How will COVID-19 affect my visit?

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Entrance Reservations

To better manage heavy visitation in Yosemite National Park while California continues to experience the COVID-19 pandemic, reservations are temporarily required to enter Yosemite every day through Thursday, September 30 or until local public health conditions improve.

The COVID-19 pandemic will continue to affect park operations in 2021. Visitation to the park will be managed in accordance with recommendations from public health officials, and in line with the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy's Color-Tiered System. The purpose of following the tiered system is to be responsive to changing conditions, protect public and employee health, and sustain park operations. We will continue to work closely with local public health officials to ensure that Yosemite operations and intense visitation will not overwhelm this region’s limited rural healthcare system.

Do I need a reservation to visit Yosemite?

If you are driving a vehicle into Yosemite National Park, you must pay the park entrance fee and have one of the following:

Upon showing proof of your reservation and a matching photo ID at the entrance station, you will receive a vehicle permit to enter the park. This permit is valid for three consecutive days for unlimited re-entries. For those with overnight reservations, the permit is valid for the duration of the reservation or three days, whichever is longer.

If you enter the park via YARTS (Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System) buses, bicycle, on foot, or on horseback, do not need a day-use reservation to enter the park. Park entrance fees still apply.

Credit cards are the only form of payment accepted for entrance fees.

If you don't have computer access, you can call 877/444-6777 to make a reservation.

I have an annual or lifetime pass that gives me free entrance. Do I need a reservation?

Yes. These passes cover the park entrance fee, but you still need a reservation if driving into Yosemite. If you have an annual or lifetime pass and are getting a day-use reservation, be sure to specify that once your reservation is in the shopping cart.

How and when do I get a day-use reservation to visit Yosemite?

Day-use reservations are only available via recreation.gov. Reservations will go extremely quickly; be sure to have an account, be logged in, and ready to get a reservation promptly at 8 am Pacific time seven days before your planned arrival. If you have an annual or lifetime pass, be sure to specify that during the checkout process.

Each user can make one reservation per arrival date. An occupant of the arriving vehicle must have the user (with photo ID) who made the reservation. The reservation is then valid for three consecutive days (including arrival date).

On recreation.gov what does it mean that reservations are not yet released?

If you try to find availability on recreation.gov and it says reservations are not yet released, it means no more reservations are available until seven days in advance, promptly at 8 am PDT.

How much does a day-use reservation cost?

This cost is included in the park entrance fee. If you are an existing passholder (i.e., you have a Yosemite Annual Pass, America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass, Every Kid Outdoors Annual Pass, Annual Pass for US Military, Access Pass, or Senior Pass), the non-refundable reservation fee is $2. If you are a passholder, be sure to specify that during the checkout process.

If you cancel a day-use reservation ($35), you will receive a $33 refund ($2 of the fee is non-refundable).

You need one reservation per vehicle and the reservation is valid for everyone inside the vehicle.

How long is my permit valid?

Your vehicle permit is valid for three consecutive days starting on the first day of the reservation.

If you have a reservation for in-park lodging or camping, a Half Dome permit, or a wilderness permit, your vehicle permit is valid for the duration of your reservation (or three days, whichever is more).

If you have a reservation for lodging or camping outside the park for more than three days, you will need more than one day-use reservation. You can use the entrance fees associated with your two reservations to upgrade to a Yosemite annual pass (covers entrance fees at Yosemite for 12 months) for no additional charge (or an interagency annual pass valid for entrance fees at all national parks for $10 more).

Why is the pass valid for three days instead of seven days?

In response to public feedback, we are temporarily shortening the period a pass is valid in order to increase the number of reservations available. The three-day pass allows us to offer an additional 950–1,850 day-use reservations each week to accomplish a similar level of visitation compared to our traditional seven-day pass. On average, almost 90% of visitors not staying overnight inside the park visit for three or fewer consecutive days. The three-day permit also allows reservation holders to enter the park on any day during their reservation (with the seven-day permit in 2020, reservation holders were required to arrive on the first day). Finally, if you will be visiting longer than three days, you can use the entrance fees associated with your two reservations to upgrade to a Yosemite annual pass (covers entrance fees at Yosemite for 12 months) for no additional charge (or an interagency annual pass valid for entrance fees at all national parks for $10 more).

I have a reservation inside the park that is longer than three days. Do I need to pay the entrance fee twice?

If you have a reservation for one of the following, your entrance fee will be valid for the duration of your reservation or three days, whichever is longer:

Do I have to arrive on the first day of my day-use reservation?

