Destinations / GO YOSEMITE
MY SON, JOE, is the perfect kid: smart, funny, and so relentlessly health-minded that when I want to eat a peanut butter cup I have to do it in the closet, in the dark. Still, a couple of years ago he was mired in that early teen stage where nothing impressed him. Certainly not his father. And not anything else, because being impressed would not be cool.
So I took him to Yosemite. I figured that if any place in the world might knock the cool out of
him, it would be the park John Muir called “the grandest of all the special temples of Nature.”
Our first day there, we took the bus from Yosemite Valley up to Glacier Point, then hiked the
cliff-clinging trail back down.
As we trudged down the switchbacks Joe was, initially, scared. He’d never been anyplace
where in theory one could stumble on the trail and fall 1,000 feet. Then he forgot to be scared.
He was too busy being awed. So awed that he let me take a picture of him with my iPhone — not,
believe me, something he normally agreed to — with the valley luminous behind him.
That’s Yosemite. For well over a century, it’s dispensed guaranteed grandeur to millions of
visitors — even hard-to-impress teens. Its magic demands strategy, however. With 1,169 square
miles and 4 million annual visitors, you need to know where to go, and when. Here are the top five
Yosemite experiences for 2017.
The Grandest Temple
Whether it’s your first visit or your tenth, Yosemite can change your life.
Here’s where to go in 2017. BY PETER FISH
• Celebrate Mariposa Grove
Yosemite’s biggest news is that iconic Mariposa
Grove is set to reopen after a t wo-year, multi-million-dollar restoration. The park’s largest
stand of giant sequoias, Mariposa contains
500 redwoods that include 1,800-year-old
Grizzly Giant and the California Tunnel Tree,
remnant of that era when park visitors thought
they should be able to drive through anything.
Funded by the park service and the Yosemite
Conservancy, the project benefits both visitors
and trees. Paved roads have been replaced by
trails, a parking lot by restored sequoia habitat.
A new shuttle service will take visitors to the
grove from the park’s south entrance. Mariposa
is set to reopen this summer: check the park
website ( nps.gov/yose) for updates.