Yosemite National Park is open to the public without requiring a reservation. "The entrance station ranger will offer a time-stamped permit valid for the amount of time required to go from entrance to entrance," park authorities stated. You must also have a current in-park reservation or permission. If no one claims ownership of your parking spot, move your car.
Parking spots at most of the other entrances are reserved for those with reservations. If you don't have one, you'll need to make a reservation before you arrive.
Reservations can be made through www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/reservations.htm.
You can also call (209) 384-4797 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Pacific Time to make a reservation. Calls may be made from outside the U.S. and Canada only by calling (917) 643-2721.
Reservations must be paid for online using a credit card. The cost is $10 per vehicle per day. There is a limit of two consecutive days without a reservation. Any remaining days will be charged at $20 per day.
A second method of payment is by check. These checks should be sent to: NPS Permit Office, P.O. Box 5075, Fresno, CA 93509-5075.
Enter the park without making a day-use car reservation. It is possible. If, despite the numerous choices, you still want to visit Yosemite National Park, you can do so without making a day-use car reservation. However, if you want to see as much of the park as possible, it's best to make your reservation as early as possible.
Yosemite offers nearly 500 campsites. Sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are divided between those located in designated campgrounds and those located in free-standing backcountry sites. Each site provides parking for one or two vehicles and includes water and electricity. Some sites may have cooking facilities but others may not. Most sites are made up of gravel pads with some form of tapered tree trunks positioned at their centers to mark the property line. A few sites may have concrete blocks instead of trees for marking the property line. All sites are clearly marked with signs indicating what facilities are available at each campground. Backcountry sites are usually more remote from roads and trails than campgrounds, but they can be found by searching on the park website.
If you enter the park without a reservation and find there are no open sites, don't give up. Often just after dark, when most people are sleeping, a site will become available.
From May 21 through September 30, 2021, a reservation will be necessary to drive into Yosemite. While inside the park, you must keep your permit visible on your dashboard at all times. Reservations for day use.
|First day to reserve||Arrival date|
|April 28||July 1–31|
|May 5||August 1–31|
|May 12||September 1–30|
You are permitted to drive your own vehicle into and around Yosemite. Shuttle buses are not required, however they are highly recommended (except in 2021, when they are not available). The only part of the park that cannot be visited by car is the Ahwahnee Hotel area; everything else is reachable by road.
The best times to visit Yosemite are between April and October, when the weather is most stable. There can be heavy rains during springtime storms and hot summer days, but these are usually followed by cool nights with little humidity. Fall brings colorful leaves to some trees and cooler temperatures, but it can also be windy and rainy.
The busiest time at the park is during the summer months, so make sure to plan your trip around these times if you want to avoid crowds. If you want to see as much of the park as possible, consider going during off-season when there are fewer people and less traffic on the roads.
Yosemite is one of the most popular national parks in California and visitors often have to wait in line for hours to get tickets for the famous Tunnel View. But even if you don't get tickets, you should still go down to the end of Highway 140 where there is a view of Tuolumne Meadows and the surrounding mountains.
Having a car is necessary for travelling about Yosemite, especially if you visit outside of the summer months, when park shuttles and some YARTS routes are not available. To minimize traffic jams, park officials advise visitors to visit the park's most popular attractions early. The best times to visit are between April and October, when the weather is comfortable and there aren't any major storms or floods to worry about.
If you plan to drive into the heart of the park with your family, it's best to bring a vehicle that can handle rough roads and large crowds of people. Vehicles that are larger than an SUV are recommended because they have more space inside and can be easier to find if you get separated from the group.
The cost of parking at Yosemite varies by location and time of day. In general, prices are relatively low in the morning before the park gets busy and rise as the day goes on. Evening rates are usually higher than those in the morning. You can check current information on parking fees online. Also, be aware that some streets may charge hourly parking fees that can quickly add up if you stay longer than expected.
Many businesses and hotels will help you feel like part of the community by offering free shuttle services to their locations. These shuttles come in handy when visiting places such as museums and theaters, where walking around can be tiring.