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Spotlight: Yosemite National Park, California

Spotlight: Yosemite National Park, California

Inspiring Generations for 150 Years: Yosemite Grant Act 1864-2014

Yosemite Grant One of countless waterfalls within Yosemite. (Brian Hawkins/Share the Experience)

What You’ll Find

Not just a beautiful valley, but a shrine to human foresight, the strength of granite, the power of glaciers, the persistence of life and the tranquility of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, and also within this profound landscape are deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area and much more.

In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant Act, establishing Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove as the first protected wild land. This grant also set aside the first California state park.

In 2014, the park honors the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant Act. Be sure to catch one of the hundreds of planned activities to commemorate this significant milestone in our nation’s history.

Getting There

Yosemite is open year round, though some areas of the park are inaccessible by car from approximately November through May due to snow. You can drive your car into and around the park however; we encourage you to use public transportation and shuttles when and where available. Use this information to get to and around Yosemite:

Stay Here


Camping is a very popular way to spend the night in the park. There are 13 popular campgrounds and you can reserve a site at seven of them on Recreation.gov. The camping section of Yosemite’s website contains information about sites that can be reserved as well as the first-come, first-served campsites. For the campgrounds that do not accept reservations, read these tips for your best chance of securing a site. The High Sierra Camps are lodging units and are managed by the Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts.

Overnight Hiking in Wilderness

Nearly 95 percent of Yosemite National Park is designated wilderness. Use the park’s wilderness information to find out about required wilderness permits, places to go, and other backpacking tips to plan your trip.


Park lodging options range from simple tent cabins to deluxe rooms at The Ahwahnee Hotel – featured in our Romantic Outdoor Adventures go list. Visit the DNC Parks and Resorts at Yosemite website for full descriptions, prices, and online reservations. On this website you can also find information about the Yosemite High Sierra Camps. Reservations are available 366 days in advance and are strongly recommended, especially for the busy summer months!

Don’t Forget

Check out current conditions, watch the park webcams and monitor information updates and alerts on the park website.

Did You Know?

Inspiring Generations for 150 Years: Yosemite Grant Act 1864-2014

Visionary Americans like Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir and Galen Clark understood that the wonders of the American wilderness are not only our inheritance, but our responsibility. Now, 150 years later, the promise of the Yosemite Grant Act endures as this beloved national park opens its arms to over 4 million people annually who marvel at the awe-inspiring beauty and gain a new understanding of the importance of preserving wild lands. Join Yosemite and its surrounding communities in honoring this significant milestone.