Author: Christian

Yosemite Valley: The Best River Valley in the World

Yosemite Valley: The Best River Valley in the World

Prepare for crowds: Yosemite will not use a reservation system in summer 2023. The park will open to everyone on Feb. 1.

See below for the full park map, which will have updates throughout the year for all of the park’s major features, like the Badlands, the Merced River, El Capitan/Sutter’s Mill, Sentinel Rock and the Grotto.

And below is a description of the highlights of the park with more detailed directions.

You’re never more than a mile away

For nearly two decades, Yosemite has been a refuge from the city, a place for nature lovers and a place, particularly in late spring and early summer, for weekend recreation. You’re never more than a mile from this park, and you can see it well from almost any side of the valley.

The valley floor is a rolling hillscape of granite, grasses, aspens and fir trees. You’ll also find rocky outcroppings of quartz, marble and other rock that sparkle in the sunshine.

The Merced River, which rises in the high Sierra Nevada, flows from snowcapped peaks of the Sierra Nevada, past waterfalls and through a scenic gorge, and then empties into the valley, winding through green meadows and past ancient groves at Hetch Hetchy.

“Yosemite is the best river valley in the world,” said park biologist Jim Shortsleeve last month.

The park’s geology

Yosemite’s geology includes some of the most beautiful and rugged terrain in California at high elevations. The Merced River’s gorge is a natural gorge, and the granite at the base of steep cliffs is a rich red from metamorphic rock, which makes the valley and granite look like they’ve been painted with blood.

The park’s rugged alpine slopes stretch out across the valley floor, to the south, north and east. In May, the valley floor is filled with the blossoms of orchids. In July, wildflowers erupt everywhere, and in October, wildflowers carpet the hilltops again.

The park�

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