href=”/articles/12517″>YOSEMITE | GRAND CANYON | <a
| OLYMPIC | <a
href=”/articles/12526″>YELLOWSTONE | DENALI
No matter how many times you think you’ve seen it–on posters, in calendars, on your friends’ refrigerators–real-time Yosemite is still utterly jaw-dropping: giant, russet-red sequoias, resounding 2,400-foot waterfalls, 3,300-foot granite walls, and more photo ops than you can get at the summer Olympics. Everything you’ve likely seen of Yosemite Valley–Half Dome, El Cap, Bridalveil Falls–is just a small part of this 1,200-square-mile park, where 13,000-foot peaks scratch the skyline, enormous glacial erratics litter the landscape, and ink-blue rivers roar through silvery canyons. Even John Muir, who explored the whole length of the Sierra, pressed Yosemite on his friends “like a missionary offering the gospel.” He knew what he was talking about: Our third-oldest national park is, without doubt, the brightest star in the Range of Light.