Ahwahnee Hotel driving directions during Yosemite Valley traffic circulation re-routing

road map of Yosemite National park area


This page had directions for mid-May through mid-October (most years, during the Yosemite Valley Circulation Pilot).

In the meanwhile, the roads have been remodeled and the new routes will be in place all year.

They are, in some areas, quite different than previously and people could find themselves taking a wrong route in the valley

that could add at least a half-hour to their travel time.


see the new route at:
driving directions to the Ahwahnee Hotel, Yosemite National Park















I am leaving this for future reference, BUT PLEASE DO NOT USE THESE DIRECTIONS!

May 10, 2023, this was announced in the Yosemite Daily Report:

“Transportation System Improvements in East Yosemite Valley

Visitors and employees should anticipate construction activity between mid-May 15 and mid-November 2023. Please drive carefully and watch for laborers and equipment in roadways. Project components include:

Installation of barricades, delineators, and signs to establish a one-way circulation pattern on the Valley Loop.
Modifications and removal of stop signs at four intersections to promote continuous vehicular traffic flow.
A temporary closure of Sentinel Drive for the construction of a continuous, raised center median.
Striping and construction of pedestrian pathways in parking areas for the Yosemite Valley Welcome Center and Village Store. . .”

The “continuous, raised center median” is in place on Sentinel Drive and anyone turning left on to it from Southside Drive will find themselves heading toward Yosemite Valley Lodge, not the Ahwahnee as they might have been previously used to.

and note what it says at:

“Any time spring through fall, one- to four-hour delays are possible at entrance stations. It’s best to arrive by 8 am or in the afternoon to avoid delays.”

when Yosemite valley parking lots get full during summer 2023, incoming traffic will be redirected:

Once you are in Yosemite Valley, directions to get to the Ahwahnee hotel from any/all roads/entrances to Yosemite Valley are after these next notes at this page about

things to do before you leave,

gas availability

and the park entrance fees.

a strip of Yosemite granite


Possible delays due to road work or completely closed roads are at: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/roadwork.htm “Work is subject to change due to traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and/or materials, and/or construction-related issues. Please drive carefully and watch for warning signs, workers and equipment in the roadway.”

man standing in front of road closed barrier

The National Weather Service has a map of predicted fog severity at:

https://www.weather.gov/hnx/HNXFogSI.html This below is not the current one, but just an example and the one at the webpage is much easier to read:

NWS map of central California with potential severity of fog density

Just before you leave, call 1 800 427-7623. It is voice activated, so say 140 or 580/205/120 or whatever highway number for road conditions, detours, etc. The Yosemite road and weather phone message is 1 (209) 372-0200.


CALL the road info number before you leave town, and perhaps again during your drive!

Besides rock slide closures, hazardous tree removal or road paving may be planned along your route.

Below rockfall during a January storm:

huge chucks of rock on roadway

The Park service has noted: “drivers are reminded of the greater likelihood of encountering rock debris on park roads during wet weather. Although rockfalls are always possible along all park roadways, they tend to happen more often during winter storms. . .
If you encounter small rock debris on the road, drive through the area (do not stop within the debris) and promptly report it to Park Dispatch. Do not attempt to remove the debris yourself – leave that task to road crews equipped to do so safely. If you encounter large rock debris on the road, turn around and promptly report it to Park Dispatch.”

Having a at least half full gas tank gives you a better opportunity to turn around and take another route if you do not find out about a road closure before you leave town or if it becomes closed when you are already on your way to the park.


long crack in pavement on highway

When Big Oak Flat Road in Yosemite National Park was closed in May 2023,
“the road has a crack that is about 200 feet long and up to four feet deep. The road surface has moved two to three inches vertically and horizontally and is continuing to move. The embankment below the road has moved as much as 15 feet downslope and has significant water flow through it. It is not safe to open the road even to limited traffic, and doing so would likely lead to additional road failure.”

And after some repairs, the road had three single-lane sections controlled by traffic lights.

