Entrance Reservations

 

Entrance Reservations in 2024
A reservation will be required to drive into Yosemite during two different periods in summer 2024. Keep reading for details about the two systems; the two systems are different.

  • January 1 through February 9: No reservation required to drive into Yosemite.

  • February 10 through 25: A reservation is required 24 hours per day on Saturdays, Sundays, and on Washington's Birthday (Monday, February 19).

  • February 26 through April 12: No reservation required to drive into Yosemite.

  • April 13 through June 30: A reservation is required from 5 am to 4 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and on holidays (May 27 and June 19).

  • July 1 through August 16: A reservation is required from 5 am to 4 pm every day.

  • August 17 through October 27: A reservation is required from 5 am to 4 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and on holidays (September 2 and October 14).

Información en español.

 
Park entry requires a reservation in 2024, including Feb 10-11, 17-19, and 24-25, as well as on some days from April 13 through September 29
 

February 2024 Reservation Requirement

Horsetail Fall can glow orange when it's backlit by sunset, which can make it appear to be on fire. This unique lighting effect happens only on evenings with a clear sky when the waterfall is flowing and when the sun is at the right angle in mid– to late February. This event attracts many visitors to a small area, causing traffic congestion, parking issues, safety concerns, and impacts to natural and cultural resources. In order to manage this event, a reservation will be required to enter Yosemite National Park on the weekends of February 10–11, February 17–19, and February 24–25, 2024, even for those not visiting Horsetail FallVisitors who arrive Mondays through Fridays (except Monday, February 19) won't need a reservation. The $35/car entrance fee is valid for entry for seven days, regardless of day of arrival.

Beginning at 8 am Pacific time on December 1, 50% of day-use reservations are available for all three weekends on Recreation.gov.

Beginning at 8 am Pacific time two days prior to a day-use reservation date, the remaining 50% of day-use reservations will be available. For example, on February 23 at 8 am, day-use reservations for February 25 will be available.

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

Reservations are taken almost immediately. Be sure to have an account and be logged in and ready to get a reservation promptly at 8 am Pacific time.

The non-refundable reservation fee is $2. You will pay the entrance fee (or show an annual or lifetime pass) when you arrive.

Cancelled reservations become available immediately on Recreation.gov.

Each user can make one reservation per day. Only one reservation is needed per vehicle (regardless of the number of people in the vehicle). An occupant of the arriving vehicle must be the reservation holder (with photo ID).

Day-use permits are valid for seven consecutive days for unlimited entries.

In-Park Camping, Lodging, or Vacation Rentals

If you have a reservation for one of the following, you do not need an additional reservation. You still pay the $35/car entrance fee upon arrival (credit card only) unless you have an annual or lifetime pass. The overnight vehicle permit you receive will be valid for seven consecutive days for unlimited entries. Your overnight vehicle permit is valid for seven days starting on the date of your campground or lodging reservation.

Regional Transit or Tour Groups

If you have a reservation for Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) or with an authorized tour group, you do not need an additional reservation or permit.

Información en español.

Horsetail Fall can glow orange when it's backlit by sunset, which can make it appear to be on fire. This unique lighting effect happens only on evenings with a clear sky when the waterfall is flowing and when the sun is at the right angle in mid– to late February. This event attracts many visitors to a small area, causing traffic congestion, parking issues, safety concerns, and impacts to natural and cultural resources. In order to manage this event, a reservation will be required to drive into Yosemite February 10–11, February 17–19, and February 24–25, 2024. Visitors who arrive Mondays through Fridays (except Monday, February 19) and pay the entrance fee won't need a reservation. The $35/car entrance fee is valid for entry for seven days, regardless of day of arrival.

Do I need a reservation to visit Yosemite National Park?

If you are driving a vehicle into Yosemite National Park between February 10 and February 25, you will need a reservation if you first arrive on a Saturday or Sunday (February 10–11, February 17–19, and February 24–25, 2024) or if you arrive on Monday, February 19 (Washington's Birthday).

