Outdoor Adventures in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park, located just 3½ hours by car from San Francisco and Sacramento and 6 hours from Los Angeles, covers nearly 1,200 square miles and is visited by nearly 4 million visitors each year. What is surprising, however, is that many of these visitors only spend time in the 7 square miles of Yosemite Valley. The Valley is lined with waterfalls, including the highest waterfall in North America, the 2,425-foot-high Yosemite Falls. Giant granite formations such as El Capitan and Half Dome bookmark this iconic landscape and rock climber’s paradise.

Yosemite Landscape


Half Dome Yosemite

We owe a tremendous amount of thanks to Abraham Lincoln, John Muir and President Theodore Roosevelt for their forward thinking in preserving this land. In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill that set aside park land specifically for preservation and public use, the first such action by the federal government. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, John Muir advocated for federal preservation of Yosemite, lobbying Congress to make it a national park. Then, in May 1903, Muir took President Theodore Roosevelt on a three-day camping trip near Glacier Point and convinced him to create a federal park. Finally, in 1916, Yosemite became a national park under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.


Two of the most exciting stretches of California whitewater rafting are located just outside the park’s boundaries. Combined with a spring visit to see Yosemite’s waterfalls at full throttle, the Merced River is a springtime classic rafting experience. Further north, near the Big Oak Flat park entrance and the charming community of Groveland, is the Wild and Scenic Tuolumne River.

Looking for a Yosemite National Park vacation? On O.A.R.S.’ Yosemite & Tuolumne Hiker you’ll spend two days rafting the Wild & Scenic Tuoulmne River with expert river guides then hike the uncrowded alpine meadows of Yosemite’s high country and visit groves of giant sequoia trees with naturalist hiking guides.

O.A.R.S. West, Inc. is a licensed commercial permit holder in Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite Falls

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