Located in the central Sierra Nevada,Yosemite has textbook-perfect glacial features—granite domes, moraines, sheer rock walls, and hanging valleys—as well as clear streams, stunning waterfalls, and giant sequoia groves. The park's 747,956 acres are home to hundreds of wildlife species and over 1,570 vascular plant taxa. Nearly 95 percent of the park is designated wilderness.
Yosemite was designated a World Heritage Site in 1984. Two wild & scenic rivers, the Tuolumne and Merced rivers, begin in the park and flow west to California's Central Valley.
The park supports more than 400 species of vertebrates including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The high diversity of species is the result of varied habitats across a range of elevations from 1,800 feet to over 13,000 feet. The park’s rich habitats range from dense foothill shrublands to conifer forests to high, rocky alpine terrain where only the hardiest plants can grow.
Biological Inventory Highlights
Resource inventories are extensive, point-in-time surveys of plants, animals,or abiotic resources such as water, soils,and geology. The Sierra Nevada Network conducted biological inventories to help parks fill in information gaps on special status species (rare or non-native) and other plants and animals for which there was limited recent information available.
Highlights for Yosemite:
- An orchid new to science, Yosemite bog-orchid, was discovered by U.S. Geological Survey botanists conducting rare plant surveys.
- Historic vertebrate survey sites from the early 1900s were re-visited by Museum of Vertebrate Zoology staff from the University of California-Berkeley. These scientists documented significant changes in distributions for numerous birds and small mammals.
Last updated: July 10, 2018