If you first arrive and pay the entrance fee anytime from Monday through Friday (except Monday, February 19), you do not need a reservation to enter or to drive in again on any of the following seven days. For example. If you arrive Friday, February 16, your vehicle pass is valid through Thursday, February 22 (including over the weekend). (This also applies to annual and lifetime pass holders.) If you have a reservation, your entrance fee is also valid for seven consecutive days.

The following reservations are valid for those arriving on Saturday, Sunday, and on Monday, February 19, during the reservation period:

If you enter the park via YARTS (Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System) buses, bicycle, on foot, or on horseback, you 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.

I have an annual or lifetime Pass that provides 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 National Park if your arrival date is Saturday or Sunday between February 10 and February 25 or on Monday, February 19.

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

Day-use reservations are only available via Recreation.gov. Reservations go quickly; be sure to have an account, be logged in, and ready to get a reservation promptly at 8 am Pacific time the day you make your reservation.

Beginning at 8 am Pacific time on December 1, 50% of day-use reservations are available for all three weekends at https://www.recreation.gov/timed-entry/10086745.

Beginning at 8 am Pacific time two days prior to a day-use reservation date, the remaining 50% of day-use reservations will be available. For example, on February 23 at 8 am, day-use reservations for February 25 will be available.

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

Will first-come, first-served campsites be available?

No. Campground reservations will be required for Camp 4, Hodgdon Meadow, and Wawona Campgrounds from February 9 through February 25, 2024 (these campgrounds normally operate on a first-come, first-served basis in February). Reservations will be released on December 15 at 7 am Pacific time at Recreation.gov. (Upper Pines Campground reservations are always available up to five months in advance.)

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 two days in advance of the target date, promptly at 8 am Pacific Time (Reminder: 50% of reservations are released two days in advance).

How much does a day-use reservation cost?

Each day-use reservation costs $2. You will pay the entrance fee when you arrive. (Annual and lifetime passes, such as the Yosemite Annual Pass, Interagency Annual Pass, 4th Grade Pass, Military Pass, Access Pass, or Senior Pass, are valid for entrance fees but don’t cover the reservation requirement or fee.)

If you cancel a day-use reservation ($2), the reservation will become available for someone else, but you will not receive a refund. You need one reservation per vehicle and the reservation is valid for everyone inside the vehicle.

How long is my reservation valid?

Your entrance fee and (if you have one) day-use reservation is valid for seven consecutive days from the day you pay the entrance fee or date indicated on the reservation.

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

No, you can arrive any day within seven days of your reservation.

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 inside the park or in Yosemite West may arrive in more than one vehicle. An occupant in each vehicle must provide a copy or photo of the driver license belonging to the person who made the reservation (as well as a copy of the reservation) to be permitted to enter.

If I have an overnight reservation, do I need an additional reservation?

If you have a lodging reservation for Yosemite Valley, Wawona, Foresta, or Yosemite West, you don’t need an additional reservation.

If you have a campground reservation for Upper Pines, Camp 4, Hodgdon Meadow, or Wawona Campgrounds, you don’t need an additional reservation. Reservations will be required for Camp 4, Hodgdon Meadow, and Wawona Campgrounds February 9 through February 25, 2024 (these campgrounds normally operate on a first-come, first-served basis in February). 

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 at the park? 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.

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.

How can I learn more about seeing Horsetail Fall?

We have information about how to see Horsetail Fall, how to reach the viewing area, and how to protect yourself and the park, on our Horsetail Fall page.

 

Mid-April through October 2024 Reservation Requirement

A reservation will be required to drive into or through Yosemite National Park on some days from April 13 through October 27, 2024, for those driving into the park between 5 am and 4 pm as follows:

  • April 13 through June 30: A reservation is required from 5 am to 4 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and on holidays (May 27 and June 19).

  • July 1 through August 16: A reservation is required from 5 am to 4 pm every day.

