Yosemite's famous Half Dome looms over a mirror-calm lake

July 6, 2014, 1 p.m.
yosemite landscape

Photo: Jouko van der Kruijssen/MNN Flickr Group

Awe-inspiring views from every angle at Yosemite

Some of the most famous landscape photographs in the world have come out of Yosemite National Park and it's no wonder why. This portion of California's High Sierras is particularly beautiful, with dramatic waterfalls, stoic rock faces, mirror-like lakes, glades and meadows, rugged trails and bountiful wildlife. Though people have been part of this landscape for thousands upon thousands of years, Yosemite's first official tourists didn't arrive until 1855, and they haven't stopped pouring in to take in the grandeur of the place since then. Now, rangers have a job to control the flow of the millions of people clamoring to see the sights each year -- in 2012 alone there were 4 million visitors making it the third most visited national parks in the United States! The fact that the park has stayed in such beautiful condition with that amount of traffic is a testament to not only the hard work of conservationists and rangers, but also the respect the park is afforded by those who come to see it and hike its trails.

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Jaymi Heimbuch is a writer and photographer at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.