A Trip to the Yosemite National Park
Adventure Has No Limit
You should take a trip to the Yosemite National Park!
History & Culture
For tens of thousands of years, humans have changed, and have been changed by, this place we now call Yosemite. The Ahwahneechee lived here for generations, followed by the arrival of Europeans in the mid-1800s. The rugged terrain challenged many early European travelers, with just a few—only 650 from the mid-1850s to mid-1860s—making the journey to Yosemite Valley by horseback or stage. By 1907, construction of the Yosemite Valley Railroad from Merced to El Portal eased the journey, thereby, increasing visitation. Today, about 4 million people enter the park’s gates to explore Yosemite. We can learn from the stories of those who walked Yosemite’s trails before us and honor the echoes of their distant footsteps that have led to conscious preservation.
Seven present-day tribes descend from the people who first called this area home. As Europeans arrived in the mid-1800s, violent disruption ensued that displaced the native populations. Early white settlers arrived and hosted writers, artists, and photographers who spread the fame of "the Incomparable Valley" throughout the world.
The studies of archeology and architecture honor Yosemite's past. Archeologists systematically study the things left behind to uncover clues about historic and pre-historic cultures, economic systems, settlement patterns, demography, and social organizations. Both landscape architecture and structural architecture are disciplines that help us understand the drivers behind development and choices to make human impacts compatible and enhance the visitor's experience with their surroundings. Yosemite structures representing the belief that buildings should blend in with natural surroundings.
Ongoing scientific research abounds at Yosemite from vista management to soundscape preservation to human carrying capacity issues. Yosemite has been building its Division of Resource Management and Science, serving as a public meeting place for scientific symposiums with papers presented at monthly forums. View the schedule for the Yosemite Forum. In addition, the division processes hundreds of research permits every year for its staff and outside interests. Also, learn how Yosemite's scientists work on a regional level through Inventory & Monitoring.