  • August 17 through October 27: A reservation is required from 5 am to 4 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays (September 2 and October 14).

Driving through the park will also require a reservation if entering between 5 am and 4 pm. If you are planning to visit after peak hours, please do not arrive before 4 pm; vehicles blocking roads will be cited.

The temporary reservation system will help manage congestion and provide a quality visitor experience. We are experimenting with a few different ideas for this summer as we work on the Visitor Access Management Plan.

Get details below or make a reservation.

Peak-Hours Reservations

Most reservations for all dates from April 13 through October 27, 2024, will be available on Recreation.gov on January 5, 2024 at 8 am Pacific time. Additional reservations will be available seven days before the arrival date (e.g., make a reservation for an arrival date of October 27 on October 20) at 8 am Pacific time. Reservations available one week in advance will be a combination of reservations valid for full days or reservations valid for arrival only in the afternoons (on all three days).

Reservations are available each day at 8 am Pacific time. Reservations are taken almost immediately. Be sure to have a Recreation.gov account and be logged in and ready to get a reservation promptly at 8 am Pacific time.

The non-refundable reservation fee is $2 (this does not include the $35-per-car park entrance fee).

Each user can make one reservation for each three-day period. For example, if a user makes a reservation for a Friday arrival (valid Friday through Sunday), the user won’t be able to make a second reservation for an arrival that Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. The reservation holder must be in the arriving vehicle and show photo ID at the entrance station.

Peak-hours reservations are valid for three consecutive days (including arrival date).

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

In-Park Camping, Lodging, or Vacation Rentals

If you have a reservation for one of the following, you do not need an additional reservation. You still pay the $35-per-car entrance fee upon arrival (credit card only) unless you have an annual or lifetime pass. Your reservation for in-park lodging or camping, a Half Dome permit, or a wilderness permit allows you to enter the park 24 hours per day for the duration of your reservation or for three consecutive days (whichever is longer).

Reservations for lodging or vacation rentals outside the park and in communities other than these three do not provide access to Yosemite.

Wilderness or Half Dome Permits

If you have a wilderness permit reservation (for backpacking) or Half Dome permit, you do not need an additional reservation. You still pay the $35/car entrance fee upon arrival (credit card only) unless you have an annual or lifetime pass. Your reservation allows you to enter the park 24 hours per day for the duration of your reservation or for three days (whichever is longer).

If you have a wilderness permit, you may enter the park a day before the date on your wilderness permit to stay at a backpackers campground.

A Half Dome permit does not allow you to camp in Yosemite.

Regional Transit or Tour Groups

If you enter the park on a Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) bus or with an authorized tour group, you do not need an additional reservation or permit.

Visiting without a Reservation

If you don't have a reservation, you can still visit Yosemite. You must arrive at an entrance station (other than Hetch Hetchy) before 5 am or after 4 pm. If you are planning to visit after peak hours, please do not arrive before 4 pm; vehicles blocking roads will be cited.

If you enter during non-peak hours on your first day, you must still enter before 5 am or after 4 pm on subsequent days, even if you have an entrance station receipt.

You can visit the Hetch Hetchy area of the park when it is open (sunrise to sunset) without a reservation.

Information is subject to change. This will be updated as soon as any information changes.

Entrance Reservations Basics

Do I need a reservation to visit Yosemite?

Yes, if you are driving a vehicle into or through Yosemite National Park between 5 am and 4 pm (peak hours) during the dates listed above, you must have one of the following with matching photo ID:

Driving through the park without stopping requires a reservation if entering the park between 5 am and 4 pm.

Payment of the vehicle entrance fee, which is valid for three days, is required. For those with an overnight reservation or Half Dome permit, the fee is valid for three days or the duration of the overnight reservation (whichever is longer), starting with the first day of the reservation. Credit cards are the only form of payment accepted for entrance fees. If you enter the park via YARTS (Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System) buses, bicycle, on foot, or on horseback, or if you visit Hetch Hetchy, you do not need a peak-hours reservation to enter the park. Park entrance fees still apply.

