Hiker on the edge of a cliff at Taft Point, Yosemite National Park, CA
A hiker stands on a jutting point on a massive cliff at Taft Point, Yosemite National Park, California. Late afternoon light glints on the river snaking through the valley hundreds of feet below. The valley curves up to meet a granite dome in the distance.
Yosemite National Park was one of the earliest national parks. Formed in 1890, it was preceded only by Yellowstone and Sequoia National Parks. Its creation was advocated by naturalists such as John Muir and Galen Clark, as well as many other influential figures. Today, it protects and preserves a broad variety of flora, fauna, geography, and Native American heritage. It is famous for its waterfalls, but visitors can also enjoy lush meadows, craggy rock ridges, and mammoth sequoias. 95 percent of the park’s 747,956 acres is designated wilderness.