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How To Get In And Experience The Park This Summer
Blog How to Get in & Experience Yosemite this Summer
Brooke | 04/14/2022 | Airports & Airplane Tours, Attractions, Car & RV Rentals, Horseback Riding, Nature, Photography, Seasons, Tours, Tours, Transportation, Waterfalls, Wildlife |   

How to Get in & Experience Yosemite this Summer

Looking to visit Yosemite National Park this summer? Like recent years, you will again need a reservation to enter the park starting late May through the end of September (May 20 is the start date this year). One important and beneficial change, this applies only to entry during peak hours, which the park defines as between 6 am and 4 pm.  

Visitors who want to enter the park during Peak Hours will have to have one of the following: "in-park" lodging or camping reservations, a wilderness permit for backpacking, a tour reservation, or finally - a new Peak-Hours Reservation.

Why is Yosemite limiting visitation again this year? The park will have several key visitor attractions closed for critical infrastructure repairs this year (Glacier Point Road and Bridalveil Falls just to name two) and the use of the temporary reservation system is planned to "help manage congestion and provide a quality visitor experience" while this is all going on. 

Reservations are required for entering the park between May 20 through September 30, 2022, during the Peak-Hours of 6am - 4pm. 

Yosemite Peak-Hours Reservations with Dont worry message

During this period even visitors who desire to drive through the park, without stopping, will be required to have a reservation if their travel is during peak-hours.

On the flip side of all this: if you enter the park anytime after 4pm and before 6am, you do not need a reservation.

So How Do I Get a Reservation?

You can only get Peak-Hours reservations through Recreation.gov. You can either go to the website at www.recreation.gov/timed-entry/1008674, or call them at (877) 444-6777. 


You can make those reservations at two different times:

  • On March 23 for all arrival dates (May 20–September 30). 70% of all available reservations will be released on this date.
  • Seven (7) days in advance of planned arrival (e.g., make a reservation for an arrival date of August 30 on August 23). This is the remaining 30% held on reserve from the initial March 23 release.


Be sure to have a recreation.gov account created, be logged in, and ready to get your reservation promptly at 8am Pacific Time as tickets can, and regularly do, sell out quickly.  


A peak-hours reservation costs $2 and is non-refundable (this is over and above the park entrance fee). You need one only reservation per vehicle and it is valid for everyone inside the vehicle. 

For other frequently asked questions go to: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/faq.htm


If you don't get a reservation on March 23 - don't worry! You can:

  • The Park is open 24 hours a day - so you enter the park during non-peak hours (after 4pm and before 6am)
  • Take a guided tour, specialty tour, or enter via public transportation (click here to jump down to see more information about these options)
  • Get one of the 30% of reservations that the Park is holding in reserve. These passes will become available at 8am daily, on Recreation.gov, 7 days out from your planned visitation date.

What’s Open?

For those that enter, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that Yosemite is largely open including its over 800 miles (yes, 800) of trails. This will include popular destinations like Yosemite Valley as well as some that are little less frequented like Hetch Hetchy (which you don't need day-use reservations to see this again summer). While much is open this year, there are areas that will be closed such as, Glacier Point Road and Bridalveil Fall trail and viewing area (closed for the Bridalveil Fall Rehabilitation Project). The trails from Yosemite Valley up to Glacier Point will still be open (e.g. Four Mile, Pohono, and Panorama Trails) weather permitting as there will still be access by foot but please note - there will be no public transportation to or from Glacier Point in 2022. You must be prepared for a long round-trip hike with a lot of elevation gain involved.

Additionally, beginning in late spring, descending the Mist Trail steps from the top of Vernal Fall is prohibited from 9 am to 4 pm. To return to the trailhead, continue hiking uphill to Clark Point (500 feet additional elevation gain), then down the John Muir Trail. The trail from the top of Vernal Fall to Clark Point is a steep uphill climb and has no shade. 

