Our house is located inside Yosemite National Park under tall pines, surrounded by a grove of Pacific Dogwoods. Redwoods, incense cedar, elderberries, are just a few examples of the flora around the property. Fauna is represented by deer, coyotes, chipmunks and squirrels, and the occasional bear. For the birders, a rare pileated woodpecker was observed foraging on the property!
Yosemite National Park presents a glaciated landscape. U-shaped canyons, jagged peaks, rounded domes, waterfalls and moraines are all outcomes of glaciation. Water has shaped the Sierra Nevada landscape in the form of glaciers-two of which still remain at Mounts Maclure and Lyell. The scenery, resulting from the interaction of the glaciers and the underlying rocks, was the basis for Yosemite's preservation as a national park. And, nearly 95 percent of Yosemite is designated as Wilderness. Yosemite Falls, at 2,425-foot, is the tallest waterfall in North America.
Yosemite has more than 800 miles of trails; the park offers dozens of incomparable meadows and more than a hundred lakes, plus waterfalls, giant trees, world-famous mountain scenery, rivers- and even a few river beaches. It's bigger than a handful of European countries and nearly the size of Rhode Island.
A local hiking experience in the Yosemite West neighborhood is the Henness Ridge Fire Lookout Trail. This unmarked trail head starts at the end of Azalea Lane in Yosemite West. Using the paved access road to the right, hike past the water towers and continue 0.7 miles to the Henness Ridge fire lookout tower. This historic site is one of two remaining four rustic-style lookouts in the state. Built in 1939 by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), it was used by US Park Service for fire detection during the 60's and 70's, and is now historic structure number 5300.