No. One of the benefits of changing to a three-day reservation is that you don’t have to arrive on the first day of your reservation. However, your day-use permit is still valid for the three consecutive days starting with the arrival date on the reservation (i.e., if you arrive on the third day of your reservation, you can only use it for that day). Day-use permits are valid from 5 am to 11 pm each day. Day-use permit holders may not be in the park between 11 pm and 5 am (overnight).

What if my group is arriving in more than one vehicle?

A day-use reservation is required for each vehicle (or motorcycle) that enters the park. The person whose name is on the reservation must be in the vehicle with a valid photo ID.

Groups with lodging or camping reservations, wilderness permits, and Half Dome permits may arrive in more than one vehicle. An occupant in each vehicle must provide a copy or photo of the photo ID belonging to the person who made the reservation (as well as a copy of the reservation) to be permitted to enter.

Do I need a reservation to enter the park if I have a reservation for a campground or lodging accommodation located outside of Yosemite National Park?

Yes. You must have a day-use reservation to drive a personal vehicle into the park.

Are same-day reservations available? Can I wait at the entrance station and enter the park if people with reservations don’t show up?

No. Reservations are not available at entrance stations. You can check recreation.gov before you arrive to the park to see if any cancellations have become available.

Do I need a day-use reservation if I am just driving through the park?

You can drive through the park to reach a destination on the other side of the park without a reservation. The entrance station ranger will provide a time-stamped permit valid for the time needed to travel from entrance to entrance. You must drive the most direct route to exit the park; stopping is prohibited. Violating park regulations can result in a fine of up to $5,000 and/or six months in jail.

The park entrance fee still applies and provides access to visit Hetch Hetchy during open hours when it's not full.

Can I enter the park overnight?

It depends on the type of permit you have. A day-use permit allows you to be in the park between 5 am and 11 pm. If you have a lodging or camping reservation inside the park or a wilderness permit, you may enter the park 24 hours per day while your permit is valid.

If the entrance station is not staffed when you enter, you must complete a self-certification card at the entrance station and display it in your windshield. You must also be in possession of a valid in-park reservation or permit.

Entering the park without a permit or valid self-certification card is a violation of federal regulations, with maximum penalties of a $5,000 fine and/or up to six months in jail. Rangers are on patrol when entrance stations are unstaffed.

Why is the National Park Service limiting vehicle access to Yosemite?

The COVID-19 pandemic will continue to affect park operations in 2021. Visitation to the park will be managed in accordance with recommendations from public health officials, and in line with the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy’s Color-Tiered System. The purpose of following the tiered system is to be responsive to changing conditions, protect public and employee health, and sustain park operations. We will continue to work closely with local public health officials to ensure that Yosemite operations and intense visitation will not overwhelm this region’s limited rural healthcare system.

The day-use reservations only limits the number of vehicles; it does not limit the number of people.

How much is the park limiting vehicle access to Yosemite under the day-use reservation system?

The park is limiting vehicles based on a percentage of June 2019 visitation. The percentage is based on public health conditions using California’s color-tiered system:

  • Yellow (minimal) tier: 80% (5,760 vehicles per day)
  • Orange (moderate) tier: 70% (5,040 vehicles per day)
  • Red (substantial) tier: 60% (4,320 vehicles per day)
  • Purple (widespread) tier: 50% (3,600 vehicles per day)

The day-use reservation system has been designed to be flexible and adaptive to conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

How does the number of day-use reservations compare to 2020?

The reservation system is based on number of vehicles entering Yosemite. Overall, more vehicles will be allowed in the park compared to 2020 if the park is in the red or better tier. The opening of more lodging and camping facilities inside the park means more vehicles entering the park will be staying overnight inside the park, making fewer day-use reservations available at the more restrictive tiers.

How long will the day-use reservation system be in place?

This system is a temporary system to address public health concerns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The park is currently planning to operate this system through September 2021 and will re-evaluate the need for the system based on public health guidance. The day-use vehicle reservation system will no longer be used when the park resumes regular operations.

This day-use reservation and permit system is not part of an implementation of the Merced River Plan or Tuolumne River Plan.

Can I give or sell my reservation or permit to someone else?

No. Entrance passes and day-use reservations are non-transferable. Day-use reservations are only valid for the person who made the reservation and that person’s vehicle.

How can I provide comments about this system?

You may always contact us on our website. The superintendent’s office receives all comments about the day-use reservation system.

Campgrounds

Which campgrounds will open in 2021?

Reservations are required for all open campgrounds in 2021. There will be no first-come, first-served campgrounds open.

