Yosemite National Park and Tuolumne Meadows
Yosemite National Park covers an area of nearly 1,200 square miles across the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The park is well known for its dominant granite walls including the so admired El Capitan. The view of this massive 3000 foot vertical rock giant will take your breath away every time no matter how many times have you seen it before. El Capitan is the mecca of rock climbing and you will encounter many climbers in the valley throughout the whole season. Beside the sheer elegance and dominance of these granite walls, the waterfalls that cascades over these cliffs are some of the most spectacular in the world. The size of these walls and the power and amount of the water that flows through will question your significancy on this planet. Especially during the months of April, May, June when the melting snow swells the falls into massive rivers of frigid water.
More than 3.7 million people comes to Yosemite every year to hike on some of the 800 hiking trails available.One can find trails of every difficulty and length varying from 0.5 mile stroll along the river to weeks long backcountry expeditions. With 95% of designated wilderness, the options are limitless.
If your time is limited, one way of making the most out of your visit is to take the scenic Tioga Road Drive. This road is 39 miles long and takes you through some of the most breathtaking scenery of alpine lakes, granite domes, and serene meadows. The Tioga Road at its 9945 feet is the highest road accessible by a car in California.
One of the perks of this drive is the largest sub-alpine meadow in the Sierra Nevada, Tuolumne Meadows. The Tuolumne River winds through the meadow and majestic domes frame the serene place. During the spring/early summer, this place turns into colorful carpet as the whole meadow is filled with thousands blooming wildflowers. If you have a choice, try to come here in the blooming season as it is a once of a lifetime experience. However, this whole area is spectacular in any time of the year and I always prefer to come here than to visit the Yosemite Valley tourist trap. Also, be aware of wild life as wild animals are a fairly common occurrence in this area. I will never forget seeing a bear cub crossing a road on our 5 am drive to the base of a climb. He was just so cute! ...from the safety of the car:-)
Just keep in mind that the road typically doesn't open until late spring due to accumulated snow. This could be as late as early June after a heavy snow season.View photos of Yosemite and Tuolumne Meadow.
For additional info about Yosemite National Park visit the recommended sites below:
National Park Service
General Yosemite Park Info