Historic hotel and golf course
Wawona Hotel

“Wawona is like a bright green emerald set between the sparkling diamonds of Yosemite Valley’s waterfalls and the red rubies of the Sequoias in the Mariposa Grove.” – Yosemite visitor, early 1900s

Although Wawona was not added to Yosemite National Park until 1932, this large mid-elevation basin has hosted many people and activities for centuries and is home to numerous other natural features. Originally home to American Indians, the Wawona area later became a prosperous settlement and primary thoroughfare for people traveling to Yosemite Valley during the late 19th century. Galen Clark, the first state-appointed guardian of Yosemite, built Clark’s Station, which later grew to become the Wawona Hotel.


To Get There

  • Car: Wawona is located on the Wawona Road (the continuation of Highway 41 inside the park), 27 miles (45 minutes) from Yosemite Valley. Wawona is accessible by car year-round, though tire chains may be required from October through April. A gas station is open year-round in Wawona.
  • Bus: Yosemite Area Regional Transportation (YARTS) may provide public transportation to Wawona, which operates between Fresno and Yosemite Valley, with reservations likely required.

Visitor Center and Museums

  • Wawona Visitor Center at Hill’s Studio: The Wawona Visitor Center is closed for summer 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. If you are unable to get an approved bear canister prior to arrival, rangers are renting them from 9 am to 1 pm. The building is closed to the public and all education and interactions take place outside, with proper social distancing measures in place.
  • Pioneer Yosemite History Center (all year): See horse-drawn wagons, walk across a covered bridge, and visit historic buildings out of Yosemite's past. The history center explains how Yosemite was the inspiration for national parks across America and throughout the world. Originally constructed in different locations in Yosemite, many of the buildings were moved to Wawona in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The history center is always open, and explanatory signs and brochures are available.


Water cascading down granite cliff face.

Chilnualna Falls flows all year, with peak flow in May. Pronounced “Chil-noo-al-na,” this waterfall is comprised of five large cascades sliding through and over large granite formations above the Wawona area. A strenuous trail, Chilnualna Falls allows for you to view the cascades in many locations along the hike and also rewards you with expansive views overlooking Wawona during your uphill climb.

Horse drawn wagon driving through historic tunnel bridge.

In the Pioneer Yosemite History Center, see horse-drawn wagons, walk across a covered bridge, and visit historic buildings out of Yosemite's past. During summer, stage rides are available and some buildings are open for demonstrations or exploration (not available in 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic).

Giant sequoia trees towering over the forest.

The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias is the largest sequoia grove in Yosemite and is home to over 500 mature giant sequoias. There is no shuttle service between Wawona and the Mariposa Grove for the general public. 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. There will be no shuttle service during the summer of 2020 between the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza and the Mariposa Grove due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Visitors will need to plan accordingly for the 2-mile one way hike from the Welcome Plaza to the Mariposa Grove.

Last updated: June 11, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 577
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389


(209) 372-0200

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