Yosemite NP (Part 2, Tuolumne Meadows)
Not just a great valley, but a shrine to human foresight, the strength of granite, the power of glaciers, the persistence of life, and the tranquility of the High Sierra. First protected in 1864, Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more. One of the most photographed regions of Yosemite, Tuolumne Meadows is a wide, grassy expanse bounded by high granite domes and peaks. At elevation 8,600 feet/2,627metres, pristine meadow extends for more than two miles/3.2 km along the Tuolumne River, making it the largest subalpine meadow in the Sierra Nevada. From its tranquil edges, hiking trails lead in all directions—to the alpine lakes set below the spires of Cathedral and Unicorn Peaks, to a series of roaring waterfalls on the Tuolumne River, and to the summits of lofty granite domes with commanding vistas of the high country. Tuolumne Meadows is accessible by Tioga Pass road that crosses the southern edge of the meadow. From this point all the way to the south of Mt. Whitney, no other roads cross the High Sierra. Thus, this roadway marks the northern end of the largest contiguous roadless wilderness in the continental United States.