Virtual Tour: See Yosemite National Park During Shutdown

See Yosemite despite the shutdown

Yosemite National Park NPS Archive 1024

(Image credit: National Park Service)

First protected in 1864, Yosemite National Park spans nearly 1,200 square miles (3,100 square kilometers) of deep granite gorges with hidden giant sequoia groves, steep waterfalls, jewel-like lakes and alpine meadows. This virtual tour hits the highlights of the amazing wilderness.

Spectacular granite


(Image credit: Jon Sullivan via Wikipedia)

From the smooth face of Half Dome to the sharp teeth of Cathedral Peak, glacier-carved granite defines Yosemite National Park. Remnants of these massive glaciers remain at Mounts Maclure and Lyell within the park.

Amazing waterfalls

famous waterfalls, waterfall photos

(Image credit: NPS.)

Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in North America, measuring 2,425 feet (739 meters). The two-step drop can be seen up close thanks to easy trails leading from Yosemite Valley.

Giant trees

Mariposa Sequoia Grove - Yosemite National Park

(Image credit: Steven Castro | Shutterstock)

There are three giant sequoia groves along Yosemite's western boundary. The famed Grizzly Giant sequoia in the Mariposa Grove is about 1,800 years old.

Beautiful lakes

Tenaya Lake

(Image credit: M. Floyd, DOT)

The clear waters of Tenaya Lake drain into Yosemite Valley. The lake's deep basin was carved by glaciers, which also smoothed the steep granite walls looming over the lake.

Historic hotels

Ahwanee Lodge

(Image credit: DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc.)

A National Historic Landmark, the Ahwanee Hotel was built in 1927. The rustic-style lodge looks like it's sheathed in redwood, but it's actually red-stained concrete, meant to withstand forest fires.

Flowering meadows

Tuolumne Meadows

(Image credit: M. Floyd, DOT)

Scenic Tuolumne Meadows is a popular stop for drivers crossing the Sierra Nevada on Tioga Road. Wildflowers festoon the high-country meadow, at an elevation of 8,619 feet (2,627 meters) during the short summer season.

Becky Oskin
Contributing Writer
Becky Oskin covers Earth science, climate change and space, as well as general science topics. Becky was a science reporter at Live Science and The Pasadena Star-News; she has freelanced for New Scientist and the American Institute of Physics. She earned a master's degree in geology from Caltech, a bachelor's degree from Washington State University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz.