Yosemite National Park

Photographers have been drawn to the stunning beauty of Yosemite for more than a century and have played a key role in its protection. In 1864, responding to early photographs of the area, President Abraham Lincoln set aside Yosemite as the first protected wilderness area in the United States (well before creation of the National Parks system in 1872). Ansel Adams, of course, also spent much of his career here.

My visit in May 2002 caught Yosemite's wildflowers in bloom and its waterfalls gushing with runoff from winter snows. A hike along Yosemite's Mist and John Muir trails allowed close views of Nevada and Vernal Falls, where the Merced River "steps down" from the high canyon walls to the valley floor. Yosemite is also famous for the granite monoliths that loom thousands of feet above the valley floor. Half Dome and El Capitan are two of the best known, but many others abound.

For more photos from this part of the U.S., check out the California and Death Valley National Park pages.

For more information about U.S. National Parks in general, visit the web site of the National Park Service.