Located in east central California, Yosemite National Park is a place that will remain in your memory for a lifetime. And there is a good reason for that. Its majestic views along with its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams and most of all its internationally recognized Giant Sequoia groves, make this biologically diverse park a favorite among tourists worldwide. The park, which was designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, is visited each year by an average of 3.5 million vacationers. Although the park covers an area of about 1,189 square miles most visitors spend their time in the seven miles that comprise the Yosemite Valley.
When visiting this majestic park, expect to find all kinds of outdoor entertainment possibilities. Hiking is one of the most popular activities in the park and there are over 800 miles of trails available to hikers ranging from easy strolls to multiple day backpack trips for the more advanced. I personally recommend experiencing other portions of the park besides Yosemite Valley. If you plan an overnight backpack trip keep in mind that you need a wilderness permit and approved bear resistant food storage. You can find free information is available from the Park Service in Yosemite with details on all the requirements, trail maps and much more.
Rock climbing and biking are other popular pastimes in the park. If you decide to try biking, you will find bicycle rentals in Yosemite Valley from spring to fall and over 12 miles of paved bike paths. You can also ride on regular roads, however off-trail riding and mountain biking are not permitted. If you are visiting with kids keep in mind that helmets are required by law for children under 18 years of age. If you prefer rock climbing you will not be disappointed. The park played an important role in the development of rock climbing as a sport and one of its campgrounds is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Lessons are also available if you wish to take them.
If you visit during the winter months —mid-December through early April—you will probably find several roads closed due to the heavy snow. The Yosemite Valley however, is open year-round and you will be able to enjoy downhill skiing at the Badger Pass Ski Area, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. As with hiking, if you are planning a backcountry overnight ski trip, make sure to have a wilderness permit, as it is required.
As far as accommodations you will not have a problem finding a suitable option for you and your family or friends in Yosemite. You will not have a hard time finding everything from beautiful Yosemite vacation homes, cozy Yosemite bed and breakfasts and Yosemite cabins with great views that will ensure a comfortable and memorable vacation!