What types of reservations are available?

There are two kinds of peak-hours reservations: those valid for the full day and those valid for arrival in the afternoons (on all three days). (Anyone with or without a reservation can also arrive before 5 am or after 4 pm.)  Peak-hours reservations are valid for up to three consecutive days.

Do I need a reservation to drive into the park on weekdays?

If you are visiting anytime from July 1 through August 16, you need a reservation to drive into the park every day of the week if entering the park between 5 am and 4 pm.

If you are visiting anytime from April 13 through June 30 or August 17 through October 31, you need a reservation to drive into the park on every Saturday and Sunday, and every holiday (May 27, June 19, September 2, and October 14) when entering the park between 5 am and 4 pm. A reservation is required on these days even if your first day in the park is on a non-reservation day.

Do I need a reservation to drive into the park during non-peak hours (before 5 am or after 4 pm)?

No. If you enter Yosemite before 5 am or after 4 pm, you do not need a reservation. You can remain in the park during peak hours if you arrive during these non-peak hours. If you are planning to arrive after 4 pm, please do not arrive at a park entrance station until after 4 pm. Do not try to arrive early. Vehicles blocking roads will be cited.

To arrive at the nearest Yosemite entrance at 4 pm, leave the following towns at or after these times:

  • Mariposa (Hwy 140): 3:15 pm (or El Portal at 3:55 pm)
  • Oakhurst (Hwy 41): 3:30 pm (or Fish Camp at 3:55 pm)
  • Groveland (Hwy 120 from the west): 3:25 pm (or Buck Meadows at 3:40 pm)
  • Lee Vining (Hwy 120 from the east): 3:40 pm

The $35/car entrance fee applies and is valid for three consecutive days for visiting Hetch Hetchy and for driving into other areas of the park during non-peak hours. However, paying the entrance fee does not allow entry during peak hours without a reservation.

Camping or sleeping in a vehicle is only allowed in a campsite you have reserved via Recreation.gov.

If I arrive without a reservation and pay the entrance fee to enter the park during non-peak hours, can I arrive during peak hours on the same or following days?

No. The $35-per-car entrance fee is valid for three consecutive days for visiting Hetch Hetchy and driving into all other areas of the park only during non-peak hours. Paying the entrance fee does not allow entry during peak hours (5 am to 4 pm) if you don’t have a valid reservation.

If I arrive without a reservation and pay the entrance fee on a day when reservations aren’t required (in spring or fall), can I drive into the park on either of the following two days if a reservation is required?

No. You must enter the park before 5 am or after 4 pm on days when a reservation is required. If you don’t have a reservation, the $35-per-car entrance fee is valid for three consecutive days for visiting Hetch Hetchy and driving into other areas of the park only during non-peak hours. Paying the entrance fee does not allow entry during peak hours (5 am to 4 pm) if you don’t have a valid reservation.

When can I enter the park if I have an afternoon-only reservation?

These reservations are valid to drive into the park at noon or later every day. This applies to all three days of the reservation. You can also drive into the park before 5 am or after 4 pm.

I want to drive through the park without stopping. Do I need a peak-hours reservation? How can you limit access to a state highway?

Yes, a peak-hours reservation is required to drive into the park between 5 am and 4 pm on days when a reservation is required, even if you’re just passing through. If you enter the park before 5 am or after 4 pm, you can continue driving through the park (or stay and recreate) during peak hours on the day you enter the park.

Tioga Road, which is part of the continuation of Highway 120 through the park, is not and has never been a state highway within park boundaries. Originally built as a private mining road, philanthropists purchased the road and donated it to the National Park Service, which has improved and maintained the road ever since. The National Park Service is solely responsible for providing road maintenance, as well as law enforcement and emergency services, along all roads within Yosemite National Park.

I have an annual or lifetime pass that gives me free entrance. Do I need a reservation to drive in during peak hours?

