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PARK IS PLACE TO GO FOR GOLD; you will strike it rich in this beautiful landscape even if you don't become an instant millionaire...

Yosemite National Park sits in Mariposa County California's Sierra Nevada mountains. It is a haven for lovers of the great outdoors, live music fans and those seeking their fortunes.

Must sees for free People flock to the national park to pan for gold in its rivers and streams.

In many locations gold panning allowed for free and some places even offer instructions on how to go about it.

In other places it comes at a cost, and extensive lessons are also available for those wishing to get really serious.

The Merced River offers many spots to pan for gold - but take provisions, as some are quite remote.

For a further insight into California's gold and gem trade, stop off at California State Mining and Mineral Museum, which contains more than 13,000 gems, minerals and artefacts.

in It offers free activities for children, school tours and gold panning by appointment.

A mineral and gem show is held at the museum each spring, with talks, activities and dealers from across the world.

Head out into the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada on foot. There are more than 800 miles of hikes and trails across the national park and many guide books available detailing them.

is The Bridalveil Trail is an easy half-mile walk which runs to the base of the 620ft Bridalveil Fall - the first waterfall seen on entering Yosemite Valley.

Meanwhile, the North Dome Trail is a 10.4-mile all-day hike which offers views of Half Dome and Yosemite Valley.

Top sees for a fee Visit the national park in July for the annual Yosemite Music Festival, a laid back, family-friendly tradition featuring a mixture of blues, rock, folk and soul music.

The festival began in 2002 as a group of musicians getting together to play and share music with their community.

Held in Mariposa County Fairgrounds, it now offers eclectic live music from both well-known and emerging artists.

Tickets cost $25 for a day pass, $40 for a weekend pass. Early bird and youth rates are available and children under 12 go free.

Most people travel to the Yosemite National Park from spring to autumn, but it still has plenty to offer in winter. The waterfalls freeze into silence and the whole park is blanketed in snow.

Winter sports become the order of the day, from skiing to snowshoeing and skating to snowboarding.

Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area is California's first established ski area, ideal for beginner skiers and with a lodge in which to relax after a day in the snow.

Yosemite Conservancy art classes are offered Monday to Saturday, 10am to 2pm, and are open to all levels of experience - although the suggested age is over 12.

Participants will create a piece of art during a four-hour class.

These are held outdoors in different locations within the park.

Registration costs $29, participants can bring their own supplies or rent or purchase them.

Getting around Hiring a car makes it easy to explore the park, although some roads are closed from around November to May, and tyre chains may be needed in the snow.

Eco-friendly, free shuttle buses run throughout the valley, but cycling is often the easiest and fastest way to get around during the summer, with bike rentals at Yosemite Valley Lodge and Half Dome Village and miles of paved biking paths.

Eating out Food in Yosemite Valley Park is typically American, centring on burgers, barbecues and steaks.

At The Mountain Room in Yosemite Valley Lodge take in views of the waterfall and feast on meat, seafood and pasta dishes, or toast marshmallows and choose from a menu of cocktails and appetisers at The Mountain Room Lounge.

Base Camp Eatery, also in the lodge, is newly renovated and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. It offers a range of meals and 'grab and go' options, and has digital menus and order kiosks - as well as Yosemite's first Starbucks.

Meanwhile, in Half Dome Village, a free shuttle ride from Yosemite Valley Lodge, there is a wide selection of restaurants serving everything from coffee and pastries to barbecue food and cocktails.

Going out Evergreen Lodge is a cosy wooden cabin with a pool table, cocktail menu, beer on tap and live music on weekends.

It also serves food, including huge American breakfasts and three types of burger - Black Angus beef, buffalo and vegetarian.

Meanwhile, Half Dome Village Bar serves microbrewed beer and a range of cocktails, and The Majestic Yosemite Hotel is a stately lodge, perfect for an evening tipple and some appetisers.

Hotels LUXURY: Wawona Hotel and Pavilion: This hotel set in Victorian buildings offers traditional, television-free rooms a dinning room, nine-hole golf course, outdoor pool and tennis courts. Wawona Road. From PS252 per night. MID.RANGE: Yosemite View Lodge: Perched above the Merced River, a four-minute walk to the entrance of the national park, this hotel offers guest rooms with kitchenettes. CA-140, El Portal. From PS189.

BUDGET: Yosemite Cedar Lodge: This budget hotel has indoor and outdoor pools, an American restaurant and a sports bar and grill. California 140, El Portal. From PS155.

Compiled by Emma Curry
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Apr 2, 2018
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