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(Rarely) there can be enough snowfall in one storm to close all roads into Yosemite Valley and it can take days to clear the roads, below an entrance station:

snow covered entrance station, road not plowed

row of rocks carved into brick shapes

The closest gas stations to the Ahwahnee are in El Portal just outside the park ( 15 miles – 30 minutes from the hotel) or within the park at Crane Flat (16 miles – 30 minutes from Yosemite valley) or Wawona (28 miles – about an hour from Yosemite Valley), each 24 hours with credit or debit card at the pump, IF the pumps are functioning.
(Rarely the gas pumps are not available, for example during a Planned PG&E Power Outage, or when they are doing an Air Pollution Control Test, or when Mariposa County inspects the fuel tanks a downtime of 2 or 3 or 4 hours can be expected and when Fuel bank systems are being upgraded stations will not be open for business on the day of installation. When repairs are needed, downtime can be days “pending the arrival of replacement parts,” or they might be, for example, “currently out of 87 octane gasoline. 91 octane and diesel are both still available. We are expecting a delivery tomorrow and the gas pumps should resume normal operation.”)

There are no gas stations in Yosemite valley. If you run out of gas or almost run out of gas in Yosemite valley, and would not be able to get to the nearby-but-not-close gas stations listed above, the garage usually has 5 gallon containers of gas to sell AAA / CSAA members.

The Yosemite garage can handle most minor emergency repairs such as battery charge, radiators, water pumps, brakes and tire repairs, (IF they happen to have a needed part in stock, otherwise they will have to order it or you will need to look for help elsewhere, which could include expensive towing out of the park, so people are advised to check everything that powers, stops, cools, heats, ventilates and lights their vehicle before they leave on an adventure. Check the windshield wipers, defroster, exhaust system, antifreeze level and tire pressure. Perhaps consult Prepare for winter driving which has has a link to bad weather driving tips, tips for using tire chains, tricks for dealing with frozen car locks, how to prepare your vehicle for winter driving, how to de-fog the windows, a winter survival kit for your car and what to do if you get stranded. Don’t have tire chains? Yosemite requires them in the winter (and even in the spring or fall). Try: Snow chain rentals and see: Safe driving in rain and fog.

You might want at least a half full tank of gas as often as possible should you need to change routes, idle, drive slowly or turn back.

–In the winter, keep at least a half-full gas tank (to prevent gas line freezeup). Why? Any space above the gas in the tank has moist air in it. In the cold, especially overnight, that can condense into water. The water will sink to the bottom of the tank and if enough builds up it can end up going to your fuel line and cause hard starting or even block the fuel line completely.

This warning from Canada can apply to any long-distance drive: “Visitors to large cities and popular tourist destinations should be aware that parked cars are regularly targeted for opportunistic smash-and-grab thefts, and they are cautioned to avoid leaving any unattended possessions in a vehicle, even in the trunk. Due to the high incidence of such crimes, motorists in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and some other jurisdictions can be fined for leaving their car doors unlocked or for leaving valuables in view. Visitors should exercise precaution to safeguard their property.”

Another source mentioned smashed windows when car thieves target property left in plain sight
such as luggage, purses, electronics, laptops, tablets, and even expensive sunglasses.

sign that says please do not leave valuables in your car

stars, including part of the Milky Way

Yosemite Park entrance fees:

You will need to pay a park entrance fee. Effective June 2018 the Yosemite park entrance fee is $35 per vehicle or $20 per motorcycle.

A Yosemite annual park pass will cost $70.

A National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Interagency annual pass (starting in 2018) costs $80 for a year).

Or for a U.S. military member or dependent who has their ID Card (form 1173) can get a free national parks pass http://store.usgs.gov/pass/military.html

OR someone who is 62 or over to get a lifetime seniors pass for $80.

Park entrance fee details are at: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/fees.htm

(The passes can’t be transferred/shared, the pass holder needs to be in your vehicle and show a photo ID.)

cell phone shape says do not reply on your cell phoneYour cell phone will not function in a lot of Yosemite. During times that you need to have a reservation to enter the park, you would have wanted to print the reservation for your hotel (or campsite, etc.) stay and bring it with you, along with your photo ID, to show the ranger at the entrance station. https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/covid19.htm

carved wood ceiling beam

DIRECTIONS to get to the Ahwahnee hotel

All the signs, roadways, etc. shown below could change without notice, so take a look before you make any turns and read signs carefully.

In May 2021 and 2022 the drive to the Ahwahnee (and the Yosemite Lodge, etc.) changed again in major ways. Previously, once people were well into Yosemite valley, they used to turn left on Sentinel Drive and go to the round-about and on to the hotel, but that road was made one way in the opposite direction, and if you make the mistake of driving the route you are used to, it will add an extra half hour (if there is little traffic) to your drive. Especially if this does not sound familiar, or if you are making your first trip the Ahwahnee, read on for all the details and maps.

along with the directions at this webpage.