Yes. These passes cover the park entrance fee. A $2 non-refundable reservation fee still applies to peak-hours reservations.

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

Yes. You must have a peak-hours reservation to drive a vehicle into the park unless you arrive before 5 am or after 4 pm.

Do I need a reservation if I live locally?

Yes. Residents living in the local area need a reservation to visit Yosemite. However, local residents who have an eligible local zip code on their driver license may pass through Yosemite National Park (without stopping) for non-recreational purposes without paying an entrance fee or needing a reservation. A driver license with an eligible zip code is the only acceptable proof of residence.

Making and Using a Reservation

How and when do I get a peak-hours plus reservation to visit Yosemite?

Peak-hours reservations are only available via Recreation.gov. Reservations go extremely quickly. Establish a Recreation.gov account first, log in to your account, and obtain a reservation beginning at 8 am Pacific daylight time on the appropriate day. Reservations are available during two periods:

  • On January 5 for all arrival dates (April 13–October 27); these remain available until all are taken.
  • Seven days in advance (e.g., make a reservation for an arrival date of October 27 on October 20).

Peak-hours reservations are valid for three consecutive days (including arrival date).

Each user can make one reservation for each three-day period. For example, if a user makes a reservation for a Friday arrival (valid Friday through Sunday), the user won’t be able to make a second reservation for an arrival that Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. The reservation holder must be in the arriving vehicle and show photo ID at the entrance station.

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

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 peak-hours reservation cost?

A peak-hours reservation costs $2 and is non-refundable. This is collected by Recreation.gov and is separate from the park entrance fee. You need one reservation per vehicle. Each reservation is valid for everyone inside the vehicle.

How long is my peak-hours reservation valid?

Your peak-hours reservation is valid for up to three consecutive days starting on the first day of the reservation (but is no longer valid or necessary on the second or third day if those are days when a reservation isn’t required). For example, if you get a reservation for a Saturday, it’s valid for Saturday through Monday (if Monday is a day when a reservation is required).

Your reservation for in-park lodging or camping, a Half Dome permit, or a wilderness permit allows you to enter the park 24 hours per day for the duration of your reservation or for three days (whichever is longer).

If you have a reservation for lodging or camping outside the park for more than three days, you will need more than one peak-hours reservation and will pay the entrance fee for each three-day period you visit Yosemite. If you will be visiting more than three days, you may want to purchase an annual pass. Or, if you already paid the entrance fee, you can use the receipt(s) toward an annual pass. For $70, you can purchase a Yosemite annual pass (covers entrance fees at Yosemite for 12 months). For $80, you can purchase an interagency annual pass (valid for entrance fees at all national parks).

Why is the entrance fee valid for three days instead of seven days?

In response to public and gateway community feedback, we temporarily shortened the period the entrance fee is valid during the reservation periods in 2021 and 2022  to increase the number of reservations available, ultimately providing more opportunities for people to visit. This change was successful, so we are temporarily applying this timeframe again during the 2024 peak-hours plus reservation season.

Almost 90% of visitors not staying overnight inside the park visit for three or fewer consecutive days. The three-day reservation also allows peak-hours reservation holders to first enter the park on any day during their reservation (with the seven-day reservation in 2020, reservation holders were required to arrive on the first day).

If you will be visiting more than three days, you may want to purchase an annual pass. Or, if you already paid the entrance fee, you can use the receipt(s) toward an annual pass. For $70, you can purchase a Yosemite annual pass (covers entrance fees at Yosemite for 12 months). For $80, you can purchase an interagency annual pass (valid for entrance fees at all national parks).

Annual pass holders will still need to obtain a peak-hours reservation to drive into the park during peak hours, on days when reservations are required, from April 13 through October 27, 2024.

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

No. If you have a reservation for one of the following, your entrance fee is valid for the duration of your reservation or three days (whichever is longer):

Does the reservation system eliminate delays at entrance stations?

No. Even with reservations, you may encounter delays at entrance stations. If you have a daily reservation, try to arrive before 8 am to avoid the longest delays.

