Yosemite National Park is known to be one of the most visited parks in the United States, with averages hovering around 4 to 5.2 million annual visitors. During the Covid-19 quarantine, the park reopened with half capacity to the amount of visitors allowed at once, creating one of the most unique situations the park has seen in decades.
As of November 1, Yosemite’s day use permit requirement has come to an end, allowing visitors to come and go as they please. With park official prepare for the winter season and the closing of many high elevation destinations known to receive snow, Yosemite may see an influx of visitors the likes of which hasn’t been experienced during 2020.
Visiting Yosemite over the summer months requires a day pass, one that was particularly difficult to obtain with the park at 50 percent capacity. Visitors were being turned down at the gates frequently because they didn’t know the rules. With day pass regulations gone for the season, those people will now be able to easily access the sprawling National Park.
With the beautiful fall season in full effect in the park, visitors can come see the foliage in rare form, and they may come in droves.
“There is a great shoulder season in Yosemite before and after the summer that is worth considering for visitors, especially now that they are not trying to get an elusive day pass,” said Graham Ottley, general manager and senior guide at Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides, to NPR.
If you want to see Yosemite in 2020, now’s the time. The upcoming winter season will significantly limit operations in the park and close many of the great destinations you’re probably hoping to see. But if you go, prepare for some crowds.