The park said: “please pay attention to sign modifications, barricades and pavement markings on Southside Drive, Sentinel Drive, and Northside Drive.

“What is the 2022 Yosemite Valley Circulation Pilot and how long will it last?

This pilot, a continuation of the 2021 pilot, will test how well potential changes to roads and intersections relieve traffic congestion in Yosemite Valley.

This pilot will be in place from mid-May through mid-October and includes:

Converting Northside Drive to one-way westbound from the Yosemite Village parking area to Yosemite Valley Lodge, so that both travel lanes may be used to exit Yosemite Valley.
Changing the four-way intersection near Curry Village to a three-way intersection without stop signs
Removing stop signs and reconfiguring the two Sentinel Drive intersections at Northside and Southside Drives

Switching the direction of traffic flow on Sentinel Drive, so that vehicles drive on the opposite side of the road and turn at intersections without waiting for cross-traffic or crossing a travel lane.”

This map is at that webpage. You will note that Northside drive is now ALL one way.

set of maps
Read on for details.


Sometimes one or more roads are closed suddenly due to a rock fall / mud slide that needs to be cleared. Roads that were two lanes in the same one-way direction can need to be designated as two-way. Watch for signage and please be assured that some drivers will not notice the changes, even with multiple signs. (There was a large sign with flashing lights at the beginning of this section of road designating this change and then four of these yellow double arrow signs alongside the road on both sides. We watched multiple vehicles drive in the wrong lane for part or all of this section of road.)

two way road sign with large arrows and car in wrong lane

thin line of various colors of rocks

map with roads above and below river

In the map above, after 120 and 140 meet in the valley, along the top road shown on the left, you cross the river on the Pohono bridge and the road becomes a giant one way loop from the west end of the valley to the east end (unless there has been a rockfall on part of it, or of the park is doing road repairs on the outgoing part of the loop, then it could be two-way). Just before the bridge, coming towards you from the left is Northside Drive (usually) one-way. Don’t be one of the people who does not see the signs telling them to not drive on Northside Drive.


After crossing the bridge, as you go along the next section you will catch glimpses of the river on your left:

river trees and edge of road


Along this upcoming section of road is a John Muir display many people look for in Yosemite, a sign at a turnout on southside drive where John Muir camped with Theodore Roosevelt. The park service wrote about their camping trip together: “Roosevelt had sent Muir a letter asking to meet him in Yosemite: “I want to drop politics absolutely for four days and just be out in the open with you.” At their meeting, Muir spoke of environmental degradation, like development, and asked for another layer of protection as a national park to improve management. Muir convinced both Roosevelt and California Governor George Pardee, on that excursion, to recede the state grant and make the Valley and the Mariposa Grove part of Yosemite National Park.” This was the start of Yosemite National Park.

This signsign at Roosevelt turnout in Yosemite is at a turnout on the right hand side of Southside drive, 0.45 miles east of Pohono Bridge, where Southside Drive first comes away from the river.

map with river and roads

and see also how to find the location of John Muir’s cabin (hang nest) and sawmill in Yosemite Valley.


A little later, from the right, the road (highway 41) from Oakhurst/to Badger Pass “Wawona Road” on the map above, joins this route.

Taking a brief stop on the Wawona road if it is your route, (or taking a side trip up the Wawona Road if you took 120 or 140) to Tunnel View (see pictures below) can be quite worthwhile especially if you are coming into the park in daylight.

road map with Merced river

people at edge of a parking lot with view beyond

NPS photo of Tunnel View (the massive rock form on the left is El Capitan, in the background in the center is Half Dome, the waterfall on the right is Bridalveil Fall:

NPS photo of Yosemite valley including El Capitan, Half Dome, Bridalveil Fall and a mass of clouds

This view is worth stopping for even if you are running late and even if there is rain or snow falling. The Yosemite Fund (now called the Yosemite Conservancy) and the National Park Service funded a remodel in 2008 with educational exhibits, expanded handicap accessible viewing area and improved traffic flow. Thousands of people stop each day in the summer.

Google maps 360 degree street view at Tunnel View.