If you don’t have a reservation, you must arrive after 4 pm or before 5 am. If you don’t have a reservation, please wait until after 4 pm to drive to the entrance station. If you have an afternoon reservation, please wait until after noon to drive to the entrance station.

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

No. One of the benefits of the three-day reservation is that you don’t have to arrive on the first day of your reservation. However, your peak-hours reservation is still valid for up to 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).

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

A peak-hours reservation is required for each vehicle (or motorcycle) that enters the park during peak hours. 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.

Can I give or sell my reservation to someone else?

No. Reservations and entrance fees are non-transferable. Peak-hours reservations are only valid for the person who made the reservation and for the vehicle transporting that person.

Visiting Without a Reservation

A reservation is required to drive into or through the park during peak hours (5 am to 4 pm). A reservation is not required to drive into or through the park before 5 am or after 4 pm. If you enter through an entrance station before or after peak hours, you can remain in the park during peak hours. However, don’t arrive at Yosemite without a reservation if you plan to stay overnight inside the park. Camping or sleeping in a vehicle is only allowed in a campsite you have reserved via Recreation.gov.

If you are planning to arrive after 4 pm, please do not arrive at a park entrance station until after 4 pm. Do not try to arrive early. Vehicles blocking roads will be cited.

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

Reservations are not available at entrance stations. You can check Recreation.gov before you arrive to the park to see if any reservations have become available due to cancellation.

How can I bide my time while waiting until my noon reservation is valid or until the reservation requirement ends at 4 pm?

Spend time in the beautiful national forests and enticing gateway communities just outside of Yosemite!

Highway 41 Corridor
Highway 140 Corridor
Highway 120 (west of Yosemite) Corridor
Highway 120 (east of Yosemite) Corridor

If you are planning to arrive after 4 pm, please do not arrive at a park entrance station until after 4 pm. Do not try to arrive early. Vehicles blocking roads will be cited.

To arrive at the nearest Yosemite entrance at 4 pm, leave the following towns at or after these times:

  • Mariposa (Hwy 140): 3:15 pm (or El Portal at 3:55 pm)
  • Oakhurst (Hwy 41): 3:30 pm (or Fish Camp at 3:55 pm)
  • Groveland (Hwy 120 from the west): 3:25 pm (or Buck Meadows at 3:40 pm)
  • Lee Vining (Hwy 120 from the east): 3:40 pm=
Can I enter the park overnight?

Yes. Yosemite National Park is open 24 hours per day. A reservation is only required to drive into the park between 5 am and 4 pm.

A campground reservation is required to camp or sleep in a vehicle anywhere in the park.

Reservation Management

Why was this pilot selected for 2024?
  • This pilot tests a more flexible reservation system requiring reservations only on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) and holidays during the early and late busy seasons. It also increases the number of reservations available, fully testing a reservation system during a time without pandemic restrictions or major construction.
    • In evaluating management strategies to pilot in summer 2024, park managers considered many different factors including public comments, opportunities to improve visitor experiences, opportunities to protect resources, opportunities to test new ideas, as well as which strategies were operationally feasible to implement by this spring.
    • This pilot provides an opportunity to test a peak-hours system under regularly-anticipated peak-season volumes while also spreading out entries across the day. Requiring reservations only on weekends during the early and late part of the summer allows the park to test whether a less restrictive system could address issues during those times of year.
    • This pilot also provides an opportunity to test other smaller modifications like hours of the reservation system, afternoon entries, by-pass lanes to address queues, higher vehicle volumes than under previous tests, and better messaging. All these changes have the potential to improve resource condition and visitor experiences. 
How much is the park limiting vehicle access to Yosemite under the peak-hours plus  reservation system?

The number of peak-hours reservations is determined by the number of parking spaces in Yosemite Valley coupled with roadway capacity in the Valley, and correlated with entrance station data from previous years to estimate number of vehicles going to other areas of the park. Aside from the Tioga Road, all highways that enter Yosemite National Park meet in Yosemite Valley.

