Top 10 Reasons to Visit Yosemite: Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Yosemite Grant Act

This year marks the 150th Anniversary of Abraham Lincoln signing the Yosemite Grant Act, establishing Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove as the first protected wild land in the U.S.  To celebrate this successful conservation story and the great wonder that is Yosemite National Park, here are the top 10 reasons we absolutely love Yosemite:

1. Great Conservation Story – Yosemite National Park has a remarkable history with many influential conservation leaders, like John Muir and President Theodore Roosevelt, championing to protect this sacred landscape.  Learn more about Yosemite’s important conservation story and those who have fought to preserve it.

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John Muir sculpture in Yosemite National Park Visitor Center.

2. Change of Seasons – Weather in Yosemite is largely dictated by the Sierra Nevadas, and the transition between seasons never fails to impress.  Late spring and fall are among our favorite times to visit the park and each offers unique seasonal benefits.  Spring sees the snow beginning to melt and the waterfalls are flowing strong.  Fall brings a peak color change in the foliage along with fewer crowds.

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Early spring in Yosemite Valley.

3. Waterfalls – There are over twenty waterfalls in Yosemite, including the tallest waterfall in North America, Yosemite Falls (2,425ft).  A must-see for your Yosemite trip is Bridalveil Fall (620 ft), where you might catch a rainbow when the sun hits the valley in the afternoon.

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An afternoon rainbow spanning Bridalveil Fall.

4. Hikes – Yosemite is great for its diversity of trails.  From the challenging all-day hikes like Yosemite Falls and Half Dome, to easy family-friendly hikes on paved pathways, there’s sure to be a suitable adventure for any skill level (check out Outside Online’s Best Spring Hikes in Yosemite).

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Yosemite’s Mirror Lake trail.

5. Wildlife – Mountain lions, bobcats and bears, oh my!  Yosemite boasts over 400 species of vertebrates due to the diversity of intact habitat within the park.  If you’re lucky you may spot a black bear, big horn sheep, or Sierra Nevada red fox.  You can even help scientists by reporting wildlife sightings.

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Deer foraging in Yosemite Valley.

6. Photography – There’s a reason world-famous photographer Ansel Adams took his first photographs of Yosemite at age 14, and returned every year until his passing in 1984.  Yosemite is a photographer’s dream.  Visit the Ansel Adams Galley at Yosemite for a bit of inspiration on your next trip.

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Ansel Adams photographing in Yosemite Valley on a Woody Station Wagon, taken by Ansel Adam’s close friend and mentor, Cedric Wright in 1946.

7. Sequoias – Yosemite’s famous Mariposa Grove contains about 500 mature giant sequoias, some of which are over 3,000 years old.  A fun hike for the family, Mariposa Grove is home to some uniquely named and equally entertaining Sequoias like the Faithful Couple, Clothespin Tree, and the Grizzly Giant.

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Mariposa Grove’s Grizzly Giant, Clothespin Tree, and Faithful Couple.

8. Scenic Views – For those that love a great scenic drive, Yosemite offers a number of spectacular views easily accessible from paved roads throughout the park.  Be sure to check out these must-see locations at Yosemite’s Famous Viewpoints.

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Driving into Yosemite Valley.

9. Accommodations – From backcountry camping to luxurious lodges, Yosemite has it all.  Reminiscent of a good old-fashioned summer camp, consider Curry Village, a group campsite with tents and communal facilities. Just be sure to store your food and toiletries in the bear-proof storage lockers!

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Camp Curry welcomes visitors to Yosemite Village.

10. Chimani App – The Chimani Yosemite app is an awesome use of technology to enhance your Yosemite adventure.  You can access all its great features even when you’re out of wi-fi range.  The app includes park maps, trail info, waterfalls and other points of interest, ranger programs and more.  And the best part?  Chimani makes similar apps for just about any national park in the U.S.  This is a must-have for your next Yosemite adventure!

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Congratulations to Yosemite National Park for 150 years of conservation!  We look forward to many more anniversaries of great achievements.  Visit the Yosemite Grant Act 150th Anniversary website for more activities and events.  Celebrations run through June 2016.

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