Traffic in Yosemite National Park


Each year, Yosemite National Park welcomes over four million visitors. If you’re visiting Yosemite—particularly Yosemite Valley—during spring or fall, expect extremely high visitor concentrations, resulting in extended traffic delays, extremely limited parking, busy trails, and no lodging or campground availability. Any time spring through fall, the following delays at entrance stations are common:

  • South Entrance (via Highway 41 and Oakhurst): one to two hours
  • Arch Rock Entrance (via Highway 140 and Mariposa): 30 minutes
  • Big Oak Flat Entrance (via Highway 120 from the west and Groveland): 30 minutes
  • Hetch Hetchy Entrance: varies depending on if Hetch Hetchy parking is full (but could be up to two hours)
  • Tioga Pass Entrance (via Highway 120 from the east and Lee Vining): 30 minutes

These times are estimates and may vary. It's best to arrive by 8 am, in the early afternoon, or after 5 pm to avoid these delays.

The following information applies May through September, and on weekends and holidays during spring and fall.

Top Travel Recommendations

  • Arrive early and stay late, and visit Yosemite during the week instead of on weekends. Congestion and delays are worse on weekends, with Saturdays and holiday weekends being particularly busy. However, delays and traffic congestion are possibly on any day.
  • Ride a YARTS bus to enter the park.
  • If you drive, park your car for the duration of your stay. Driving from site to site increases traffic congestion and can cause frustration for you and your passengers.
  • Free shuttles can help you get around Yosemite Valley, but they will be full on busy days. You may need to wait for multiple buses to go by before one has space for you. Consider walking or biking, if possible.
  • Bring plenty of food and water for potential delays and stop and use restrooms when they are available.
  • Enjoy the entire Yosemite region. Consider visiting gateway communities and their visitor centers in Mariposa, Groveland, Mono County, and Oakhurst.
Two lanes of traffic with cars and a standstill from foreground to background
Traffic in Yosemite Valley can back up for miles once parking lots fill.

Yosemite Valley

If you are planning to visit Yosemite Valley by car from spring through fall, arrive before 8 am, after which parking is usually full. If you arrive after 8 am on weekends—especially Saturdays and holiday weekends—be prepared for multiple delays followed by inability to find a place to park. It may also not be possible to travel beyond El Capitan to drive to eastern Yosemite Valley.

If you arrive early, parking is available at Yosemite Village, Curry Village, and near Yosemite Falls. If you find a parking space, plan to leave your car there; you will not be able to find another parking spot. Walk, bike, or use the free shuttle to get around Yosemite Valley. If you have lodging or campground reservations, park your car at your lodge or campground. Do not create a new roadside or off-road parking space; violators may be towed and/or cited.

Once all parking in Yosemite Valley is full, you may be redirected to other areas (which will also have limited parking).

Map showing traffic being turned around in western Yosemite Valley, near El Capitan, with no access to eastern Yosemite Valley
When all parking in Yosemite Valley is full, vehicles will be diverted back out of Yosemite Valley near El Capitan.

Visiting Glacier Point

If you are planning to visit Glacier Point (typically open May to November), plan to arrive by 9 am. If the parking lot is full, you may experience delays up to two hours.

As an alternative, you can join a guided bus tour with a round-trip and one-way option (reservations strongly recommended).

During summer, you can also hike to Glacier Point from Yosemite Valley via the Four Mile Trail or the Panorama Trail. Plan for a long day of hiking if you choose to hike!


Visiting Tuolumne Meadows

If you plan to take a day trip to Tuolumne Meadows (when the Tioga Road is open, May or June through November, but opening later in 2023), try to arrive by 9 am. Parking in Tuolumne Meadows is limited and roadside parking is prohibited. You can park for 30-minutes at the visitor center, and for the Soda Springs walk, there is a new parking lot just east of the visitor center. There is also parking available near Lembert Dome and a large parking lot at the Dog Lake/Lyell Canyon trailhead.

YARTS and the Tuolumne Meadows Tour and Hikers' Bus provide bus service between Tuolumne Meadows and Yosemite Valley.

A long line of cars queued at entrance station

Visiting Wawona and the Mariposa Grove

If you are planning a day trip to southern Yosemite, you might be looking to visit the Mariposa Grove. To visit the grove, park at the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza near South Entrance. From the welcome plaza, you'll take the free shuttle into the grove. The shuttle operates from April through mid-October, conditions permitting. Hours vary depending on time of year. The welcome plaza has about 300 parking spaces and may fill up by late morning. Arrive by mid-morning to increase chances of finding a place to park.

From approximately May through September a YARTS bus travels through the southern corridor of the park with a stop near South Entrance, providing access to the grove via the shuttle. The frequency of stops on this route is limited, so plan accordingly. The Grand Tour, an all-day tour starting in Yosemite Valley, also includes a visit to the Mariposa Grove. There is no other public transportation to southern Yosemite.


Visiting Hetch Hetchy

From spring through fall, particularly on weekends, parking lots may be full from mid-morning to late afternoon, causing hours-long delays at Hetch Hetchy Entrance Station.

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Each year, Yosemite National Park welcomes over four million visitors. If you are planning to visit Yosemite, plan ahead and arrive early. In summer, expect extended traffic delays and extremely limited parking. Expect delays of an hour or more at entrance stations and two to three hours in Yosemite Valley.

Last updated: June 11, 2024

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