Questions about Yosemite National Park’s Temporary Reservation System? We’ve Got Tips for Your Trip
Yosemite Mariposa County Shares How to Get the Most Out of Your Vacation
Mariposa, CA (April 4, 2022) – As travelers make their summer vacation plans, Yosemite National Park is at the top of many travel wish lists. This year, due to major construction projects and closed areas of the park, the National Park Service (NPS) has instituted a temporary peak hours reservation system for park visitors. At first glance, this may seem like a hindrance to many vacationers, but the Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau has insider tips to help navigate the system and maximize your experience in one of the country’s most iconic destinations.
“John Adams famously declared ‘every problem is an opportunity in disguise’,” said Jonathan Farrington, Executive Director of the Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau. “The Tourism Bureau encourages visitors to follow these helpful tips and enjoy the natural wonders of our region, including the hidden gems outside of the national park. Mariposa County is the home of Yosemite, but there are many incredible hikes, stunning vistas, rustic rivers and Gold Country charm to be found outside the park gates.”
NPS’s temporary peak hours vehicle reservation system is in place between May 20 and Sept. 30 from 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Outside those times, you can still visit the park without a vehicle reservation or day-use pass. There are many ways to enjoy the park without an advanced reservation:
- Don’t rely on your personal vehicle: You don’t need a reservation if you enter Yosemite when using public transportation or private tours. Consider YARTS, the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System. The bus route goes through the towns of Merced, Mariposa, El Portal, Fresno, Oakhurst, Sonora and Mammoth Lakes. You may even be able to get picked up right from your hotel.
- Book a guided tour: If you are arriving as part of a tour group, they will already have your permit covered. https://www.yosemite.com/things-to-do/yosemite-tours/
- Enter during off peak hours: Love a good sunrise? Enter the park before 6:00 a.m. and get a prime spot to watch the sun rise over the park’s granite walls followed by breakfast at The Ahwahnee. After summer solstice in June, the sun will set around 9:00 p.m. That gives visitors five hours to explore the park in the evening .
- Visit in the softer seasons: You can still enjoy the best seasons in the park without a reservation. There is plenty to do and see in the spring, fall and winter months when the park is naturally quieter, cooler and generally more enjoyable. Just pay the entrance fee at the gate when you arrive.
Entering Yosemite after 4 p.m. means a chance to explore some of the incredible places outside of the park boundaries. The nearby Sierra and Stanislaus National Forests offer miles of hiking trails through meadows and forests. You can even pick up a trail along the wild and scenic Merced River as it leaves Yosemite and courses down the canyon, that is home to some of the area’s most popular whitewater rafting trips and excellent fly fishing.
You can also hop on the steam train the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad for a ride through history. The historic Gold Rush towns near the park, like Mariposa, Coulterville, and Hornitos, offer a step back in time. For an even deeper dive into gold rush history. Mariposa, in particular, is home to museums, wine tasting, local craft beer and the easily accessible Stockton Creek Preserve.
“These construction projects will make Yosemite a much more enjoyable place for visitors after their completion, so in the meantime we encourage visitors to take advantage of our beautiful county’s hiking trails, museums, restaurants and river sports,” Farrington said. “There’s a good chance you’ll find a few new favorite places for your next summer vacation.”
About Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau
Located about 200 miles east of San Francisco and 300 miles north of Los Angeles, the region is a must-see for any California itinerary. Alive with possibility, it’s a world-class destination for all seasons that inspires curiosity and refreshes the soul. Yosemite Mariposa County is the ideal destination for visitors looking for outdoor adventure, family fun or a place to unplug and get away from it all. For more information, visit www.yosemite.com or follow us at @YosemiteNation on Instagram and Facebook.
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