El Portal is an unincorporated community in Mariposa County, California. It is located 11.5 miles (19 km) west-southwest of Yosemite Village, at an elevation of 1939 feet (591 m). El Portal lies along State Route 140 by the Merced River located on the western boundary of Yosemite National Park. It is partly under the administrative jurisdiction of Yosemite National Park. Community buildings include a post office, community center, and a small school. Town businesses include two hotels, a small general store, and a gas station. El Portal plays host to a number of outdoor activities. White water rafting is some of the best if not the very best in California at peak season. Camping along the Merced River can provide a blissful experience close to Yosemite National Park without the crowds and noise of Park Service campgrounds. El Portal also delivers the state's number one site for wild flower diversity and concentration on a short hike up the Hite's Cove Trail. Rich in history, El Portal offers a window into California's past gold mining and logging era. El Portal was the terminus of the Yosemite Valley Railroad at the entrance to the National Park. El Portal is Spanish for "the gateway" derived from this fact. It is also known that the group that abducted Patty Hearst in the 1970s, the Symbionese Liberation Army, held claim to a small house in the area. The first post office at El Portal opened in 1907. The National Park Service and several park partner organizations have offices in El Portal.