The following campgrounds will be open with reduced capacity to allow for social distancing:

  • Upper Pines (all year)
  • Lower Pines (April 19–October 25)
  • North Pines (April 15–November 1)
  • Camp 4 (opens May 21)
  • Wawona (June 15–October 25) for RVs/trailers with toilets (no restrooms available)
  • Bridalveil Creek (July 15–September 6)
  • Tuolumne Meadows Campground (July 15–September 20)

Are any first-come, first-served campgrounds open?

No. Do not come to Yosemite without an overnight reservation if you are intending to stay overnight. Same-day reservations are also not available.

Why are some campgrounds closed?

Some campgrounds are closed due to lack of staffing. Shared housing for seasonal employees in Yosemite is significantly lower than usual this year in order to keep employees safe. Employees are necessary in each campground to ensure compliance with campground regulations, clean restrooms in accordance with new CDC guidelines, and remove trash and recycling for human and wildlife protection.

Can I sleep in my vehicle in Yosemite?

Sleeping in a vehicle is only allowed in a campsite registered to you or another member of your group. Sleeping in a vehicle in a parking lot or along the side of a road is prohibited. Additionally, day-use reservations are not valid for overnight use.

Hiking, Backpacking, and Rock Climbing

Are any trails closed or modified?

All trails are open, however there are some modifications in place.

Starting later in spring, descending the Mist Trail steps from the top of Vernal Fall will be prohibited from 9 am to 4 pm. To return to the trailhead, continue hiking uphill to Clark Point (500 feet additional elevation gain), then down the John Muir Trail. The trail from the top of Vernal Fall to Clark Point is a steep uphill climb and has no shade.

When hiking, keep your distance. Give others plenty of room whether you are on a trail or in a parking lot. If staying at least six feet from others is not possible, wear a cloth face covering over your nose and mouth.

Is backpacking allowed?

Yes, with a wilderness permit. All wilderness regulations and quotas are still in effect.

Wilderness permits are not available in the park. Normally, 40% of wilderness permits are available on a first-come, first-served basis at park wilderness centers. Instead, this portion of wilderness permit reservations are available online using a two-week lottery. You can apply 15 days in advance of your desired start date, with the lottery running 14 days in advance. The last day to apply for a permit is four days before a trip.

A reservation is not a valid wilderness permit. If you have a wilderness permit reservation, you must go to any wilderness center during open hours one day in advance or the same day to pick up your wilderness permit.

You must have a bear canister for food storage. Bear canisters are available for rent at the Valley Wilderness Center or you can bring your own allowed container. Rented bear canisters are sanitized between uses.

The buildings are closed to the public and all education and interactions take place outside, with proper social distancing measures in place.

Is public transportation available?

Shuttle service is not available in Yosemite this season. This includes shuttles in Yosemite Valley, Mariposa Grove, and Tuolumne Meadows

Yosemite Hospitality is not operating any bus tours. This includes the Valley Floor Tour, Glacier Point Tour, Grand Tour, and Tuolumne Meadows Tour and Hikers Bus.

YARTS is operating its regional transit system with reduced capacity (30 people per bus, with 22 available by reservation—reservations are strongly recommended). Visit https://www.yarts.com/ for more information.

How can I do an overnight big wall climb?

A wilderness climbing permit for overnight big wall climbing is required.

Yosemite Destinations

Are any areas of the park closed?

All areas of the park will be open in 2021. Tioga Road typically opens sometime in late May or June.

Due to public health and safety concerns, some facilities are closed.

Open with modifications:

  • Descending the Mist Trail steps from the top of Vernal Fall will be prohibited from 9 am to 4 pm beginning sometime in spring. To return to the trailhead, continue hiking uphill to Clark Point (500 feet additional elevation gain), then down the John Muir Trail. The trail from the top of Vernal Fall to Clark Point is a steep uphill climb and has no shade.Take frequent breaks, drink water often and eat salty snacks to maintain the proper balance of electrolytes.
  • Hetch Hetchy Road is only open from 8 am to 5 pm and only when the parking isn't full.

Closed:

  • Lower Yosemite Fall boulders (the area between the footbridge/viewing area and the waterfall)
  • Bridalveil Fall area (this area is closed due to scheduled maintenance work)
  • Crane Flat Helibase

How do I visit the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias without a shuttle?

Parking is available (until full) at the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza. Access to Mariposa Grove is via a two-mile hike (each way) on the Washburn Trail or the Mariposa Grove Road (each have approximately 500 feet in elevation gain). Several miles of trails are available in the grove from that point.

You may also bicycle on the paved portion of Mariposa Grove Road to the Mariposa Grove Arrival Area (but not to the Grizzly Giant). Bicycles are not allowed on trails, unpaved roads, sidewalks, or boardwalks.

