Yosemite Park Expecting High Visitation Memorial Weekend

A swimmer takes in one of Tuolumne River's many waterfalls in Yosemite National Park last summer along the trail to Glen Aulin from Tuolumne Meadows trailhead. Photo/Wendilyn Grasseschi
Staff Writer

Yosemite National Park Expecting Extremely Busy Memorial Day Weekend
Visitors are urged to avoid arriving at park mid-day, due to anticipated high visitation

Yosemite National Park anticipates an extremely busy Memorial Day weekend. Its been a very busy year so far and the park expects high visitation, especially from Friday afternoon until Sunday. Visitors are strongly urged to avoid arriving at the park during the peak hours of 10:00 a.m.to 2:00 p.m. Arriving early in the day or late in the afternoon are the best ways to enjoy the park. Once in the park, visitors are urged to park their vehicles, and enjoy the park utilizing the free shuttle bus service, bike paths, and hiking trails.

All campgrounds on the reservation system are completely sold out for the weekend. The limited number of first-come, first-served campgrounds are anticipated to fill by Friday afternoon. There are a large number of campground and lodging options in the gateway communities surrounding the park.

Additionally, the park is expecting a very busy summer season. Below are some tips to enjoy the park during the busy summer season.

Plan trips during the mid-week - Yosemite Valley is most popular on a weekends and holidays which can mean traffic congestion. Fewer visitors arrive Monday through Friday.

Arrive before 10:00 a.m. Most vehicle congestion occurs during the middle of the day. If you can’t arrive early, try after 4 p.m.

Take YARTS- YARTS is the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (www.yarts.com). YARTS picks up passengers at multiple locations along Highway 140 (from Merced) and along Highway 120 (from Sonora and Mammoth Lakes), and along Highway 41 (beginning in Fresno). YARTS buses provide multiple drop-off locations throughout the park and in Yosemite Valley. Once visitors are in Yosemite Valley, they can enjoy the free shuttle throughout the valley, utilize the bike rentals, or simply walk, to enjoy many of park’s most famous sites and destinations.

Visit the Yosemite Region - There is a lot to explore. Groveland, Mariposa, Mono County, and Oakhurst all provide great lodging and visitor services that augment the Yosemite Regional experience. Yosemite National Park Rangers join visitor bureau staff in these gateway communities to answer questions and provide advice and latest roadway information for Yosemite bound visitors.

Explore lesser known areas of Yosemite - Yosemite National Park is a big park with a lot of offer. Consider visiting other areas outside of Yosemite Valley that are just a beautiful. Visitors can explore such areas as Hetch Hetchy, Tuolumne Grove, Merced Grove, Tuolumne Meadows, and Wawona.

Other general tips on visiting Yosemite include:
If you want to camp, arrive early. Most campgrounds in Yosemite Valley during the summer are filled via the reservation permit system. There are, however, a very limited number of first-come, first-served campsites available throughout the park and visitors should arrive early if they would like to get campsite in these locations.

All trails within Yosemite are open. During the busy summer season, hikers are urged to pick trails outside of Yosemite Valley and explore lesser known parts of the park. Additionally, hikers should be aware that spring weather can be unpredictable and change without warming. Visitors are also urged to take special precaution around water, both lakes and stream-crossings.

All roads, including the Glacier Point Road and the Tioga Road, are open for the season (there may be intermittent closures due to weather and road conditions- 24 hour status available by calling (209)372-0200). Campgrounds and services along the Tioga corridor will be opening in the coming weeks. Visitors traveling on these roads are urged to do so early in the morning or late in the evening when peak traffic has diminished. The Mariposa Grove Road leading to the giant sequoias is open for the season. However, the parking-lot normally fills in the morning hours and visitors should plan to take a free shuttle bus from Wawona.
Additionally, when in the park visitors are urged to drive slowly as animals are active and may be present on the roadway.

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