Deep in the Sierra Nevada, California’s snow-capped mountains, is a special hidden treasure – not gold or silver, but America’s most spectacular hidden valley.
It is called Yosemite and it is the center of one of our most popular national parks.
Yosemite Valley is seven miles long and in some places less than half a mile wide. Towering on both sides of the winding Merced River are sheer granite walls more than 2,000 feet high. Ribbon-like waterfalls cascade down the sides. To the north, Half Dome Mountain presents its flat, scarred face. (The other half of Half Dome cracked off and slid down into the valley thousands of years ago.)
Stretching out from the famous valley Yosemite National Park takes in 1,200 square miles of soaring mountains. Mariposa Grove, in the south, is the home of giant sequoia trees. Some of them measure 34 feet through the middle and are 275 feet high.
In the northwest are the Tuolumne Meadows, cold Alpine meadows which fill with flowers in summer. Through the years the park has revealed the beauty of the Sierra Nevada to millions of visitors.
The first white men to see Yosemite Valley were probably U.S. soldiers who arrived in 1851.
They were searching for Indians who were raiding nearby mining camps. There were 22 Indian villages in Yosemite at that time.