Yosemite National Park Ends Temporary Reservation System

Photo: Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau

Vehicle reservations will no longer be required to enter Yosemite as of Monday, March 1st. The temporary reservation system was implemented in response to concerns surrounding public health from the COVID-19 virus. The annual “Natural Firefall” at Horsetail Fall often creates shoulder-to-shoulder conditions in viewing areas that could potentially create a super-spreader event.

The Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau expects March visitation to return to normal or somewhat higher levels over prior years due to pent-up interest in visiting the park. Please safely enjoy the park by following guidelines for travel during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Wear a facemask wherever needed or required.
  • Avoid locations in the Park that typically attract large groups such as Tunnel View or popular trailheads.
  • Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer regularly.
  • Be prepared for limited services, bring food, water, warm clothes, carry tire chains and fill your gas tank before entering the park. Always follow strict requirements for proper food storage to keep animals (bears!) as well as humans safe.
  • Do not put yourself at risk when visiting the Park, so that first responders do not have to put themselves at risk helping you.

Earlier this month, Park Superintendent Cicely Muldoon informed Mariposa County Supervisors “We (Yosemite) started our second phase reservation system on Monday (February 8) … We expect it will be in place until the end of the month. We expect to be able to lift it then, unless there is some terrible development in COVID based on ICU capacity …” 

The National Park Service has not released an official statement on this issue, however all other communications have indicated the expiration of the reservation system. Official comments on the NPS Yosemite Facebook page have acknowledging the reservations systems would end March 1st. The San Joaquin Region’s ICU capacity has also improved during the month of February. Additionally, no reservations have been released on Recreation.gov for the month of March.

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