Traffic in Yosemite National Park

Each year, Yosemite National Park welcomes over five million visitors. If you’re visiting Yosemite in the summer of 2017, particularly Yosemite Valley, expect extremely high visitor concentrations, resulting in extended traffic delays, extremely limited parking, busy trails, and no lodging or campground availability. Expect delays of an hour or more at entrance stations and two to three hours in Yosemite Valley. If you are planning to visit Yosemite, plan ahead and arrive early. Leave your car parked once you find a parking space then use shuttles to get around, or take advantage of Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS).

During August 2017, Yosemite will be piloting a parking reservation program during four weekends. You can reserve a limited number of parking spaces at the Yosemite Falls Parking Area, located directly west of Yosemite Valley Lodge and south of Camp 4 in Yosemite Valley.


These frequently asked questions are designed to help maximize your visit to the park:

What should I expect while driving in Yosemite?

Yosemite is very busy this year. Expect extensive delays while driving into and around the park. You may experience delays of an hour or more at entrance stations, and additional two- to three-hour delays in Yosemite Valley. Avoid delays and difficulty finding a place to park by arriving early. Arriving to Yosemite National Park by about 9 am will help you avoid traffic delays and trouble finding parking. Avoid driving during the afternoon, as congestion typically increases from noon to 6 pm. During periods of extremely heavy traffic, it is possible that a park ranger may divert you away from Yosemite Valley east of Bridalveil Fall. This avoids being in a queue of cars that may require up to three hours to clear. If you are turned around, you may wish to visit other areas of the park before attempting to re-enter Yosemite Valley. Other areas of the park may also be congested and/or have limited or no parking available.

Why should I take public transportation?

You can avoid traffic and parking hassles in Yosemite Valley by taking YARTS to Yosemite. YARTS buses provide regularly-scheduled access to Yosemite from all gateway communities. The park entrance fee is covered by your bus fare.

Where can I get fuel?

There are two gas stations in Yosemite National Park, in Wawona and at Crane Flat. There is no gas or diesel available in Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows, or along the Tioga Road. There are gas stations in El Portal (on Highway 140 outside of the park) and in Lee Vining (on Highway 395, 12 miles from the Tioga Pass Entrance Station on the Tioga Road).

Where should I park my vehicle?

Parking fills to capacity throughout Yosemite by mid-morning. Find a place to park before mid-morning and avoid driving after that time, if possible. If you’re staying at campgrounds in Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows, please leave your vehicles at your campsite and use shuttles.

There are three major parking lots in Yosemite Valley: Yosemite Village Parking Lot, Yosemite Falls Parking Lot, Half Dome Village Parking Lot. If you find a parking space, plan to leave your vehicle there for the remainder of the day as you will likely not find another parking spot. Use the free shuttle service to get around which provides access to all locations within Yosemite Valley. If you have lodging or campground reservations, park your vehicle at your lodge or campground and ride shuttles.

How do I get to the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center?

A free shuttle can take you to the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center from all three major parking lots in Yosemite Valley. All shuttles stop at the visitor center. Please do not follow your GPS to drive to the visitor center as there is no parking available in this area. The visitor center is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm.

Where and when will roadwork take place this summer?

There are multiple road construction projects that can only take place during summer due to weather requirements. If you’re visiting during summer 2017, plan to arrive in Yosemite National Park by about 9 am to find parking and traffic congestion. Little to no parking will be available for much of the rest of the day. Also, expect heavy traffic congestion in Yosemite Valley from mid-morning to late afternoon. Once parked, walk, bike, or use the free shuttle to get around Yosemite Valley.

When will the Mariposa Grove Open?

The Mariposa Grove restoration project will restore the grove's dynamic ecology and increase its resilience. As a result of this project, the Mariposa Grove is currently closed and is expected to reopen fall 2017.

When will the Tioga Road Open? When will services be available?

Expect Tioga Road to open no earlier than late June. Once the Tioga Road opens, facilities may not be available for an additional few weeks. Trails will still be covered with snow, making for difficult navigation and hiking; experience and preparation for navigating and traveling in snow may be necessary. Some areas of the park received record snowfall during the 2016-2017 winter. In past years with heavy snowpacks, the road has usually opened near the beginning of July.

Top Travel Recommendations

  • Bring plenty of food and water for potential delays and stop and use restrooms when they are available.
  • Ride a YARTS bus to enter the park.
  • Arrive early and stay late, and visit Yosemite during the week.
  • Park your vehicle for the duration of your stay. Driving from site to site increases traffic congestion and can cause frustration for you and your passengers.
  • Ride the free shuttle buses to enjoy Yosemite Valley most easily once parked.
  • Enjoy the entire Yosemite region—consider visiting gateway communities, such as Mariposa, Groveland, Lee Vining, and Oakhurst.
 
Simplified map showing Yosemite Valley parking areas at Yosemite Valley Lodge, Yosemite Village, and Half Dome Village

Last updated: July 28, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 577
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Phone:

(209) 372-0200

Contact Us