The red X below is where Tunnel View is:

simple map drawing


Webcam near Tunnel View located on a dome near the Wawona Tunnel:


More photos of the view from the parking lot at tunnel view:
photos below by Quang-Tuan Luong/terragalleria.com
, all rights reserved.

QT Luong Yosemite valley from tunnel winter snow: QT Luong valley from tunnel view winter fog: QT Luong Yosemite Valley from tunnel view: terragalleria Yosemite valley winter glorious pink sunset: terragalleria photo of Yosemite valley winter glorious pink sunset

thin line of various colors of rocks

Where all the routes into Yosemite Valley merge is at about the center of the map below, where the lower road labeled Wawona Road comes into the Yosemite Valley Southside Drive:

map with roads above and below river

0.25 miles east of the intersection of Southside Drive and Wawona Road there are long paved turnouts at Bridalveil Straight on both sides of the road with a view of El Capitan on the left

El Capitan and roadway

and Bridalveil Fall on the right, where a long trail to Bridalveil fall comes out to the road.


Watch out as you drive through here for people standing in the roadway to look at the view, get a picture, often not looking out for oncoming traffic:
people in road

aerial photo of road section with note that it is a heavily congested area
Bridalveil Straight is being redesigned and will eventually look like this, with tour bus parking and a better viewing area away from traffic:

simple map


In the summer this section of road can have a bus/emergency vehicle lane in place and drivers of private vehicles must stay in the left lane. Signage is put up when this is in effect.

Follow signs that say “to all Valley Destinations” for about five miles. The river will be on the left side of the road, although you won’t be able to see it at times.

You’ll go past a few turnoffs to picnic areas. There will be a stretch of road with meadows on both sides and a row of parking on the left where you can stop and see Yosemite Falls on the left, or Half Dome a bit farther on the right.

Here is one of the boardwalks next to the parking, across the meadow (picture taken in May):

waterfall in background, people walking on wooden boardwalk in foreground

In the NPS photo below of flooded Sentinel Meadow taken May 16, 2005, you can just make out the sunken edge of the boardwalk across the meadow between the two posts on the fence and can just see Yosemite Falls thru the low clouds in the background. Next to it is the same place in June, 2005 and again in February 2008

flooded Sentinel meadow Yosemite May 16 2005 NPS photo: meadow Yosemite falls June 2005: Yosemite Falls and snowy meadow feb 4 2008:

The roadway described above is just beyond where the white right arrow in a black circle is on the lower road (a section of Southside Drive) in the lower left corner of the map below.

map with a few roads and features

Please note that the two-way road arrows on the NPS map above do not reflect the May 2021 and 2022 traffic rerouting.

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If you have a few extra minutes and can find parking on the left hand side of the road, a short walk takes you to a display about massive flooding when Yosemite valley has turned into a lake. At the end of the left hand side of Southside Drive long parking strip, directly across from the chapel, follow a path towards a pedestrian bridge over the river.

The section of a shuttle bus map below shows the chapel at the bottom right hand corner and a dotted red line showing the path to the bridge. The bridge is just below the letter “M” in the words Yosemite Lodge in the map below.

map showing bus stops, the Merced river, parts of roads and parts of trails

The bridge is in the upper left hand side of this photo:

road in foreground, path to bridge beyond the road

You can stand next to the display

metal sculpture with various years on itand see that the water flooding over the bridge in 1997 would have been up to the chin of many adults (had they been able to stand on the bridge at all).

A description of the flood display and more photos are at: Yosemite floods display on Superintendent’s Bridge. And find photos of a longer walk in the area at Cook’s Meadow.

thin line of various colors of rocks

Shortly past the Chapel on the right, you previously arrived at a stop sign before Sentinel bridge to the left across the river.

The right hand lane of the one way section of Southside Drive you are on continues as one way as it goes straight ahead towards the Pines Campgrounds and Curry Village (briefly named Half Dome Village) and/or a turn from there to the main visitor center / biggest grocery, garage, medical clinic and the Ahwahnee hotel.

The left hand lane goes over Sentinel Bridge. The Yosemite Valley traffic plan turns the left over Sentinel Bridge into a two-way road section connecting Northside and Southside drive, with traffic in opposites lanes than usual.

