Thing to Do

Visit the Yosemite Cemetery

Wooden sign at entrance to Yosemite Cemetery
Yosemite Cemetery

The Yosemite Cemetery is full of stories, told and untold. This quiet retreat on the west end of Yosemite Village is the final resting place of many of Yosemite's early residents. Some of those laid to rest here are well-known figures in the history of the park. Some spent their entire lives in Yosemite and are now almost forgotten. Others were visitors about whom very little was known, even at their time of their deaths.There are people who died here while on vacation, early settlers and homesteaders, old timers and infants, hotel proprietors and common laborers, each with a story. Many of these stories are entwined like strands in a rope that spans a century or more. Some stories are short and alone. Some, like those of American Indians buried here are so hidden we may never know them. 

Those buried here include:

  • Galen Clark, the first state-appointed guardian of Yosemite. Clark planted the sequoias that surround his grave, which have since grown tall around his resting place.
  • James Mason Hutchings, the first to organize a tourist party to visit Yosemite in 1855. Hutchings unknowingly made an enormous contribution by hiring John Muir to work at his sawmill in 1869.
  • Forest S. Townsley, Yosemite's first Chief Ranger.
  • George Anderson, the first person to summit Half Dome in 1875.
  • George Fiske, a pioneering photographer who operated a studio in Yosemite Valley.
  • Sadie Schaeffer, a waitress at the Sentinel Hotel who tragically drowned in the Merced River in 1901.
  • Lucy Brown, one of the last American Indian survivors of the Mariposa Battalion's 1851 raid of Yosemite Valley. She is said to have been well over 100 when she died.
  • The cemetery includes 11 known graves of Yosemite Indians.

A Guide to the Yosemite Cemetery is available to borrow or purchase at the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center. From the front of the visitor center, walk west past the Yosemite Museum building and then cross the street. The entrance to the Yosemite Cemetery will be directly in front of you. Wander among the monuments and markers, read the stories in the booklet, let yourself be transported back in time, and listen to the echoes of Yosemite’s past. 

People buried at the Yosemite Cemetery include American Indians, early park visitors, and people who played important roles in the development of what is now Yosemite National Park.

Details
Entrance fees may apply, see Fees & Passes information.

The Yosemite Cemetery is located at the far west end of Yosemite Village in Yosemite Valley. There is no visitor parking onsite.

With a car

  • Walk: Park at the Yosemite Village Day Use Parking Area. From there you can walk through Yosemite Village to get to the Museum (approximately 1/2 mile walking). 
  • Shuttle: The Yosemite Cemetery is located closest to shuttle stops #5 and #9. The Museum is located next to the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center. 

Without a car

  • If you arrive to Yosemite via public transportation, use the Valley Visitor Center stop to access the Yosemite Cemetery. 
The Yosemite Cemetery is open year-round. 
You can visit the Yosemite Cemetery at any time; however, there is no lighting provided in this outdoor setting.
Accessibility Information
A rocky dirt trail meanders through the Yosemite Cemetery and is not accessible.  

Yosemite National Park

Last updated: January 29, 2021