coastal range, across the Central Valley and through the foothills of the Sierras to Yosemite. |
Yosemite Valley boasts of incredible splendor. The park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the USA, mostly because of its proximity to the population centers of Los Angeles and San Francisco but is mostly due to the incredible natural beauty of Yosemite Valley. The alpine valley is just 8 miles long and less than one mile wide with sheer granite walls rising vertically over 3000 feet on either side. There are 9 magnificent waterfalls that cascade into the valley, 5 of them are over 1000 feet high including the 2425 feet Yosemite Falls. The park in fact encompasses about 1200 square miles and boasts of many other natural attractions, but most tourists visit only Yosemite Valley or the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia trees near Wawona at the southern entry.
Yosemite Valley often becomes very crowded in the summer months and on weekends throughout the year.
The road that circles the valley floor often becomes choked with traffic on popular summer weekends. There is a free shuttle bus around the loop from various parking areas outside of the valley provided. You may visit Yosemite by taking the Amtrak train to Merced and then boarding a bus to Yosemite, but automobile travel is the most convenient method of exploring this vast natural wonder.
There is a nice selection of facilities within Yosemite Valley and throughout the park. Several hotels in the valley range in price from the luxurious but rather expensive Ahwahnee and the moderately priced Yosemite Lodge to the budget priced cabins and tents at Curry Village. Some camping facilities are located in the valley. And many of the accommodations are completely booked during the busy summer months, so you must make reservations far ahead. Find accommodations outside of the valley. The park service provides accommodations and camping in other parts of the park and a selection of private motels and campgrounds are located near it. The Park Service also maintains a museum, a visitor's information center, several restaurants and snack bars, a small convenience store, a gift shop, a riding stable and tour guides.