This is what the intersection looked like before the 2021 and 2022 traffic plans were set in place:

intersection with stop sign

We watched vehicles at this intersection for 20 minutes one summer day. One out of five drove right through the stop sign without slowing down. (Were they too irritated about slow traffic? Had no campsite reservation?) Only about one of five stopped fully behind the stop sign white line in the road before going forward. One turned left and must have not noticed the signage, or was just too irritated about slow traffic/in too big of a hurry, because he drove into an oncoming traffic lane and almost was hit by a car traveling in the proper lane over the bridge.

This could be even more problematic with the new traffic congestion fix at : https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/roadpilot.htm that will have people drive on the opposite side of the road as they go over Sentinel Bridge. Below is a map from the plan

map of a road intersection

At this point in this driving directions description, you will be coming in from the left hand side on the map above.

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Plan to be in the correct lane for your destination.

And watch out for people who are not sure of which lane to be in who have decided to suddenly change lanescar changing lane

In 2021, the park service put a row of pylons along the center line between the lanes (see photo above) to try to keep drivers from changing lanes at the last moment, but drivers did anyway, and have left the pylons the park service put in between the two lanes smashed

smashed pylons on road

and quite ineffective at keeping traffic in the lanes.

People going to the Yosemite Lodge, Yosemite Falls free day-use parking lot, and Camp 4 should be in the left lane, turn left and go over the bridge.

Here a view of the far side of Sentinel Bridge during the road re-construction (the new traffic plan includes “Switching the direction of traffic flow on Sentinel Drive, so that vehicles drive on the opposite side of the road”):

roadway with traffic reversed

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After sunset Sentinel bridge may have lots of photographers trying to get a picture of Half Dome with pink or gold color

photographers standing in snow on a bridge with Half Dome in their photo

and if the water is flat enough, the reflection in the Merced River, as in the NPS photo below:

NPS photo of Half Dome with a reflection in river,

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If you turn left over the bridge you drive a short section of roadway, then the road bears right and you find yourself at a “T” intersection, with a left hand turn your only choice.
(You will see the circle of Northside Drive that goes around the Yosemite Village day-use parking lot coming from the right.)

People going to the Yosemite Valley Lodge can find a map of the hotel buildings at https://www.travelyosemite.com/media/820990/yosemite-valley-lodge-property-map.pdf so they can look for the small registration parking lot in front of the lobby /front desk. People going to Camp 4 can find a map at Camp 4 (four) Map.

The entrance to the Lodge property you might be used to from before, on the left hand side just past the lower Yosemite Falls area is closed off.

simple map

The entrance to use now is further past the hotel buildings, on the left.

With the new traffic plan and changes from two-way to one-way roads in place, anyone who goes to the Lodge / Camp Four / Yosemite Falls day-use parking and then wants to come back into the east end of Yosemite Valley will either need to use the free shuttle (when it is operating), walk, ride a bike, or if they want to drive, go on Northside drive past the Lodge and down to El Capitan crossover and back up Southside Drive. The walk from the Lodge to the main visitor center is an average 15 minutes (according to the park). The drive from the Lodge back to the east end of Yosemite valley is at least a half hour (if there is little traffic).

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Straight ahead (be in the right hand lane)

roadway with arrows

is the road to Housekeeping Camp, Curry Village, Curry Village free day use parking lot, the Pines campgrounds and the trailhead parking lot on the Happy Isles Loop Road,
and a turn from the intersection at Curry Village to the Yosemite Village Day Use parking (which is a short walk to the main Visitor Center, biggest grocery, museum, Post Office, various restaurants) and to the garage, Medical Clinic, and the Ahwahnee hotel.

The road straight ahead (not over the bridge) is two lanes in one direction, if signs tell you to, get in the left lane because the right hand lane is for buses/ambulances only, as are some other roads in the valley.

road sign right lane bus only

In busy traffic times, if you get tired of waiting for traffic to move, and think you don’t see an officer, so you move into the bus only lane, you might find two law enforcement rangers on bikes stopping you:

vehicle stopped by law enforcement in Yosemite

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When you drive straight ahead instead of turning left over Sentinel Bridge,

you then go past Housekeeping Camp on the left with the laundromat (usually open all year even in winter when housekeeping camp is closed), bear left when you enter the parking lot.

Past some employee housing on the right, (if you arrive after dark in winter you might see the lights of the ice rink), this usually one-way section of road comes to an intersection that previously had stop signs and two-way traffic ahead.

