Yosemite Valley

Soaring granite cliffs with waterfalls cascading down into a green, pine covered valley
Yosemite Valley seen from Tunnel View.
 

[T]he far-famed valley came suddenly into view throughout almost its whole extent: the noble walls, sculptured into endless variety of domes and gables, spires and battlements and plain mural precipices, all a-tremble with the thunder tones of the falling water. The level bottom seemed to be dressed like a garden, sunny meadows here and there and groves of pine and oak, the river of Mercy sweeping in majesty through the midst of them and flashing back the sunbeams. --John Muir

Yosemite Valley, home to many of the famous cliffs and waterfalls that make Yosemite National Park famous is accessible by car and bus all year.

To Get There

  • Car: You can drive into and around Yosemite Valley all year. Highways 41, 140, and 120 (from the west) provide access all year, although tire chains may be required from October or November through March or April.
  • Bus: Amtrak and Greyhound provide public transportation to Yosemite Valley.
  • Free shuttle service is available year-round in eastern Yosemite Valley and, in summer, as far west as El Capitan. We encourage you to use shuttle buses to reduce traffic congestion.

Traffic in Yosemite Valley

While we welcome you to Yosemite, you should expect traffic congestion, especially in Yosemite Valley and at park entrances. If you are planning to visit Yosemite Valley by car for the day, arrive before 9 am, after which parking is usually full.

Parking is available at Yosemite Village, Half Dome Village (formerly 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. Use the free shuttle to get around Yosemite Valley. If you have lodging or campground reservations, park your car at your lodge or campground and use the shuttles to get around.

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

 
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Duration:
3 minutes, 6 seconds

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.

 

Visitor Centers & Museums

  • Valley Visitor Center (all year): Ranger-staffed information desk, bookstore, Spirit of Yosemite film, and exhibit hall detailing the park's geology, plant and animal life, and history.
  • Valley Wilderness Center (May to October): Offers wilderness permits, bear canisters, maps, and guidebooks. Information on pre-trip planning, minimum-impact camping, and the Yosemite Wilderness.
  • Yosemite Museum (all year): The Indian Cultural Exhibit and Village interprets the cultural history of Yosemite's native Miwok and Paiute people from 1850 to the present. Demonstrations of traditional skills are presented. The Gallery offers art exhibits periodically throught the year.
  • Happy Isles Art and Nature Center (May to September): Designed for nature-exploring families, this center offers natural history exhibits, interactive displays, and art workshops. Nearby are short trails through the area’s forest, river, and fen environments. Evidence of the huge 1996 rockfall from the Glacier Point cliff is visible above.
  • Yosemite Conservation Heritage Center, formerly LeConte Memorial Lodge (late May to early September): Yosemite's first public visitor center, operated by the Sierra Club, features a children's corner, library, and a variety of environmental education and evening programs.
 

Activities

 

Points of Interest

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Accessibility: Details about accessible facilities and trails is available in the park's accessibility guide [100 kb PDF].
 
Simplified map showing parking areas in Yosemite Valley at Yosemite Valley Lodge, Yosemite Village, and Half Dome Village.

Last updated: April 18, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 577
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Phone:

(209) 372-0200

Contact Us