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“Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.”
― Ansel Adams

Yosemite Valley by simone pittaluga, Flickr Creative Commons
Yosemite Valley by simone pittaluga, Flickr Creative Commons
I have been to Yosemite National Park a handful of times, and on each visit I have a very different experience. Whether I am rock climbing in the valley, backpacking in Tuolumne or hiking trails with tourists from all over the world, every time the park takes my breath away. Its towering peaks, rushing waterfalls and granite rocks offer unparalleled scenic beauty and boundless opportunities for recreation, exploration and adventure.

Yesterday on October 1 we said happy birthday to Yosemite National Park. One hundred and twenty five years ago, 1,500 square miles became a national park, a protected natural treasure for everyone to enjoy. (Did you know that before that, much of Yosemite was already a state park set aside by President Lincoln?)

With nearly 95% of the park designated as wilderness, there are many places to get away from the crowds and find solace in the mountains that awed John Muir nearly 150 years ago.

There are many areas of Yosemite that I haven’t yet explored, but here are a few of my favorites so far:

Ten Lakes, Yosemite National Park
Hiking in to Ten Lakes
The Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: This 30-mile hike takes you along the beautiful Tuolumne River and amazing soaring cliffs, and has some of the best swimming holes.

Ten Lakes: After walking through pine forests, grassy meadows and across huge slabs of granite, you hike up a peak and get to look down at the beautiful lakes spread out before you (and then hike down and go swimming!).

Half Dome: At some point in your life you must climb Half Dome. This marvelous peak formed in part by glaciers offers a steep but rewarding trip straight up to the top of the world.

Mariposa Grove: Of course a trip to Yosemite would not be complete without seeing the giant sequoias. These beauties leave me in awe every time I see them, and as a friend once told me, “…if they didn’t there is something wrong with you!” If you want to visit the grove you will have to wait a couple of years as it undergoes restoration. The League is proud to be a partner in the Mariposa Grove Restoration Project.

Please share with us your favorite Yosemite trail or area, and no matter where you are, remember to continue getting outside and exploring new places.


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About Deborah Zierten

Deborah joined the League's staff in 2013 as the Education & Interpretation Manager. She brings with her extensive experience teaching science, developing curriculum and connecting kids to the natural world.


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