This map shows intersection of Southside and Northside drives at Curry Village, changed from a four-way with stop signs, to a three-way intersection without stop signs:

simple map


Plan ahead which lane to be in as you approach this next intersection.


During high traffic times, especially on busy weekends in the summer, traffic at this intersection can be backed up for many car lengths.

park ranger and a row of vehicles

A ranger might be directing people who do not have reservations for Curry Village or a Pines campsite to turn left and not try to park in the full parking lots to the right.

two a-frame signs in road

Or there might be different signage,

signs that say trailhead parking full and food lodging, retail

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(The road section – Happy Isles Loop Road – beyond Curry Village and towards the Pines campgrounds and the trailhead parking lot is two-way. It is now blocked off from the intersection at Curry Village, here as seen as you get to the intersection,

sign in front of barrier

and to access it you need to go through the Curry Village area on a two-way road.)

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Here is a photo of the (new in May 2021, removed in Oct. 2021, back again in May 2022) intersection showing a car coming in from the left hand side of the photo and turning right into the Curry Village area:

roadway with barriers

Be in the right hand lane and turn right to go to Curry Village Curry Village free day use parking lot, Curry Village (briefly named Half Dome Village), with the wood floor canvas roofed/walled tent cabins and the Pines campgrounds.

OR get in the left lane and turn left to go to Yosemite Village Day Use parking (which is a short walk to the main Visitor Center, biggest grocery, museum, Post Office, various restaurants) and to the garage, Medical Clinic, and the Ahwahnee hotel, or back out of the park.

People going to the Yosemite Lodge, Yosemite Falls free parking lot, and Camp 4 (Camp Four) who failed to turn at Sentinel bridge should also turn left.

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This road eventually bears left, goes past one side of the Ahwahnee meadow, and brings you to the round about where

if you want to go to the Yosemite Lodge, Camp Four, Yosemite Falls free day use parking or back out of the park, you circle around the round about

OR if you want to go the store, garage, medical clinic or the Ahwahnee hotel you briefly enter the round-about and turn right.

The directional sign you see just before entering the round-about from the east

car turning right off a circular road

on the one way road from Pines Campgrounds, Curry Village (briefly named Half Dome Village) is below:

sign with arrows and village-store-medical-clinic-Ahwahnee-hotel-visitor-center lodge and park exits

After you enter and exit the round-about, you then drive past the garage and more on your right / the backside parking lot of the main grocery store on your left and make a right at the stop sign.

sign US DistrictCourt, Ahwahnee hotel medical clinic

The next road section, Ahwahnee Drive, takes you past the Medical Clinic on your left, then past the Ahwahnee meadow on your right, Church Bowl on your left (a small picnic area with restrooms).

As you pass Church Bowl your view ahead of Half Dome is blocked by 114 Ponderosa and 117 Cedar trees which will be removed to restore the view.

This next photo is from the Merced River Plan (look for page H-27), which says about the tree removal work. . .”large trees help buffer the impact, and potential damage, of rockfall by absorbing some of the force and rock debris. Most of the trees currently obscuring the view are outside of the rock fall zone, on the south side of the road and not effective in protecting any structure. No trees on the north side of the road within the rockfall hazard zone will be removed.”

road, meadow and skyline

When a helicopter needs to land in the Ahwahnee meadow (in the right hand side of the photo above, across the road from Church Bowl, to pick up someone who needs to go to a bigger hospital, (or when a helicopter needs to land for Search and Rescue training) people are asked to stay on the restroom/picnic area side of the road, and traffic going through is briefly stopped.

Because you won’t know a helicopter is coming and won’t be able to move your vehicle fast enough, the entire meadow side of the road at Church Bowl is closed to any parking at all times, (even to get out and quickly take a picture or use the restroom).

In this photo you can see a few parking spaces in a row alongside the restroom/picnic area side of the road and the commonly ignored stripes for no parking with big letters on the pavement that say NO PARKING, on the other side of the road:


Just past Church Bowl on the left of the road is this stone entrance gate:

stacked stones create and entrance gate


When you get near to the Ahwahnee the road you are on will approach a parking lot and have a deliveries road to the right, don’t take it.

sign with arrows that says hotel and deliveries

On March 31, 2023 the parking lot you see was turned into valet parking only and they put a Do Not Enter sign at this parking lot entrance:

do not enter sign next to parking lot entrance
Stay on the the perimeter road that runs between the cliff face on your left and the main parking lot on your right.

and you will see a Welcome sign asking you to “Please proceed to entrance” by staying on the road as it bears right across the far end of the main parking lot (where you previously could turn right and park your vehicle).

sign says welcome to the ahwahnee

(The reason the sign says “Maximum clearance 11’6.” is because there is a roofed driveway section ahead at the hotel entrance.)

