Yosemite Valley, pronounced “Yosemitee,” a name meaning “Grizzly Bear” in Native American, is located in California’s Sierra Nevada in the central region of California. Declared a national park in 1890, it is more than a mere beauty spot.
Reasons to see the Spectacles of Yosemite
This extraordinary area contains special features due to its dramatic geological past, namely, pressures within the Sierra fault thrusting huge mounds of granite monoliths upwards and over at an angle. Over millennia, these monoliths have been carved by ice ages, glaciers, and meltwater.
When the most recent ice age ended 10,000 years ago, the already deep Yosemite Valley was filled with a lake, which slowly silted up. The result is huge granite cliffs overhanging a fertile valley floor. It is no wonder that Yosemite is a catalog of wonders.
Sightseeing the Chief and Half Dome for Challenging Climbs
El Capitan, or the Chief, is one of the tallest sheer cliffs in the world. Overlooking the Merced River and surrounding woodland, it towers a dizzying 3,000 feet (900 meters) above. A similar cliff, the Half Dome, so named because of its sheer cliff face and rounded rear hump, rises 2,200 feet (670 meters) from the valley floor.
Visiting Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Falls
The seemingly endless Yosemite Falls is the sixth highest in the world and the highest in North America. The waters plummet a staggering 2,425 feet (739 meters) in three huge leaps. Incidentally, several other waterfalls found in the valley are some of the highest in the world. But Bridalveil falls, adjacent to El Capitan, is a little different. It plummets, by comparison, a moderate 620 feet (190 meters) but below, the water suspends itself in a misty veil, explaining the name.
Sequoia, the Biggest Trees in the World
Amongst the incredible flora and fauna that can be found in the fertile lands of Yosemite Valley is the sequoia tree. Growing to 200 feet (60 meters) or more, they are not as tall as the giant redwoods that can be found in Western California but have more girth and, therefore, bulk. This makes them the biggest in the world. The Grizzly Giant found in the Mariposa Grove is estimated to be 2700 years old.
Travel in Yosemite
Yosemite valley contains an extraordinary amount of special features within one area, namely El Capitan, one of the tallest sheer cliffs in the world, Yosemite Falls, the highest waterfalls in North America, and the sequoia, the biggest tree in the world. This is without considering the extraordinary light effects the weather has upon this dramatic landscape.
A spectacular view can be found from Glacier Point, 3,300 feet (1,000 meters) above the valley. John Muir, a Scottish conservationist and naturalist who worked tirelessly in the valley, wrote about its beauty, “No temple made with hands can compare with Yosemite…as if into this mountain mansion Nature had gathered her choicest treasures.”