150 miles east of fashionable Frisco, its back to nature in the Yosemite National Park in California, where huge granite monoliths, tumbling waterfalls and groves of ancient sequoia and redwood trees dominate the landscape. Designated as protected land by Abraham Lincoln back in 1864, today the park is a haven for walkers, climbers and general outdoorsy types. The Yosemite Valley brings the drama, with near vertical cliffs – including the infamous El Capitan whose sheer rock face would tower over the Burj Kalifa – hedging the banks of the Merced River. Waterfalls flow from great heights, feeding Alpine lakes and streams,
and at ground level, walkers explore grassy meadows, groves of cedar, and oak trees, hoping for sightings of deer, coyotes and black bears. Wander among groves of ancient Sequoia trees, which are the oldest living things in the world no less, and let the altitude and the scenery take your breath away at Glacier point.
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Yosemite National Park makes for one of the most alluring combinations imaginable with a sophisticated city stay in San Francisco, and a few days wine tasting in the elegant Napa and Sonoma valleys.
Yosemite is twinned with the mighty Parque Naacional Torres del Paine in Patagonian Chile, and so park authorities share knowledge and best practice to care for the geology, flora and fauna of these stunning landscapes.