With its sculpted granite rock formations, towering ancient sequoia trees and spectacular waterfalls, it's no wonder Yosemite is one of the most celebrated national parks in the world.

Seeing the park’s world-famous sights is a transformative experience, from the jaw-dropping El Capitan and Half Dome rising from the valley floor to the plummeting Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls to the enormous trees of Mariposa Grove.

The park also features meadows and streams, forests with diverse tree species, historic buildings, and vast wilderness. Visitors can explore Yosemite Valley by shuttle to see many of the major attractions and hike the park’s famed landscape.

Beyond the valley, visitors can also hike the Hetch Hetchy area to see the High Sierra with its mountain lakes, granite cliff faces and waterfalls.

A First for Public Land

When Abraham Lincoln signed legislation in 1864 establishing a public trust to preserve parts of Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove, it was the first time the U.S. government had ever set aside land for the benefit of the public, although it was not the country's first national park. The land was originally managed by the state of California and did not become a national park until 1890, 18 years after Yellowstone was established.

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