Yosemite National Park No list of California parks would be complete without a mention of Yosemite. It can be crowded and noisy in the summer, but if you stay clear of the tourist-clogged Yosemite Village, you will see why John Muir, the father of America's environmental movement, said, "No temple made by hands can compare with Yosemite." The real magic happens in the late afternoon, when the setting sun casts a violet glow on the iconic Half Dome and Bridalveil Fall. Yosemite is about 80 miles east of Merced, along California 140. Info: (209) 372-0200, www.nps.gov/yose.
Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times
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