Yosemite, California

The jaw-dropping head-turner of America’s national parks, and a Unesco World Heritage site, Yosemite (yo-sem-it-ee) garners the devotion of all who enter. From the waterfall-striped granite walls buttressing emerald-green Yosemite Valley to the skyscraping giant sequoias catapulting into the air at Mariposa Grove, the place inspires a sense of awe and reverence – four million visitors wend their way to the country’s third-oldest national park annually. But lift your eyes above the crowds and you’ll feel your heart instantly moved by unrivalled splendours: the haughty profile of Half Dome, the hulking presence of El Capitan, the drenching mists of Yosemite Falls, the gemstone lakes of the high country’s subalpine wilderness and Hetch Hetchy’s pristine pathways.