Say the words Yosemite National Park in virtually any home in the United States and chances are whoever is listening will be familiar with the name.

In fact, the same can be said for many homes around the world thanks in part to the popularity of Warner Brothers’ animated Looney Tunes character “Yosemite Sam”, who represented much of the best and worst the “old west” had to offer.

Yosemite National Park in California is now a World Heritage Site and one of the world’s most visited national parks attracting over 3.5 million visitors annually. Yosemite Park is also a part of many professional California tours and viewed by most international visitors as a symbol of America’s natural beauty.

Yosemite National Park’s more popular attractions like Half Dome and El Capitan are also recognized by those who are familiar with Yosemite National Park and its geography.

Yosemite Park History

But what is the story of Yosemite National Park and how did it become one of the most popular travel destinations in North America? A brief look at Yosemite Park’s history and important facts should give the reader some clues.

One of the first men involved with the Yosemite region in an “official” capacity was Galen Clark who said he was “overwhelmed in the sudden presence of the unspeakable, stupendous grandeur.”

The park is also closely associated with naturalist and writer John Muir, an early proponent of preserving the park.

By the Civil War era hundreds of people had made the trip to the Yosemite Valley but the numbers were limited by the area’s rugged landscape. Only the most adventurous travelled by horseback in order to gain access to this amazing part of California.

By the late 1800s, railroad construction helped to open up access to Yosemite Park and brought many more visitors who came by the thousands. Yosemite Valley soon became home to miners, gold-seekers and fortune hunters, prompting the construction of hotels that catered to upper-class citizens.

Yosemite was officially established as a national park in October of 1890. Before long, members of the seven resident Native American tribes were displaced by visiting tourists; from U.S. residents in the east to European visitors and travellers from around the globe.

Yosemite Park Attractions

What draws visitors to Yosemite National Park by the thousands every day, aside from the magnificent scenery?

Yosemite National Park museum is an amazing museum that contains thousands of books, magazines articles and photo information associated with Yosemite National Park and its history. In addition, the museum holds many natural and archaeological treasures from the region.

And even though Yosemite National Park is comprised of 95% wilderness, the majority of park visitors explore only about 7% of the total park area according to information from the National Park System.

Within the park there is nearly 800 miles of trails for hiking, plus numerous magnificent waterfalls, giant sequoia trees in old growth forests and almost 1600 miles of creeks, rivers and waterways to explore.

Yosemite Falls is the tallest on the North American continent at an astonishing 2,425 feet. The sheer granite faces of Half Dome (at 4,800+ feet) and El Capitan (at 3,000+ feet) present unique challenges for rock climbers who come from around the globe to make the ascent.

Sentinel Dome is another unique attraction offering hikers who make to the summit a complete 360 degree view of the surrounding Yosemite Valley.

And of course, Yosemite National Park’s unique varieties of vegetation and animal species are also important tourist draws including mule deer, black bears, king snakes and bobcats.

“Yosemite Lodge at the Falls” is a perfect place to establish accommodations and act as a “home base” for exploring one of the most beautiful National Parks in the world. Re-designed just a decade ago Yosemite Lodge fits perfectly within the gorgeous surroundings.

Yosemite Park – Part of Caravan’s California Tours

Yosemite National Park in California is included as part of Caravan Tours’ all inclusive California Tours.

These fully escorted 8-day tours are exceptionally priced, starting at just $1,395.

Visit Caravan’s California Coast Tour Reviews page to read what others have said about Caravan’s all inclusive California tours.