14 Things You Didn't Know About Yosemite

14 Things You Didn't Know About Yosemite

Yosemite National Park is home to expansive vistas, gorgeous mountainscapes, and a bevy of wildlife. Its beauty is absolutely unparalleled (that’s a fact, don’t question us), making it hands down one of the best national parks in the United States. But what’s the story behind one of the county’s most visited national parks? Let’s check out 14 facts about Yosemite that might even surprise the most avid park enthusiast.

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President Abraham Lincoln is to thank for why we have Yosemite.

On June 30, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Valley Grant Act, which, according to the Library of Congress, preserved the land for "public use, resort, and recreation." It was the first time in history that the United States government did something like that and came to be a stepping stone for what we would later recognize as “national parks.”

(Library of Congress - Getty Images)
Yosemite is home to a "firefall."

Okay, while it's not actually fire, the Horsetail Fall on the eastern edge of El Capitan in the Yosemite Valley gives off the illusion of a fiery orange fall when the sunset hits at just the right angle for a few short weeks in February.

According to Atlas Obscura," If the conditions are just right, once the sun dips behind the horizon line everything will begin to go dark and it will seem, for a moment, as if the firefall has failed to ignite. But as the sunlight disappears, the waterfall catches the final rays, which reflect off the falls to create a spectacular, short-lived, effect that looks like a beautiful cascade of liquid fire."

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It's home to the largest waterfall in North America.

The tallest waterfall in the entire park (and all of North America) is Yosemite Falls, which measures approximately 2,425 feet high. According to the National Park Service, it's actually comprised of three different falls: "Upper Yosemite Fall (1,430 feet), the middle cascades (675 feet), and Lower Yosemite Fall (320 feet)."

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It's supposedly haunted.

Several eerie urban legends surround Yosemite, but the most bone-chilling story is that of a young deceased boy who haunts campground six and likes to spook any camper that peeks out of their tent between the hours of 11:00 P.M. and 3:00 A.M.

An honorable mention goes to the curse of Tenaya Canyon, the setting of many unsolved disappearances, which is often referred to as the Bermuda Triangle of Yosemite.

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It's got a record-setting tree.

The Mariposa Grove, located within the park, is home to massive sequoia trees, including a 2,700-year-old tree called the Grizzly Giant, which is one of the world's oldest living sequoia trees.

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When did Yosemite National Park open?

Yosemite National Park was the third designated national park in the United States. The park "opened" October 1, 1890, behind Yellowstone (1872) and Sequoia (1890).

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What's the highest point in Yosemite?

The highest point in Yosemite National Park is Mount Lyell at 13,100 feet. That's equivalent of stacking seven One World Trade Centers, the tallest building in North America, on top of one another.

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How many people visit Yosemite every year?

With all of its jaw-dropping views, it's no surprise that Yosemite attracts millions of visitors every year. But just how many people pay a visit to the park? An astounding four million! That comes down to roughly 10,000 visitors a day on average.

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What's the busiest time of year to visit Yosemite?

If you're ever going to take in the breathtaking vistas that Yosemite has to offer, it's important to know when the park's busy season is. Typically, the summertime is when the park experiences a large influx of visitors. Roughly 75% of its visitors come May through October, while it experiences a peak number every August, with roughly 600,349 visitors on average.

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When is the least busiest time of year to visit Yosemite?

The least busy months to visit Yosemite are (not surprisingly) January and February, with an average 108,026 and 112,897 visitors, respectively.

(George Rose - Getty Images)
The Half Dome is 5,000 feet tall.

One of the most popular attractions in all of Yosemite is the Half Dome, a mountain that boasts a 14 mile to 16 mile round-trip path that takes hikers approximately 10 to 12 hours to complete.

(David McNew - Getty Images)
Yosemite is three times larger than New York City.

So, just how big is Yosemite? Well, according to the National Park Service, the park spans 747,956 acres, with approximately 95% designated to untamed wilderness.

(George Rose - Getty Images)
Yosemite is big business.

A 2018 report (via the National Park Service) revealed that visitors spend, on average, approximately $495,245,000 in communities surrounding Yosemite National Park every year.

(China News Service - Getty Images)
How much snow does Yosemite get?

Yosemite experiences *a lot* of snow every year - approximately 65.3 inches of accumulated snow a year to be exact.

(George Rose - Getty Images)

From an interesting “firefall” to some of the park’s key stats, check out some unique facts about one of the largest national parks in the country.