Yosemite’s New Reservation System Begins this Weekend. Here’s Everything You Need to Know.

In a bid to manage overwhelming crowds and traffic congestion, Yosemite National Park is set to implement a day-use reservation system starting this Saturday. This initiative, joining a handful of other national parks, aims to enhance visitor experience while preserving the park’s natural resources.

The decision comes after a surge in visitors last summer resulted in extensive traffic jams, illegal parking, and overwhelmed facilities. Responding to public concerns, Yosemite officials are piloting the reservation system for the next six months, commencing April 13.

During the trial period, day-use reservations will be mandatory for visitors driving into the park on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m. until June 30. Subsequently, from July 1 to August 16, reservations will be required daily during the same hours. The requirement will resume for weekends and holidays from August 17 to October 27.

Reservations can be made for either a full day or half-day, with arrivals at noon or later, and are valid for up to three consecutive days. While the park entrance fee remains $35 per vehicle, an additional $2 service fee applies for reservations.

As per Yosemite officials, reservations will not be available at entrance stations. Visitors are urged to book in advance through Recreation.gov or by calling (877) 444-6777. Same-day reservations are not offered, emphasizing the importance of planning ahead.

However, guests with in-park lodging or camping reservations, Half Dome permits, or wilderness permits are exempt from the day-use reservation requirement, although the entrance fee still applies.

To navigate around the rules, visitors can arrive before 5 a.m. or after 4 p.m. Vehicles entering during these off-peak hours are not subject to the reservation mandate. Moreover, alternative modes of entry, such as YARTS buses, bicycles, or on foot, do not require reservations.

While the reservation system is currently temporary, its future hinges on a broader visitor access management plan under development. Public input will be solicited through public hearings this summer, with a draft plan anticipated next year.

For further details and updates, visitors can consult Yosemite National Park’s website at www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/reservations.htm.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California

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