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Yosemite National Park Facts That'll Give You Major Travel Goals

Yosemite National Park Facts
Covering an area of 761,268 acres, Yosemite National Park is located in the eastern-central region of California, United States. With 1,600-mile long streams, 800 miles of hiking trails, gorgeous waterfalls, and roads that extend to 350 miles, the park is a sight for sore eyes. In the following article, you will find many more Yosemite National Park facts that'll help you plan your vacation...
Mayuri Kulkarni
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
History of the Park and its People
For centuries, the Ahwahneechee (Native Americans) lived in the Yosemite Valley. Apart from the inhabitants, the valley was discovered in 1833 by other humans. Many European Americans first set foot in the region after the discovery of gold in the Sierras. It was soon followed by the California Gold Rush. This led to the conflict between the indigenous tribes and the European miners. In order to end the conflict, in 1851, the Mariposa Battalion was sent which killed a number of inhabitants of the valley.

Previously, the park was just a valley of rolling hills and the Merced river (image on the right) flowed languidly through these hills. Gradually, the river started flowing rapidly due to geological changes in the valley. As a result of this, the hills and mountains became higher, and made the valley to adapt and change its geographic form. There were many glaciers, some around 2,000 feet thick, started flowing through the valley which brought major changes in the geography of the Yosemite valley and formed the valley that we see today. In 1855, an artist named Thomas Ayers visited the valley and sketched many pictures, depicting its beauty. This led to the "Yosemite Valley Grant Act" which was signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1864. This act granted permission for the formation of a national park in this area. The sincere efforts of John Muir, a naturalist, and Galen Clark, the Yosemite National Park was formed on October 1, 1890. Since 1984, Yosemite has been recognized as a World Heritage Site.
Average Year-round Weather
While traveling to Yosemite, each person will have specific interests and reasons. Considering this possibility, the best time to visit the park will vary. So the best way to decide when you should plan your vacation is by knowing the year-round weather.
Summer in Yosemite
Summer in Yosemite National Park
Summer Months - June to September
Avg. High - 82° F to 89° F
Avg. Low - 51° F to 57° F

If you visit the park at the beginning of summer, typically during May and June, you will find many waterfalls as the sun melts the snow at higher elevations. The weather during the summer months is typically sunny. July and August are considered the hottest months in the park, and you will rarely find rainfall around this time. On the other hand, nighttime temperatures are completely different. The temperature can drop into the 50s, making the nights quite chilly. It is recommended that you wear layers or carry a jacket with you. The clear weather in summer gives you ample opportunities to go rafting, hiking and biking through meadows, fishing, birdwatching, rock climbing, and even stargazing at night.
Fall Months - October and November
Avg. High - 58° F to 74° F
Avg. Low - 31° F to 39° F

Right after Labor Day weekend, you won't find that many tourists in the park. However, for many solitude-loving travelers, this is the perfect time to visit the park. With dry weather and warm temperatures, the park is open for trekking, hiking, cycling, and rock climbing. In early November, you will see the leaves changing colors, making the park look vibrant. Fall is also a wonderful time for photography enthusiasts. However, this time is also filled with risks as the trails are worn out during the summer months, there is smoke around the area due to controlled burns making the view hazy, and chances of rain increases.
Winter Months - December to March
Avg. High - 47° F to 58° F
Avg. Low - 28° F to 34° F

Of course, winter in Yosemite can be quite cold due to the snow. As the temperatures go down, you won't find hoards of tourists flocking to the park. In fact, you will find people who love to spend cool sunny days, snow-encrusted mountaintops, and snowy meadows at the park. This time is perfect for cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snow tubing, and ice skating. The water levels become low and the chances of storms increase in winter. Most of the park is covered in snow which makes hiking and trekking slight difficult. Also, there are opportunities for skiing and overnight tours at the Badger Pass Ski Area.
Spring in Yosemite National Park
Spring in Yosemite National Park
Spring Months - April and May
Avg. High - 64° F to 71° F
Avg. Low - 38° F to 45° F

Springtime in Yosemite can bring either rainfall, thunderstorms, sunny days, or cold nights. Chances of rain or snow increase early in spring. Which is why, the park is mostly visited near the end of spring as some of the wildflowers bloom, plants and trees are lush, newborn animals are out and about, trails open up for hiking, and waterfalls and rivers are gushing with water. Other activities that are possible in spring are rock climbing, bird watching, fishing, rafting, biking, photography, and star gazing at nights.
The park is crowded during the holiday weekends like Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day. Also, you need to make a reservation before you plan your holiday at the park. However, if you are planning to stay the night in Yosemite, it is a good idea to reserve a lodge or camp area.
The Fauna
There are over 400 species of animals and more than 262 species of resident and migratory birds in Yosemite National Park. With so many different species of fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals, the chances of seeing these animals in the wild increases.
American badger
American Black Bear

Here's a short list of animals found in the park.

