Olmstead Point on Yosemite private tour

Locals know there is more to Yosemite than only Half Dome.

You remember that Yosemite is a famous national park, but how much do you really know about it? Did you know that the park has an annual operating budget of around $30 millions and includes a staff of more than 700 National Park Service Employees in the summer and more than 450 in the winter? Another 750 man hospitality sites throughout the park in the summer and 700 in the winter.

The beloved national treasure covers 759,620 acres (1,187 square miles), 704,624 acres of that (1,101 square miles) designated as wilderness. It includes 800 miles of trails and 20 miles of paved walking and bike paths as well as 214 miles of paved roads. So you’re not going to run out of new trails to walk or sights to see in Yosemite anytime soon.

Naturalist and environmentalist John Muir, a native of Scotland, moved to San Francisco in 1868 and fell in love with the mountainous area that he would be instrumental in protecting and establishing as Yosemite National Park in 1890. U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt, in turn, was impressed and influenced by Muir’s efforts. He camped with Muir in Yosemite for four days in 1903 and went on, during his presidency, to protect wildlife in 50 chosen regions and create forest reserves on 148 million acres.

Renowned photographer and conservationist Ansel Adams first visited the national park in 1916 and gained fame in the 1920s and ‘30s for his stunning black and white photos of Yosemite. The Yosemite Park Association inherited his wonderful valley photographs, and through that organization, people can still purchase prints from Ansel Adams’ original negatives.

Yellow Bellied Marmot in Yosemite

A Yellow-bellied marmot in its natural environment.

When you visit Yosemite, you’ll be sharing the park with 90 different species of mammals, 242 species of birds and 22 species of reptiles. The latter category includes 13 types of snakes and seven different varieties of lizards. And let’s not forget insects, spiders, centipedes and such. Through California’s Endangered Species legislation, about 40 of the species in the park have a special status.

Now you know the basics and can start your own love affair with Yosemite.