If you have a disability, or are traveling in the same vehicle as a person with a disability, and the vehicle has a disability placard or license plate, you may drive on the Mariposa Grove Road as far as the arrival area (not to the Grizzly Giant).

What is different about visiting Wawona?

Wawona is open. Wawona Hotel opens June 10. Wawona Campground opens June 15 for RVs/trailers with toilets (no restrooms available). However, Wawona Golf Course is closed for maintenance. Wawona Visitor Center (Hill’s Studio) is closed, but wilderness permits will be available on the porch later in spring. Wawona Stable is closed. A visitor information desk is available at the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza starting May 22. The Yosemite History Center is open (without staffing or stage rides). Chowchilla Mountain Road is closed to motor vehicles.

What is different about visiting Glacier Point?

Glacier Point Road and Glacier Point are open for the season. The Glacier Point Tour is not operating.

Note: Glacier Point Road will be closed to all traffic in 2022 to rehabilitate and improve the road.

What is different about visiting Yosemite Valley?

Yosemite Valley is open. A visitor information desk and limited Yosemite Conservancy bookstore sales are available outside the Valley Visitor Center. The Happy Isles Art and Nature Center, the Valley Visitor Center Theater (including park films), and Yosemite Museum are closed, however, the Indian Cultural Village is open. the Valley Wilderness Center opens on April 30. All campgrounds and lodging facilities are open at reduced capacity.

There is no shuttle service in Yosemite Valley. Please consider walking or cycling to reduce vehicle use when possible.

What is different about visiting the Crane Flat Area?

The Crane Flat area, including Merced and Tuolumne Groves of Giant Sequoias, as well as the Crane Flat Gas Station, is open. Rangers will be providing visitor information and wilderness permits outside the Big Oak Flat Information Station later in spring. Crane Flat Store is closed.

What is different about visiting Hetch Hetchy?

The Hetch Hetchy area is open with day-use reservations not required. However, access is limited when parking fills. Hetch Hetchy Road is only open from 8 am to 5 pm. Day visitors must exit the area prior to 5 pm.

What is different about visiting Tioga Road and Tuolumne Meadows?

Tioga Road will tentatively open on May 27. Tuolumne Meadows Campground opens on July 15. Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center will have an information desk outside and wilderness permits will be available outside the Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center. Tuolumne Meadows store, post office, and grill will tentatively open on May 28. White Wolf Lodge, Tuolumne Meadows Lodge, and High Sierra Camps and will not open this year. The Tuolumne Meadows Shuttle and Tuolumne Meadows Tour and Hikers Bus will not operate this year.

YARTS is operating its regional transit system with reduced capacity (30 people per bus, with 22 available by reservation—reservations are strongly recommended). Visit https://www.yarts.com/ for more information.

Other Services and Facilities

Additional information about Yosemite Hospitality services is available on their website.

Are restrooms, showers, or a laundry available?

Public restrooms are available throughout the park. Restrooms are being cleaned multiple times per day, which results in restrooms being closed at times.

Showers are not available except for overnight guests of Curry Village and Housekeeping Camp. The laundry at Housekeeping Camp is closed; there are no public laundry facilities available.

Is public transportation or bus tours available?

Shuttle service is not available in Yosemite this season. This includes shuttles in Yosemite Valley, Mariposa Grove, and Tuolumne Meadows.

Yosemite Hospitality is not operating any bus tours. This includes the Valley Floor Tour, Glacier Point Tour, Grand Tour, and Tuolumne Meadows Tour and Hikers Bus.

YARTS is operating its regional transit system with reduced capacity (30 people per bus, with 22 available by reservation—reservations are strongly recommended). Visit https://www.yarts.com/ for more information.

Why are shuttles and tours not available?

Shuttles and tours are not operating this year due to lack of staffing. Shared housing for seasonal employees in Yosemite is significantly lower than usual this year in order to keep employees safe.

Public Health Information

What should I do if I feel sick or think I am infected with or have been exposed to COVID-19?

First, if you feel sick or may have been exposed to COVID-19 prior to arriving at Yosemite, please stay home and call your medical provider. If you are traveling and not near home, stay where you are and call your medical provider.

If you are in the park and feel sick or are concerned you were exposed to COVID-19, you are welcome to call the Yosemite Medical Clinic at 209/372-4637. Please call before visiting the clinic as appointment availability and clinic hours can vary. Other sources of medical care are available in Mariposa, Oakhurst and other neighboring communities. If it is an emergency, please call 911.

 

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209/372-0200

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