See the highlights of Yosemite National Park


Yosemite National Park is one of America's great natural treasures and regularly welcomes between three and four million people every year. The national park is huge, covering over 750,000 acres, so planning what you want to see ahead of visiting is certainly worth doing if you want to make the most of your time at Yosemite. Grab your Yosemite National Park map and see if you can spot all of these highlights.

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls is one of the distinguishing features of Yosemite National Park, as the highest waterfall in North America at 2,424 ft high and the sixth largest in the world. Spring is the best time to visit Yosemite Falls, as the waterfall will be gushing from all the melted snow, and the famous moonbow is typically seen during this time of the year.

The moonbow is a beautiful rainbow that can be seen by the light of the moon during certain conditions that occur at the same time only a few days of the year. You can plan ahead by finding out more about the discover nature on USA tours will want to head directly for Mariposa Grove, which is home to the largest collection of Giant Redwoods in Yosemite National Park. Also known as Giant Sequoia trees, Giant Redwoods are famous for being the world's largest single trees according to their volume, and there are certainly some impressive examples to look out for in Mariposa Grove.

The Washington tree is the largest, with an impressive volume of 1,018 m², whilst the Telescope tree is completely hollow due to a number of fires, which means that people can actually walk inside it and look straight up to see the sky. The pine cones of the Giant Redwood are very impressive; some are as big as a loaf of bread!

Yosemite Museum and Indian Village

The Yosemite Museum and Indian Village is an essential part of a trip to Yosemite National Park for those who like to learn about culture and history. The museum is located next to the Valley Visitor Centre and includes some fantastic exhibitions and displays about the Native Americans who inhabited Yosemite. The reconstructed Indian Village of Awahnee is well worth visiting and demonstrations of traditional basket-weaving and beadwork are held regularly. Admission is free and the museum is open all year round.

Happy Isles

Happy Isles is a pair of small islands in the Merced River and the trailhead of the John Muir Trail and the Mist Trail that are popular with avid hikers in the park. This picturesque spot sits within the Yosemite Valley floor, making it a great photo opportunity and a stunning place to stop and have lunch. The Happy Isles webcam refreshes every five minutes so that visitors can check the conditions of the Happy Isles and the level of the Merced River before they set off.

Glacier Point

From one spectacular view to another, although nothing is quite like that of Glacier Point. This incredible viewpoint above Yosemite Valley offers staggering views of many of the park highlights listed here, including Yosemite Falls and Half Dome as well as Vernal Fall, Nevada Fall, and Clouds Rest. The point sits at an elevation of 7,214 feet and is accessible by car from around the end of May until October or November, depending on snowfall.

Events

There are some great events that take place throughout the year in Yosemite National Park, but a few of the best make the most of the fantastic weather brought by spring. 

Spring Fest

This festival takes place at the beginning of April every year to celebrate the start of spring and consists of some great family activities, as well as some great snow sport events to watch. Spring Fest is taking place on the 29th March in 2014.

Earth Day

Nowhere is better to celebrate Earth Day than Yosemite, celebrating environmental protection through events and activities such as an earth-friendly product fair and a photo walk put together by the Ansel Adams Gallery. This is one not to miss if you are visiting the park this spring in the run up to the 22nd April.

Image Credit: docentjoyce (flickr.com)

Nowhere depicts the drastic changes to the landscape as a result of the varying seasons quite like Yosemite National Park; the metres of snowfall in winter and the dry hiking weather in the early summer months make this a place of stark contrast and exquisite beauty at every time of year. This fantastic time-lapse video put together by Project Yosemite offers a glimpse of what Yosemite is like throughout the year. To check out the stunning video click here.