Some homes are owned by permanent residents of the area while others are resort homes, some of which are rented on a daily and weekly basis by visitors to Yosemite National Park. These vacation rentals provide much needed funds for infrastructure repairs.
Occupation of the Yosemite West area did not begin, however with the subdivision that opened in 1967. It began many centuries earlier with the North American Indian Tribes of the Sierra. Before the advent of the white man, Indians used Yosemite West as their camp ground and hunting area. Even today a search for the obsidian chips used as arrowheads can provide an interesting days outing in Yosemite West.
As early as 1912 the cutting of timber in the Chinquapin area was started and logs were hauled to Merced Falls. The Yosemite Valley Railroad was built to carry out the lumber harvested from the vast supply of Sugar Pines found along the Merced River canyon. Immortalized in author Hank Johnston’s book, “Whistles Blow No More”, the Yosemite Lumber Company logged in this area. In fact, the remains of the longest Incline rail system ever built are located at what is now Camp One Resort, just a short distance away from the Yosemite West development. The incline rose to a height of 3,100 feet (945 m) above the Merced River. The Camp One incline was used to lower logs to the Merced River at El Portal from the logging area. One of the stops on the Yosemite Valley Railroad line was the lumber mill built by the Yosemite Lumber Company where the wood was planed, finished, dried and stored. The lumber company is gone now and trees have fully returned with most 80+ feet (24+ m) tall, surrounding most homes on the hill. The old Shay logging train grades have been replaced with paved roads and underground utilities, giving it a pleasant rural atmosphere.
Yosemite West is a community of more than 100 private residences and resort homes which can be accessed from HWY41 via Henness Ridge Road, approximately seventeen miles inside the South Entrance of the Park.
One of the Yosemite West homes.The land for this community was purchased and developed in the 1960’s by Yosemite Highlands, Inc., a group of business and professional men from the San Jose area. They envisioned a unique Mountain Resort area accessible year round for leisure time recreation. A complete economic feasibility study was made by the Economic Research Association.  Six development schemes produced by Victor Gruen Associates of Los Angeles, were analyzed before settling on the one now in effect.
Coyote in Yosemite WestThis family oriented environment is unique in Yosemite. Unlike other communities in the park, this area was designed with all utilities underground. There are no power poles or telephone lines to detract from the serenity of living in a forest. Views from your windows are filled with evergreens, oaks and manzanita. Mule deer, squirrels, coyotes, Steller's Jays and other animals frequent the area, so it is common to see them from your window, even an occasional bear
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