Perhaps more than any other place, Yosemite embodies the majesty and grandeur that the national parks represent and aim to preserve.
Filmmaker Ken Burns puts it simply: “Yosemite is the most beautiful place on earth.”
As co-creator of the PBS series “America’s Best Idea: The National Parks,” Burns and his team spent months filming in national parks across the United States.
PREVIOUSLY: Secrets of Yellowstone National Park
Burns sat down with USA TODAY and shared the secrets of Yosemite and nine other National Parks for a special 10-part series, “Secrets of the National Parks.”
While he speaks poetically and passionately about all the national parks, hearing Burns describe the peaks, valleys and waterfalls of Yosemite, it is clear the park holds a special place in his heart.
“It is otherworldly. It almost feels as if it’s paradise. And the fact that it’s been saved by us makes it all the more beautiful. There’s not a vantage where you’re not in awe,” Burns says.
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But for all its beauty – indeed, because of it – Yosemite is also notorious for crowds, with the road that cuts through the park packed in summer.
“But all you have to do is park the car and walk off a quarter of a mile, and you’re essentially alone in the most beautiful spot on earth,” Burns says.
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Burns’ take on why the crowds are an important part of the national park experience may surprise you. Watch the video above to hear why Burns is “happy to put up with” the crowds.
Check back with USA TODAY Travel weekly for new installments of “Secrets of the National Parks,” featuring Ken Burns’ insights into nine other parks including Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and more.