History Attractions in Yosemite National Park

Popular Places

  • South Entrance (Wawona)
  • Yosemite Village
  • Neighborhoods

  • Highway 41 corridor
  • Maybe 9000 years ago the first people came to what we now call Yosemite; its significant heritage has been building ever since. The story of the Indians is still going on today here, and visitors will find it in many places, including a new cultural center west of Yosemite Lodge.

    Eight years before Yellowstone, the US government set aside Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove as a park for the nation. This was a pioneering event on a global scale, which some have called "America's best idea." Yosemite is also a World Heritage Site, partly for this history of Native Americans and for the initiation of public lands preservation. Almost everywhere you turn you'll encounter a human heritage of interaction with the land.

    The southern community of Wawona says "history" throughout, from the stately Wawona Hotel, to one of California's few covered bridges, the nearby Mariposa Grove that Abe Lincoln preserved, to the Pioneer Yosemite History Center. The history center is a collection of buildings from throughout the park, brought together in a village layout. These special structures are interpreted by costumed volunteers who'll explain the park's story as you visit a blacksmithy (watch out for sparks!), the Army headquarters, the Wells Fargo office, and some homesteads.

    In Yosemite Valley, the chapel is one of the oldest buildings still in use in Yosemite, located all by itself where Yosemite Village used to be. Near the Visitor Center are the historic cemetery, the reconstructed Indian Village (still used for ceremonies), the first museum for the park system and more.

    Yosemite Cemetery

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    Castle Cliffs Court & Village Drive
    (Yosemite Village)

    A peek at the past... read more

    Yosemite Chapel

    Southside Drive

    The historic chapel across from Yosemite Falls...
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    Pioneer Yosemite History Center

    P.O. Box 577
    Wawona Hotel

    Historic structures from the mining era... read more

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    Mariposa Grove

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    Mariposa Grove Road
    Park at the Wawona Store parking area and walk east 0.25 miles to Forest Dr. The trail head is on the right

    Largest living things on earth... read more

    Yosemite Museum Gallery

    Village Drive & Castle Cliffs Court
    (Yosemite Valley)

    The Valley's History In Paint... read more

    Indian Village of Ahwahnee

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    Indian Canyon Road
    (Yosemite Village)

    View indigenous peoples' past inside the park...
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    Indian Cultural Exhibit

    Miwok and Paiute artifacts in Yosemite Valley...
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    Museum Gallery Shop

    Village Drive & Castle Cliffs Court
    Yosemite Village

    Yosemite's Indian crafts, books and more... read more

    LeConte Memorial Lodge

    Curry Village Loop
    (Curry Village)

    Educational center... read more

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    Ansel Adams Gallery

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    POB 455
    (Yosemite Valley)

    A shop and gallery featuring Ansel's photography and much more... read more
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