Field Trip Planning and Logistics
Whether you plan to arrange a Parks as Classrooms ranger program or want to create a self-guiding experience, you will find many of the following tips helpful in experience Yosemite as the ultimate outdoor classroom.
Before Your Class Visits Yosemite
Your group may qualify for an entrance fee waiver (check for specific application instructions and contact information).
Camping and Lodging
Yosemite has a wide variety of lodging and camping options, inside as well as outside the park. Please note that both camping and lodging it can be very difficult to get lodging or camping reservations, so be sure to make a reservation as early as possible, particularly in the spring, summer, early fall, and holidays. It is up to the school or youth organization to coordinate camping and lodging.Driving Times and Road Conditions
When calculating driving time, remember that all roads into Yosemite are curving mountain roads, with relatively low speed limits and which may slow bus travel.Seasons and Weather
Areas to Visit
See the self-guiding visits page for more detailed information about different parts of the park.
In Yosemite Valley, Degnan's Deli is less than a five-minute walk from the main visitor center. Yosemite Lodge also has a cafeteria-style food court. If bringing your own lunch, there is a public area (with benches only) in the Yosemite Lodge amphitheater area. A few large bench areas also exist in front of the Indian Cultural Museum, as well as in front of the visitor center area. These are public areas and cannot be reserved. Please remember to keep close track of all food and trash, and please do not feed wildlife, for your safety and theirs. Picnic areas are available throughout the park.
The park has a number of short, engaging Yosemite Nature Notes videos about different topics like glaciers, granite, giant sequoias and many other topics. More information is also available about nature and science and history and culture for student research topics. Finally, invite a ranger into your classroom through distance learning. This experience makes for a great pre-visit or post-visit experience.
Mariposa Grove: there is a length limit of 40 feet for buses. The Grove parking area often fills by mid-morning. Classes may need to be dropped off at the Wawona Store, where the bus can park. Students will then use the free shuttle to the Mariposa Grove. Please note the free shuttle generally only runs from May through the beginning of October. (If you are participating in a Parks as Classrooms ranger program, the education office may provide special drop-off instructions depending on your program.)Restroom Facilities
Yosemite Lodge: there is a walkway to the right of the front desk. Restrooms are at the end of the corridor on the left. If these restrooms are closed, continue past these restrooms out the door to the amphitheater. Across the amphitheater you will see signs for the Mountain Room. Head into this inside area, and you will see signs to the right for restrooms. There are also limited restrooms located in the Yosemite Lodge Food Court.
Lower Yosemite Fall: This large restroom facility is about a five-minute walk from the Lower Yosemite Fall shuttle stop (#6).
Mariposa Grove: vault toilets are available in the Grove parking area.
Did You Know?
Giant sequoias are a fire adapted species. Their bark is fire resistant and fire helps open the sequoia cone and scatter the tiny seeds. Fire also clears forest debris from the mineral soil and provides a nutrient rich seed bed as well as clearing competing species.