On the western edge of the Sierra Nevada range in central California, Yosemite National Park is a wilderness preserve, occupying 1,189 square miles (3,079 square m). The Merced River flows through Yosemite Valley, feeding many waterfalls.
El Capitan, at 7,564 feet (2,334 m) is one of the many granite peaks that rises around the valley on the eastern boundary of the park. Yosemite provides a sanctuary for mule deer and black bears. Three groves of sequoias have been preserved. Established as a national park in 1890, the area included 22 villages of the Yosemite Indians when it was discovered by white men in 1851. About 2.5 million tourists visit Yosemite National Park each year.