If the reservation system is based on Yosemite Valley capacity, why is the entire park included?

All areas of Yosemite have been operating at or near capacity for several years. Allowing the same number of vehicles into the park and redirecting them other areas would cause the same parking and traffic issues seen in Yosemite Valley.

How long will the peak-hours plus reservation system be in place?

A reservation is required to drive into or through Yosemite National Park on some or all days from April 13 through October 27, if driving into the park between 5 am and 4 pm as follows:

  • April 13–June 30: weekends and holidays (Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays— May 27 and June 19)
  • July 1–August 16: seven days per week
  • August 17–October 27: weekends and holidays (Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays—September 2 and October 14)
Is the peak-hours plus reservation system permanent?

This is a pilot system designed to allow park visitors to experience Yosemite without excess vehicle traffic and to manage parking demand the upcoming coming busy season. Yosemite National Park is currently evaluating past reservation pilot systems and other strategies to develop a permanent solution in the Yosemite Visitor Access Management Plan.  Learn more about the plan and how to get involved at go.nps.gov/vamp.

What is the long-term strategy for reducing congestion and crowding?

Traffic congestion has been a major issue for about six decades, seriously impacting visitors’ experience in Yosemite, and is a source of frequent complaints. One of the five goals of the park's 1980 General Management Plan is to "markedly reduce traffic congestion." The Merced River and Tuolumne River Plans (both finalized in 2014) address congestion and crowding in Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows, respectively. This year’s peak hours plus system provides both data and a test case as one pathway to a permanent solution for this persistent issue. Long-term implementation of strategies to reduce congestion and crowding will include public and stakeholder input.

Why are reservations needed?  
Horsetail Fall
Historically, the sunset backlight on Horsetail Fall was little known. However, in recent years, visitation around this event has increased dramatically. For example, on February 19, 2022, 2,433 visitors viewing Horsetail Fall gathered in areas mostly lacking adequate parking and other facilities. In prior years, visitors have spilled onto riverbanks, increasing erosion and trampling vegetation. As riverbanks filled, visitors moved into the Merced River, trampling sensitive vegetation and exposing themselves to unsafe conditions. Some undeveloped areas became littered with trash, and the lack of restrooms resulted in unsanitary conditions.  
Peak Season
The park has seen increasing impacts to natural and cultural resources, diminished quality of visitor experiences, increased visitor and staff safety concerns, and a heavy strain on the park’s facilities and ability to perform daily operations.  The NPS believes that managed access and related strategies are needed in high-demand areas where other strategies have not been sufficient to ensure high-quality experiences, visitor safety, and resource protection. 

 

What is managed access? 

Managed access is a suite of tools that help pace the timing and volume of visitation into areas to optimize access, ensure quality experiences, and protect resources. Examples of managed access include reservation systems, timed and ticketed entry, campground reservations, and more. Some examples of managed access strategies that have been in place for many years include wilderness and Half Dome permits. Managed access and related strategies are not a standalone solution. This plan will carefully evaluate many different tools and techniques that would be most effective to help Yosemite improve how visitors get to and experience the park’s significant resources and features.     

Have managed access strategies been used at Yosemite National Park before?
  • Reservation systems were enacted in previous years (2020-2022) to accommodate visitor use during the COVID-19 pandemic.  
  • There are many other examples of managed access strategies that have been in place for many years, including day use permits and a lottery system for access to the Half Dome cables in Yosemite National Park 
How can I provide comments about this system?

You may always contact us. The superintendent’s office receives all comments about the reservation system.

 

Virtual Public Information Session about Reservation System

 
 

Planning for the Future

Yosemite has been grappling with congestion—even gridlock—for decades. We want to build from the lessons learned from the last three summer of managed access. We are currently developing the Visitor Access Management Plan in order to design an approach that provides a great visitor experience while protecting Yosemite's natural and cultural resources.

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209/372-0200

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