The Mariposa Grove Shuttle is currently out of service for the season (it is expected to be back in service for the 2022 summer season). Visitors have the option of hiking or biking Mariposa Grove Road or hiking the Washburn Trail (the trailhead is at the eastern end of the Welcome Plaza parking lot).  You can also take a horseback ride in with either your own horses or via guided experience with Yosemite Trails Horseback Adventures (their operational season begins in May).  The Grove starts about 2 miles from the Welcome Plaza at the south gate. 

The Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza will have flush toilets and drinking water. The Mariposa Grove Arrival Area will have portable toilets and no drinking water (the new bathroom structure was a casualty of the storm). Other changes include the closure of the main trail to the Grizzly Giant, but hikers can use the service road to reach the Grizzly Giant. While all other trails are open, hikers may encounter downed trees.
Bicycles and vehicles displaying a disability placard can drive on the Mariposa Grove Road to the Arrival Area. No vehicles will be allowed beyond the arrival area.

Click HERE for more Mariposa Grove information including which facilities are available.  

Learn more about current park operations

Giant Sequoias standout among the other trees in the Mariposa Grove

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia

What If You Can’t Get A Reservation?

Fortunately, if despite your best efforts you couldn’t get a reservation spot, and you really want to enter the park during peak-hours, you can gain access by reaching out to one of the following approved public, private, and specialty tours.

For those wanting to see this national treasure from a local’s perspective to get the perfect “shot” these daily guided tours are worth it. Yosemite and the surrounding region are packed with an abundance of riches, from their many sights and interesting history much of which you may miss especially on a first visit. It's pretty safe to say that you will experience Yosemite in no better way than with any of these tours!

Crossroads Tours

Discover Yosemite Tours

Incredible Adventures, Inc.

AirBORRN Aviation/Yosemite Airways Scenic ToursAnother great option is to combine a bucket list item alongside seeing the grandeur of John Muir’s public lands. See the iconic granite walls of Yosemite Valley via an airplane tour. Get up close and personal with these mighty cliffs by going rock-climbing. Grab a paddle and test your mettle on the mighty Merced River via whitewater rafting. Explore trails Yosemite's Mariposa Grove by horseback. The options for adventures are endless.

AirBORRN Aviation (Yosemite Airways Scenic Tours)

Ansel Adams Gallery (Workshops)

Lasting Adventures (Summer Camps & Backpacking Adventures)

Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides (Outdoor Adventures)

Yosemite Conservancy (Workshops & Adventures)

Yosemite Rivers Fly Shop | Sierra Fly Fisher Guide Service (Gear and Guide Services) 

Yosemite Trails Horseback Adventures (Horseback tours)


Last but not the least, you can gain access by taking public transit. Yosemite Area Rapid Transit System (YARTS) provides hassle-free service to all four of Yosemite's gateways. Schedules and routes for each vary.  Currently three buses provide daily service through the Southern Gateway with the Fresno Airport and the Yosemite Valley Visitor's Center as end points. Route information can be found here. Riding the bus is a three-fold win; no Day-Use Pass/Reservation is required, your entry fee is included in the fair, and you can sit back and just enjoy the ride!


If your origin point is further away, hopping on a train might just be the ticket. The Amtrak San Joaquins train provides service to Yosemite via partner connections with YARTS. There are two connection points, Merced to the West of the park and Fresno to the South. Head to the Amtrak San Joaquins website for more information or give them a call at (800) 872-7245. 

We hope this guide provides you a bit of guidance on how you can enjoy Yosemite National Park with or without reservations.

Recreate Responsibly

#RecreateResponsibly

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Like what you see? Save any (or all) of these pins to your travel planning board(s) to give you any easy way to find your way back here!  Also check out our other itineraries as well as blog posts for more ideas and pins!

Our annual Visit Yosemite | Madera County Visitors Guide can answer all your questions about visiting California's Gateway to Yosemite. From the park itself to the museums, wineries, art galleries and more throughout Madera County, our guide can help you plan the perfect vacation. Please note that we mail to the USA only, but anyone can download the guide.
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