30 Enchanting Facts About Yosemite National Park

Written by: Michelle Gabriel
Reading time: 3 mins
Last updated: March 17, 2021

Did you know that Yosemite National Park is home is the Giant Sequoias, which are the biggest living creatures on earth?

Fantastic Facts About Yosemite National Park, California

Among the top 5 most visited national parks, Yosemite has a bountiful amount of natural beauty to offer.

With endless locations to hike, rock climb, and camp in, Yosemite is a nature lovers dream!

There’s a lot more to this park than meets the eye, so here are 30 facts you should know about Yosemite!

Located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, Yosemite National Park spans 761,268 acres of land.

Yosemite officially became the United States third national park in 1890.

Before it became a national park, Yosemite had already been under government protection since 1864, as signed by President Lincoln. This was the first time land became secured by the government due to its natural beauty, to be preserved for people to enjoy.

There are more than 400 species of animals living in Yosemite, 90 of which are different mammal species.

One of which includes the rare Sierra Nevada red fox, which had previously gone unseen for almost 100 years until it was spotted in Yosemite. Other mammals include black bears, coyotes, gophers, and chipmunks.

Even though the park is open year-round, almost 75% of all Yosemite tourists visit the park between May and October. Many of them never leave Yosemite Valley, which covers only 6-square miles.

Yosemite is considered the birth place of rock climbing for sport. Climbers have been drawn in to the impressive rock formations since the 1880’s.

The most notorious and perplexing climb in Yosemite is the El Capitan which boasts a 3,300 foot rock face.

During certain times and temperatures of the year, some of the creeks in Yosemite turn into running slushies. This is a natural even called frazil ice.

The most famous hotel in Yosemite, the Ahwahnee Hotel, was used as a naval hospital during World War II.

There are special camping areas called High Sierra campsites which provide meals, clean water, bathroom access, and canvas tents. The only way to reserve one of these campsites is by entering a lottery.

Yosemite is home is the Giant Sequoias, which are the biggest living things on earth. There is an estimated 500 giant sequoias in the national park, and they can live up to 3,000 years.

The name “Yosemite” translates to “killer” in Miwok, which is a Native American language.

The name originally referred to a rebel tribe which was driven out of the area by the Mariposa Battalion.

Previously, the land was called “Ahwahnee” which means “big mouth” by the Indians who inhabited the area.

Yosemite National Park is home to the tallest waterfall in North America – Yosemite Falls. It has a 2,425 foot drop!

Of California’s 7,000 plant species, 20% of those can be found within Yosemite National Park.

The first concession stand in Yosemite to open was a store and bakery, debuted in 1884.

At a minimum, there are 300 black bears inside the park, but this number could be as high as 500.

There are over 800 miles of trails to explore for hikers.

The valley of Yosemite has been inhabited for almost 3,000 years.

There are few places in the United States where you can spot a rainbow at night – Yosemite is one of them! These are called lunar rainbows or moonbows.

Over 3.5 million people around the world visit Yosemite every year.

The longest hike in Yosemite is to the infamous Half Dome, which is 14 miles long with a 4,800 foot elevation.

In 1984, Yosemite was selected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Depending on accessibility, Yosemite is open 24/7.

In the mid-19th century, the California Gold Rush drastically heightened travel by European-Americans to the area.

Elevation in the park ranges from 2,000 to over 13,000 feet.

Yosemite bid for the 1932 winter Olympics – making them the only national park ever to do so.

The mountains of Yosemite are still increasing at a rate of one foot per 1,000 years.

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