Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park embraces almost 1,200 square miles of scenic wild lands set aside in 1890 to preserve a portion of the central Sierra Nevada that stretches along California's eastern flank. The park ranges from 2,000 feet above sea level to more than 13,000 feet and has these major attractions; alpine wilderness, three groves of Giant Sequoias and the glacially carved Yosemite Valley with impressive waterfalls, cliffs and unusual rock formations.

Visitation: Highest in June, July and August; lowest in December, January and February.

Location: Yosemite, CA

Address / Headquarters: Yosemite National Park P.O. Box 577 Yosemite, CA 95389

Telephone:  (209) 372-0200

Operating Hours, Seasons:  Open 24 hours a day, year-round.

Climate, Recommended Clothing: Weather can change rapidly during all seasons of the year. Elevation plays a major role in temperature and precipitation. Most of the moisture comes in the months of January, February and March, and the winter climate is relatively mild. Sierra summers are typically warm and dry. April and November are transitional months, when warm, sunny days can suddenly become stormy. Clouds can build up during the summer to produce spectacular thunderstorm activity.

It is wise to pack for any season with clothing that can be "layered", ready to peel off or add on as the thermometer dictates. Always include some kind of rain gear.

Driving Directions: There are four entrances to the park: the Arch Rock entrance on Highway 140 west from Merced through Mariposa, Mid Pines and along the Merced River, the south entrance on Highway 41 north from Fresno, the Big Oak Flat entrance on Highway 120 west from Modesto and Manteca, and the Tioga Pass entrance on Highway 120 east from Lee Vining and Highway 395. The Tioga Pass entrance is closed from the first major snowstorm in November until approximately early June due to snow. The roads entering the park on its west side are kept open all year, but may require tire chains because of snow anytime between November and April.


To Park: Access by State Highways 140, 41, 120, and 395. Several airlines serve Fresno Air Terminal and United Express serves the Merced airport. Motor coach transportation (YARTS) is available year- round from Merced Amtrak station and Transportation Center to Yosemite Valley. The round-trip fare from Merced to Yosemite is a bargain at $20.00. The senior round-trip fare is $14.00. The round-trip fare includes the entrance fee into the park. Click here to visit the YARTS' Web site.

In Park: Personal vehicle, bicycle, tour bus. Free shuttle bus service in the eastern end of Yosemite Valley (year-round), between Wawona and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and from Tuolumne Meadows to Tenaya Lake (summer only).

Fees, Costs, Rates: Cost for entry is $20.00 per private, non-commercial vehicle for a seven-day stay. There is an annual Yosemite Park Pass available for $40.00, good for unlimited visits to Yosemite for one year.

Visitor Center/Exhibits: There are four visitor centers in Yosemite National Park. The Valley Visitor Center, located in Yosemite Valley is the largest and most comprehensive in terms of displays, books, postcards and maps. The Big Oak Flat Information Station, Wawona Information Station and Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center are open on a more limited basis.

Trails, Roads: One-hundred and ninety-six miles of paved roads within the park, 840 miles of trails. Eight-miles of paved bike path in Yosemite Valley.

Programs/Activities: Regularly scheduled ranger-led walks, talks and evening programs. Concessioner-operated bus tours, guided horseback rides and bicycle rentals.

Lodging in Yosemite: Lodging in the park is operated by the Yosemite Concession Services Corporation. Rates range from $59.00 per night for a basic tent cabin at Camp Curry with nearby bathroom; $110.00 for a standard room at Yosemite Lodge, to $357.00 for a room or cabin at The Ahwahnee Hotel. Reservations can be made up to one year and one day in advance online at www.yosemitepark.com, by calling (559) 252-4848, or by writing to Central Reservations, 5410 East Home, Fresno, CA 93727.

Camping in Yosemite: Campgrounds in Yosemite are operated by the National Park Service. Some can be reserved up to five months in advance by calling Destinet at 1-800-436-7275. Visitors making reservations from a foreign country should call (619) 452-8787. All other campgrounds are operated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Lodging and Camping Outside Yosemite: A variety of hotels, motels and campgrounds are available in the communities and areas outside of the park. Yosemite Area Traveller Information on line.

Dining in Yosemite: The Ahwahnee Dining Room features breakfast, lunch and dinner. Luncheons begin at approximately $8.95. Dinners are more formal and require a coat and tie for men. The Dining room has a 34-foot high ceiling with large sugar pine trestles, and ceiling high windows. Camp Curry has the Curry Village Pavillion that features a buffet breakfast and dinner. Yosemite Lodge has The Dining Court that offers Italian specialties; hamburgers, and/or baked chicken/tri-tip. Prices range from $4.50 to $8.50. The Mountain Room at Yosemite Lodge features steak entrees. Yosemite Village provides a variety of choices, including pizza, sandwiches and salads.

Food/supplies: Groceries are available in the park at Yosemite Village and in surrounding communities.

Other Concessions/NPS-Managed Visitor Facilities and Opportunities: The Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Valley. Yosemite Bookstore located at the Valley Visitor Center operated by the Yosemite Association.

Accessibility: The park's major sites can be viewed by automobile. Some trails and facilities are wheelchair accessible.

Recommended Activities/ParkUse: Viewing waterfalls and well-known rock features in Yosemite Valley; visit to Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and historic Wawona area; drive or hike to Glacier Point, an overlook with a commanding view of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome and the High Sierra; drive to Tuolumne Meadows along Tioga Road and take a hike - numerous trailheads available. A visit to Yosemite must include an easy ten minute walk from the Lower Yosemite Fall shuttle bus stop (across the street from Yosemite Lodge) to the bridge at the bottom of Yosemite Fall.

Reservations/Permits: Wilderness permits are required for any overnight travel into the park's back country. Call (209) 372-0310 for information on permits and reservations. Permits are required for commercial filming, weddings and other special activities through the Special Use Permit Office at (209) 379-1850.

Basic Visit Recommendations: Stay for a minimum of four hours to tour Yosemite Valley; will require at least two days for visit to all sites and areas in the park.

Special Events, Programs: Activities are available year-round.

Visitor Impacts: To prevent congestion and overcrowding, automobile access may be temporarily restricted in Yosemite on spring weekends and busy holiday weekends such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. If restrictions are necessary, they are expected to be in effect from mid-morning to early evening, depending on available day-use parking space and traffic congestion.

Adjacent Visitor Attractions: Contact local chambers of commerce and visitor bureaus.

Additional Information: Write Public Information Office, Yosemite National Park, P.O. Box 577, Yosemite, CA 95389 or call (209) 372-0265, Monday through Friday (except holidays) from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.