5 Reasons Yosemite National Park Will Blow Your Mind

As a Northern California resident I love visiting Yosemite National Park. This park is both breathtaking and mind blowing. Take a look at a few of Yosemite National Park's wonders that will blow your mind and keep you coming back for more.

1. El Capitan
El Capitan


The jaw-dropping, constant attempt of climbers to defy gravity and become arachnid spider-humans who scale the 3,000 feet of El Capitan's massive, granite wall using merely fingertips and toes puts El Capitan as number one on this list. El Capitan is always headlining national and international news with the world's best climbers trying new, death-defying routes that has us all biting our fingernails to nubs and checking our news feeds for the latest info on their progress.

2. Half Dome
Half Dome


Rising like a shark-fin in a sea of Yosmite National Park Sierras, or a middle finger in a cheeky exchange between friends -- come get me you sissies -- Half Dome has a world-renown reputation as a top-ten hike on everyone's bucket list.

If you're lucky enough to get a slot in the lottery to make the 14-16 mile hike to the top, you'll run into the famous Cable Route in the last 400 feet. Stories of unprepared tourists in flimsy tennis sneaks and old photos of the cable-route literally crammed with lines of people snaking up and down this section, make this infamous final push to the top of Half Dome a mountaineer's dream and nightmare. And why the National Park Service is now issuing permits to preserve this great hike and control the numbers who climb it.

3. North America's Highest Waterfall, Yosemite Falls
Yosemite


Plunging over 2,400 feet from the pinnacle of Upper Yosemite Falls to the giant, mist-filled, boulder-strewn trough at the base of Lower Yosemite Falls, North America's highest waterfall indeed blows our mind. There are a multitude of hikes of all levels to take in the grandeur of the falls, from a simple, family friendly, flat loop at the bottom, to the full 7 mile round-trip to the top with 2,700 in elevation gain. And if you're lucky, you'll catch a glimpse of a massive Yosemite rainbow in the fall's tremendous spray.

4. Epic Mountains Are Calling, John Muir Style
Yosemite National Park


The mountains are what??? But you know it... Hikers and backpackers and climbers live for it. It's the magic. The feel. The goose bumps you get after you hike, grunt, sweat-up countless switchbacks and get to the top of the highest waterfall in North America. Or when you look over the most spectacular, desolate, spanning Sierra Nevada wilderness still covered in snow.

It's the massive granite rocks. The epic scale of human to nature. It's the reason we hike. And for some of us, it's the reason we exist. It's our passion and our breath. It's the mountains calling. Just like John Muir said. Yosemite has it. Boom.

5. The Birthplace of the National Parks Movement
Sierras


Protecting wilderness is vital. And we are unbelievably fortunate that President Abraham Lincoln was such a smart guy and in 1864 signed the Yosemite Grant Act, the first ever land-grant designed to protect wild land in the United States. This grant is credited as the birthplace of the National Parks idea, where visionaries like Lincoln, John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt joined together to ultimately conserve 1,500 square miles of land that now make up Yosemite National Park and helped seed the start of other parks throughout the nation.

Get out. Explore. Enjoy. And, yes, prepare to have your mind blown.
Annie Yearout
posted by
Annie Yearout
Blogger at Outdoorsy Mama
Annie Yearout is an outdoor and adventure travel writer and author of OutdoorsyMama.com, a blog motivating you, me and the kids to gear-up, get outside and explore. She partners with outdoor non-profits, is a member of sponsored adventure crews, and is always eager to throw a backpack on and hit the trails from her home in Northern California. (Team Sierra bloggers receive promotional consideration from Sierra Trading Post.)
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