Natural History

North America’s Top 10 Natural Wonders

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Robert Glusic/Corbis

Yosemite Valley

Glaciers reaching back over 30 million years carved what American naturalist John Muir hailed as one of "God's first temples." Almost eight miles long and up to one mile across, with towering 3,000 to 4,000 foot near-vertical walls, Yosemite Valley is what most visitors think of when they hear "Yosemite."

Within the valley are ten waterfalls over 500 feet high including the majestic Yosemite Falls that drops 2,425 feet down a series of rock-ledge steps. The yellow pine and oak forests and open meadows on the valley floor have enchanted human visitors for thousands of years.

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