Scenic USA - California

Tunnel View of Yosemite Valley

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Tunnel view- Yosemite Valley - Yosemite National Park, CA

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Photography

   June 30, 2014, marked the 150th anniversary of Half Dome fromGlacier Point - Yosemite National Park, CAPresident Abraham Lincoln's signing of the Yosemite Grant Act, setting aside Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove for public use and recreation. In what filmmakers Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan called The National Parks - America's Best Idea, the Yosemite bill marked the beginning of parkland protection and a radical idea that has evolved into today's National Parks System.
   Located at the east end of the Wawona Tunnel on Wawona Road (Highway 41), the Tunnel View Overlook provides one of the most famous views of Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park. From this roadside pullout visitors look out over Yosemite Valley with El Capitan dominating the ridge to the left and Half Dome looming in the background. Yosemite Valley is described by some as most stunning and beautiful location in all America. Others may say there are no words to describe the park's majestic scenery. Entranced from his very first visit in 1868, John Muir worked tirelessly to help establish Yosemite National Park and died during his attempts to save Hetch Hetchy Valley.
   With the majority of the park's 3.6 million visitors arriving in the valley during the summer, it's become a challenge of how to protect one of the world’s most scenic treasures. Alternative ideas include visiting during off-peak seasons, although the park's high altitude Tioga Road may be treacherous or closed during winter months. During late fall through early spring, visitors may find Yosemite landscapes dusted with a light covering of snow, adding a unique element to the already breathtaking views. Merced River and Yosemite Valley - Yosemite National Park, CA In late spring the area's waterfalls are found flowing at full capacity and the valley is covered in a blanket of wildflowers. Even though waterfalls have slowed to a trickle, autumn is a time of year when the trees don their colorful cloaks and the crowds have thinned for a more enjoyable visit.
   Some of the most popular destinations in Yosemite Valley include Yosemite Falls, Vernal Fall and Bridalveil Falls. Outside the valley the grove of giant sequoias at Mariposa Grove continue to impress all its visitors, and the drive to Glacier Point is especially spectacular. But most visitors seldom witness other scenic wonders in the park, except what's found in and around the valley. About the size of Rhode Island, 95 percent of the park's 750,000 acres are labeled wilderness and offer 800 miles of back-country hiking trails for those seeking true adventure and a grand Yosemite experience.

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