YOSEMITE — Yosemite National Park anticipates a very busy Fourth of July weekend and visitors are urged to arrive at the park very early to avoid potential traffic congestion and difficulties with parking.
Visitors should plan on arriving at the park entrances by 9 a.m. each day. Parking in Yosemite Valley is expected to be especially challenging and visitors should plan accordingly.
Based on past holiday weekends, visitors arriving during peak hours have been delayed for up to two hours in east Yosemite Valley. The park has added approximately 300 new parking spaces west of Yosemite Lodge. However, delays are still expected during the peak times.
Park visitors are also encouraged to utilize the free shuttle bus in Yosemite Valley. The shuttle bus route has recently been expanded and takes visitors to places such as El Capitan Meadow and Bridalveil Fall. The buses are able to utilize a HOV transit lane in order to efficiently shuttle visitors to popular park destinations.
Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) is also a great way to get to the park. YARTS brings in visitors from Highways 120 West, 120 East, 41, and 140 corridors. Once in Yosemite Valley, visitors have a seamless transition to the park shuttle buses. For a schedule of routes and times, please consult their website, www.yarts.com
Visitors are also urged to explore other areas within the Yosemite region. There are many areas of natural beauty and cultural significance surrounding the park. A variety of attractions in and around gateway communities such as Mariposa, Oakhurst, Sonora, lee Vining, and Mammoth Lakes offer great hiking and sightseeing opportunities.
Fireworks are strictly prohibited in the park. Additionally, with the ongoing drought, conditions are extremely dry and visitors are asked to avoid campfires unless absolutely necessary.
Visitors should also be mindful of the expected warm temperatures this weekend. They should drink plenty of fluids, avoid strenuous activity in the middle of the day, and be careful of overexertion. Watch for signs of heat stress and do not leave pets or children unattended in vehicles.
All campgrounds within Yosemite National Park on the reservation system are sold out through the Fourth of July weekend. There are a very limited number of first-come, first-served campsites within the park and those are expected to fill early. For 24 hour road and weather information, call 209-372-0200.
Yosemite National Park celebrated its 125th Anniversary last year and is currently celebrating its Centennial Anniversary with the National Park Service. The park welcomes over four million visitors from all over the world each year and serves as a strong economic engine for the region and local communities. Yosemite National Park generates $535 million in economic benefit to the local region and directly supports 6,261 jobs. The park is home to Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in North America, and iconic rock formations such as Half Dome and El Capitan. The park also features approximately 90 different species of mammals and over 1500 species of plants.