History & Culture

Female ranger riding horseback
In 1918, Yosemite's Clare Marie Hodges became the first female park ranger in the National Park Service.

At first glance, Yosemite’s natural wonders are easy to observe. Sights around the park are iconic in the human experience of national parks. Beyond the rocks, plants, and animals, is a story about people in Yosemite written on that very same landscape. It tells a story of different cultures (sometimes working together, sometimes in violent clashes) creating the place we call Yosemite National Park and defining how we experience it. Yosemite’s rich human history tells a story of conflict, dreams, diversity, hardships, adventures, and preservation of one of the first national parks.

  • People

    Humans have existed on Yosemite’s landscape for thousands of years and have helped shape how we experience Yosemite today.

  • Places

    Historic buildings and cultural landscapes tell the story of human history.

  • Historic view of Stoneman Meadow on left, current view on right
    Yosemite: Then and Now

    Yosemite: Then and Now is to tell the park’s story by matching beautiful and fascinating archival photographs with photos from today.

  • Stories

    Moments in time that shaped Yosemite’s past.

  • Collections

    Yosemite’s museum collection contains more than 4 million items from Yosemite - natural and cultural.

galen clark

NPS Historic Photo Collection

“I have seen persons of emotional temperament stand with tearful eyes, spellbound and dumb with awe, as they got their first view of the Valley from Inspiration Point, overwhelmed in the sudden presence of the unspeakable, stupendous grandeur.”

– Galen Clark, guardian of the Yosemite Grant

Last updated: August 26, 2021

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