• Beavers
• Cougars
• Frogs
• Mule Deer
• Raccoons
• Squirrels
 • Black Bears
• Coyotes
• Marmots
• Pacific Fishers
• River Otters
• Bobcats
• Foxes
• Mountain Lions
• Pikas
• Snakes
American Dipper
Great Grey Owl
Steller's Jay
Western Tanager
Here's a short list of birds found in the park.
• American Dippers
• Golden Eagles
• Hummingbirds
• Ravens
• Steller's Jays
• Woodpeckers
• Bald Eagles
• Goshawks
• Nutcrackers
• Red-tail Hawks
• Thrushes
• Dark-eyed Juncos
• Great Grey Owls
• Peregrine Falcons
• Spotted Owls
• Western Tanagers
The Flora
A variety of plants can be found in the Yosemite National Park, as it is situated at a considerable height above sea level, the elevation being 2,000 to 11,000 feet.
California Incense-cedar
California Incense cedar
Giant Sequoia
Giant Sequoia
Ponderosa Pine
Ponderosa Pine
Here's a short list of trees found in the park.
• Black Oak
• Douglas Fir
• Greasewood
• Lodgepole Pine
• Ponderosa Pine
• Whitebark Pine
• Blue Oak
• Giant Sequoia
• Incense-cedar
• Manzanita
• Red Fir
• Ceanothus
• Gray Pine
• Jeffrey Pine
• Mountain Hemlock
• White Fir
Tufted Poppy
Tufted Poppy
Sierra Tiger Lily
Sierra Tiger Lily
Shooting Stars
Shooting Star
Mariposa Lily
Mariposa Lily
Here's a short list of flowers found in the park.
• Angelica
• Dogbanes
• Mariposa Lilies
• Popcorn Flowers
• Sierra Tiger Lilies
• Wallflowers
 • Asters
• Fiddlenecks
• Monkshood
• Red Columbine
• Spider Lupines
 • Coralroot Orchids
• Leopard Lilies
• Mountain Pride
• Shooting Stars
• Steer's Head
The Waterfalls
The Yosemite National Park has countless waterfalls that are ideal for a visit during spring. The peak flow of each of the waterfalls has been mentioned below. Out of these waterfalls, some waterfalls flow year-round.
Bridalveil Fall
Bridalveil Fall
Peak Flow - March to June
Total Height - 617 ft
Longest Drop - 617 ft (plunge)
Chilnualna Falls
Chilnualna Falls
Peak Flow - May
Total Height - 695 ft
Longest Drop - 240 ft
Horsetail Fall
Horsetail Fall
Peak Flow - December to April
Total Height - 650 ft
Longest Drop - 480 ft
Nevada Fall
Nevada Fall
Peak Flow - May
Total Height - 594 ft
Longest Drop - 480 ft
Ribbon Fall
Ribbon Fall
Peak Flow - March to June
Total Height - 1,634 ft
Longest Drop - 1,634 ft (plunge)
Tueeulala Falls
Tueeulala Falls
Peak Flow - May
Total Height - 880 ft
Longest Drop - 600 ft
Vernal Fall
Vernal Fall
Peak Flow - May
Total Height - 317 ft
Longest Drop - 317 ft (plunge)
Wapama Falls
Wapama Falls
Peak Flow - May
Total Height 1,080 ft
Longest Drop - 300 ft
Yosemite Falls
Yosemite Falls
Peak Flow - May
Total Height - 2,425 ft
Longest Drop - 1,430 ft
List of Yosemite waterfalls:
• Bridalveil Fall
• Illilouette Fall
• Pywiack Cascade
• Royal Arch Cascade
• Snow Creek Falls
• Tueeulala Falls
• Waterwheel Falls
• Chilnualna Falls
• Lehamite Falls
• Quaking Aspen Falls
• Sentinel Fall
• Staircase Falls
• Vernal Fall
• Wildcat Falls
• Horsetail Fall
• Nevada Fall
• Ribbon Fall
• Silver Strand Falls
• Three Chute Falls
• Wapama Falls
• Yosemite Falls
The Mountains and Meadows
Half Dome
Half Dome
Location - North-east Mariposa County, CA
Elevation Over 8,840 ft
El Capitan
El Capitan
Location - North of Yosemite Valley
Elevation - 7,573 ft
Tuolumne Meadows
Tuolumne Meadows
Location - East-side of Yosemite Valley
Area 17,420 ft2
Mariposa Grove
Mariposa Grove
Location Near Wawona, CA
Area - 1 acre
Mount Lyell
Mount Lyell
Location - South-end of Cathedral Range (highest point in the park)
Elevation - 13,120 ft
Cathedral Peak
Cathedral Peak
Location - South-central of Yosemite Park, east of Mariposa & Tuolumne counties
Elevation - 10,916 ft
Mount Dana
Mount Dana
Location - East of Yosemite Park (highest peak in the park)
Elevation - 13,061 ft
Mount Conness
Mount Conness
Location - West of Hall Natural Area (Mount Dana is the parent peak)
Elevation - 12,679 ft
List of Yosemite mountains:
• Ahwahnee Meadow
• Cook's Meadow
• El Capitan Meadow
• Half Dome
• Lembert Dome
• Middle Cathedral Rock
• Mount Clark
• Mount Gibbs
• Mount Maclure
• Parsons Peak
• Sentinel Dome
• Smith Peak
• Tuolumne Meadows
• Cathedral Peak
• Eagle Peak
• Fairview Dome
• Kolana Rock
• Liberty Cap
• Mono Meadow
• Mount Conness
• Mount Hoffmann
• Mount Starr King
• Pothole Dome
• Sentinel Meadow
• Stoneman Meadow
• Wawona Meadow
 • Clouds Rest
• El Capitan
• Grizzly Peak
• Leidig Meadow
• Matterhorn Peak
• Mount Ansel Adams
• Mount Dana
• Mount Lyell
• North Dome
• Pothole Meadows
• Sentinel Rock
• Triple Divide Peak
These were just some Yosemite National Park facts that don't do complete justice to the beautiful park. This park in California is one of the most-visited national parks (literally millions of visitors each year) and will leave you wanting for more.
Yosemite Falls