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What To Expect In Yosemite This Holiday Weekend

YOSEMITE – Yosemite National Park anticipates an extremely busy Memorial Day weekend, so plan to arrive before 9 a.m. or after 4 p.m. to avoid the heaviest traffic.

Once in the park, visitors are urged to park their vehicles at the Yosemite Village, Yosemite Falls, or Half Dome Village parking areas and enjoy Yosemite Valley by using the free shuttle bus service, bike paths and hiking trails. Parking in Yosemite Valley is limited and parking is expected to fill early.

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

Tioga Road through Yosemite National Park is open for the season. Tioga Road may temporarily close at any time due to inclement weather. Services along Tioga Road are limited and commercial facilities are not yet open for the season.

Hikers and backpackers are encouraged to plan for cool and wet hiking conditions above 8,000 feet. The El Portal Road, the Wawona Road, and Big Oak Flat Road are open to all vehicular traffic to Yosemite Valley.

During the very busy summer season, it’s best to:

  • Plan trips during the mid-week – Yosemite Valley is most popular on weekends and holidays, which can mean traffic congestion. Fewer visitors arrive Monday through Friday.
  • Arrive before 9 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 (the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System) – YARTS buses pick up passengers at multiple locations along Highway 140 (from Merced), 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 or simply walk, to enjoy many of park’s most famous sites and destinations. For schedules and more information, please visit www.yarts.com.
  • 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, Wawona, and the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway.

Other general tips on visiting Yosemite include:

Hiking is a great way to explore the wonders of Yosemite National Park. All day hikers and backpackers should be aware that spring weather can be unpredictable and change without warming. Visitors are encouraged to plan ahead and bring the necessary gear to have a safe and enjoyable trip.

Backpacking is a great way to experience the Yosemite wilderness. Overnight use permits are available through the Yosemite National Park Wilderness Center. For more information, visit http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildpermits.htm.

Annual spring runoff from snow melt has contributed to cold and swift-moving water in all of the rivers, lakes, and streams inside Yosemite and in the surrounding areas. Visitors are reminded to take special precautions around water, especially around stream-crossings. Even the best swimmers can find themselves in a difficult situation under the current water conditions. Most people who end up in the water do not intend to go swimming. It is easy to slip and fall when walking close to the edge of a river or stream.

When driving in the park, motorists are urged to follow the speed limits and slow down, as bears and other animals are active and may be present on the roadway.

For updated 24-hour road and weather conditions for Yosemite National Park, please call 209-372-0200, press 1 and press 1 again.

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Sierra News Online

Sierra News Online