The Fall Leaves of Yosemite – Celebrating 100 Years of U.S. National Parks

Home > Visit California > Content

【Summary】The Fall Leaves of Yosemite – Celebrating 100 Years of U.S. National Parks

Anthony    Jan 16, 2017 6:25 PM PT
The Fall Leaves of Yosemite – Celebrating 100 Years of U.S. National Parks

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA. – There are few experiences on Earth that can rival the opportunity to drive through Yosemite at the height of the unfolding of the autumn leaves. The scenes are as innumerable as they are breathtaking.  Over 4 million people visit Yosemite each year. The land comprising this area (747,956 acres) has always been viewed as a national treasure. In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln became the first to heed the call to offer federal protection for this especially magical part of the California Territory. President Theodore Roosevelt, who spent much of the year at his "Summer White House" in Oyster Bay, Long Island, traveled by train across the entire continental United States just to get a glimpse of Yosemite. Not surprisingly, a photograph of Teddy from that trip can be found inside the park.

Teddy Roosevelt was a unique President. Incidentally, he's the favorite all-time President of George Herbert Walker Bush. And with good reason – there's the Rough Riders, charging up San Juan Hill in Cuba and many other ancillary adventures. Teddy's love of the great outdoors and nature led him to consider the formation of a primordial and primitive "National Park Service." This year, the National Park Service turns 100 years old! What better place than amid the giant granite cliffs, teaming waterfalls and 3,000 year old Sequoias of Yosemite to celebrate?

There's much to see in Yosemite. To begin, one can experience the awe of photographing the 3,000-foot-tall "El Capitan," the Half Dome, as well as Yosemite Valley. Hiking, camping, bird watching, exploring, orienteering, rock climbing, cycling and many other aspects of human endeavor find their apex at Yosemite. It is truly a Boy Scout's dream. Short or long walks are available along a wide range of trails. (800 miles!) It would be wise to consult various travel guides and other related features available on the Internet before venturing out into the wild.

On a recent journey to Yosemite, this journalist and photographer drove just under four hours from Silicon Valley. From this region of California, travelers will head due east on 580 past Livermore - home to Altamont Pass and the world's first and largest collection of wind turbines. Altamont remains the site of the deathbed of the 1960's counter-culture movement, as well as the birthplace of clean energy. Skirting Tracy, Stockton and other smaller cities, you'll then head for the open spaces leading to the gates of Yosemite. This excellent National Geographic documentary about Yosemite will show you the wonders that lay ahead – watch it here.  

Now just imagine for a moment that you're engaging in such a trip while driving one of the "automobiles of the future." Your trip will be augmented by special technology that can turn water from your engine into cool, drinkable water. Perhaps you'd like to heat up that water and make tea from special blends – English Breakfast tea perhaps?

Your 360 degree radar, Lidar and sensors are all helping to keep you safe. While driving in "autonomous mode," you'll have the chance to relax and take in the scenery, even around the many winding roads, curves and turns. Through "sensor fusion," your vehicle will be able to "talk" with other cars on the road, helping to keep everyone safe.

One day you might even be able to launch a reconnaissance drone from your vehicle to check out the terrain ahead. Renault has released information about its prototype car-launched drone that examines the road for gridlock. Readers can review that information here. Chances are the new model car sitting in your driveway already has many autonomous features as this article in Fortune succinctly states.

Just in case, there will be GPS navigation. Who knows where the roads will take you? You might find yourself wanting to travel all the way through Yosemite. This traveler has engaged in such a journey several times. There are some interesting towns beyond the eastern side of the park. One might be tempted to eat at a diner called "Nicely's" in the town of Lee Vining. The personalization of Google Maps is something that will eventually (sooner rather than later) arrive on the scene. That means you'll be able to plug in establishments like Nicely's on your map. Old-style books about the area such as this one should also be brought along on the trip. 

The opportunity to camp inside Yosemite is an activity that simply should not be missed. Chances are that you can find your ideal camping site at Yosemite with some intelligent planning. As noted, the autonomous features in your car might help smooth things along the way as you navigate. Internet service inside Yosemite is not stellar, so your iPhone might not be working at an optimum level. There's a decent sized grocery store inside Yosemite. There are a variety of food options for eating. And there are elite options for sleeping inside the park.

People come to Yosemite from all over the world, including China, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Canada and many other nations. There are interlopers from all 50 states, and you can plainly see the evidence of this from all the license plates. Fall is the best time of the year to visit as Yosemite is not overly crowded and the temperatures are not too hot and not too cold. If you love the colors of the autumn leaves, then Yosemite is the place for you. Just in case you're interested, the science behind the changing colors of the leaves is explained here by Harvard University in the Ivy League.


(Photograph by Anthony C. LoBaido)

Writer's other posts
    Related Content