Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park yōsĕm´ĭtē [key], 748,436 acres (302,881 hectares), E central Calif.; est. 1890 as a result of the efforts of conservationist John Muir. Located in the Sierra Nevada, it is a glacier-scoured area of great beauty; Mt. Lyell (13,114 ft/3,997 m) is the highest peak. Enclosed within the park is the famed Yosemite Valley (alt. c.4,000 ft/1,200 m), surrounded by cliffs and pinnacles; Half Dome, which reaches a height of c.4,800 ft (1,463 m) above the valley and El Capitan, which rises perpendicularly c.3,600 ft (1,097 m) above the valley, are the highest of the surrounding peaks. The world's three largest monoliths of exposed granite are found in the park. There are also many lakes, rivers, streams, and waterfalls, the most noted of which is Yosemite Falls, the highest in North America, with a drop of 2,425 ft (739 m) in two segments; Ribbon Falls has a 1,612-ft (491-m) drop. A 54-mi (87-km) segment of the Tuolumne River, which originates from snowmelt off Mts. Dana and Lyell, is protected within the park before it crosses over into Stanislaus National Forest. Three groves of sequoias are within the park's limits, which also include other types of trees and more than 1,000 varieties of flowering plants. In the scenic Hetch Hetchy Valley is the reservoir that supplies water to San Francisco. See National Parks and Monuments, table.
See J. Muir, The Yosemite (1912).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. National Park System