A Necessity In This Beautiful But Vast Wilderness
Yosemite National Park, located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California, is over 760,000 acres of stunning rock formations, beautiful meadows, and pristine wilderness. It is filled with many interesting and inspiring sites and places to camp, fish, hike, and other outdoor activities. It is home to bears, deer, coyotes and a host of other wildlife. The park is the site of the country’s tallest waterfall and of groves of sequoia trees, the largest living things on Earth. There is much to see in Yosemite, but in order to get the most out of your visit and to avoid getting lost, it is best to obtain a Yosemite trail map.
Yosemite Information & Fast Facts
* Established as a national park October 1, 1890.
* 761,266 gross Area Acres.
* Nearly 95% of the Park is designated Wilderness.
* Elevation ranges from 2900′ to 13,114′ in the Wilderness area.
* More than 3,000,000 million visitors annually.
* Home to over 200 species of birds, 80 species of mammals and 1,400 species of plants, trees, and shrubs.
* Over 800 miles of trail.
The park is divided into four main areas — Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne and Tioga Road, Hetch Hetchy, and Wawona and Glacier Point. Each of these areas is a destination in and of itself, but all are also home to some of Yosemite’s most popular attractions including Yosemite Falls, Vernal Falls, Half Dome, Mariposa Grove, and El Capitan.
Yosemite Valley is arguably the most popular hiking area in Yosemite National Park. It is home to 6 major hiking trails or trailheads. They are Happy Isles, Mirror Lake-Snow Creek, Yosemite Falls, Four Mile Trail, Wawona Tunnel-Pohono Trail, and Big Oak Flat. From these trails, hikers can reach over 40 official destinations in the park. Routes found on a trail map of this area range from the 8-mile long Vernal Trail that takes hikers to a beautiful view of Vernal Falls to the 211-mile long John Muir Trail leading to Mount Whitney. Most of the trails in the Yosemite Valley area remain open in winter and early spring.
Toulumne Meadows is home to 13 trails that lead hikers to numerous lakes, camps, and high country attractions. The shortest destination trip is a 1.5-mile trek to Dog Lake. Ambitious hikers can travel 32.7 miles to the Devil’s Postpile and the truly fanatical can join up with the John Muir Trail and hike 190 miles to the Whitney Portal.
The Tioga Road area has 13 trails listed. Some lead to groves of sequoias, lakes, and valleys, while others connect to trails in other parts of the park. These tend to be shorter trails with most destinations under 15 miles.
The Hetch Hetchy area is home to five trails leading to more than 20 designated areas. All but a few trails are over 5 miles long and many are intended for overnight hikers. The Hetch Hetchy Road is open limited hours. There is no access to Hetch Hetchy trailheads while the road is closed.
Wawona and Glacier Point Trail is located in the southern part of the park, about 1 hour drive from Yosemite Valley. The area is the starting point for 15 trails leading to over 30 destinations in the park including several routes to Deer Camp, Bridalveil campground, and Wawona Tunnel. There is also a trail that winds through Mariposa Grove.
Those who wish to trek into Yosemite’s wilderness and spend one or more nights must obtain a free wilderness permit before beginning. The park monitors and limits the number of people who can begin an overnight hike each day. Each trailhead is allowed a certain number. Permits are not required for day hikes.
Where To Get A Yosemite Park Trail Map
In addition to hiking access, many Yosemite trails are open to cross country skiing and horseback riding in certain areas. Trail maps for each different activity can be found at the park or by visiting their website.
Pickatrail.com is another great site that offers a Yosemite trail map as well as other Yosemite information including maps of Yosemite and California in relation to other parts of the country and world.
Yosemitefun.com is another interesting site that offers maps of the valley area, valley floor, south park/Wawona, and Tuolumne Meadows.
Yosemite National Park is a hikers’ paradise, with trails of all distances and difficulties. All lead to interesting or breathtaking sites, views, and buildings. However, the sheer size of the park and the number of trails available makes a Yosemite park trail map a necessity for those who want to get a visual idea of the layout of the area, locate trail destinations and trail connections or simply keep from getting lost. Many destinations have several access trails from which to choose, and Yosemite trail maps help visitors plan the best route.