As you drive along an end of the larger paved parking lot to your right there are signs:
sign says valet parking authorized personnel onlyvalet parking only sign and rows of cars in parking lot

The road then bears left as you pull up under the porte-cochere (roofed two-lane driveway by the hotel main entrance).

Approaching and under the porte-cochere there are two lanes.
a sign that says thru traffic keep left valet parking keep right

The right lane is for passenger/luggage drop off/pickups and valet parking, the left lane is for thru traffic.

two lanes under a roof

snow covered hotel porte cochere

And yes, more than one person got his large RV stuck
when he ignored the “maximum clearance 11 foot 6 inches” sign.
(Many rental RVs require a 12 foot clearance due to roof top air conditioners.)

tthree signs along a roof line, one saying maximum clearance 11 foot six inches

At the porte-cochere, pull into the line of vehicles on the right and drop off passengers, unload luggage for the bellman to take (or you can bring them in) and tell them if you want to either find a free day-use parking space at the back (dirt or mud/snow) lot (which they might inform you is currently full) or have the valet park your car in the paved parking lot you just drove by.

Ahwahnee Hotel Valet Parking fees are listed at a sign at the hotel entrance under the porte-cochere

sign says valet rates overnight hotel guests only $30, day-use $15, day-use with validation$10


Rates: overnight – hotel guests only $30,

day-use $15,

day-use with validation $10

The website noted: *Validation is given when there is a purchase of product and/or food and beverage from Sweet Shop, Ahwahnee Gift Shop, Bar or Dining Room.”


All other parking in Yosemite National Park at day-use parking lots, picnic areas, other hotels, stores, restaurants, is free (with your paid park entrance fee or pass) or there will be a parking space at most campground campsites included in the rate you pay for the campsite. People not staying overnight at the hotel will find parking easier at almost all other locations in the park. See: Parking and traffic jams in Yosemite valley tips and tricks.


Below, the view from the free shuttle bus stop / (some years) YARTS bus stop, looking toward the Ahwahnee porte-cochere (covered entrance), notice the end of the white bus under the covered entrance towards the right hand side of the photo.

bus stop #3

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The park service notes that Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations
are located only in Yosemite Valley at:

“The Ahwahnee (one Tesla and one level 1)
You do not need to be a guest at the hotel to charge your vehicle, however, you must move your vehicle from the space once it is finished charging

Village Store (Yosemite Village) (one level 2)

Yosemite Valley Lodge (eight level 2)
Located by Alder building and between Juniper and Laurel buildings.”

Sometimes these charging stations need repairs and will not be operable, perhaps even for days.

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This Google maps street view of the Ahwahnee allows you to click on directional arrows and take a tour of the hotel.

sign that says bears are very active

from an NPS video you might see at a visitor center:

Not just bears, but also Ravens want to get into your gear, and some have figured out how to get into day packs (they can unzip or unfasten many different kinds of buckles and latches)
or . . . a bag tied onto a motorcycle:

raven pecking at a bag on a motorcycle

I suggest you stay with gear you tied on to your vehicle or in an open truck bed until it can get stored properly from animals / birds.
Notes on preventing bears from breaking into your vehicle are at bears.

carved wood ceiling beam

Ahwahnee hotel map webpage has summer and winter photos of rooms, balconies, parlors, (and the views from some of them), including the Presidential Suite with the huge balcony at the (south) far end of the Ahwahnee from the parking lot, the large third floor parlor with fireplace, two main building ADA Suites, featured room 417 with it’s own, small, private balcony, 5th floor rooms that share a balcony, the El Dorado Diggins Suite Jacuzzi tub, the 24 cottages / (bungalows / cabins), including the classic cottages that have an alcove between the bedroom and the bathroom with a bed you can fit a child on, and a door between the bedroom and alcove for privacy, sixth floor Mary Curry Tressider Suite, Library Suite, Underwood room, Sunroom Suite (Sun Porch), Mather, Spencer.

The map of the Ahwahnee hotel includes larger version of the map below,

map of hotel rooms and public areas


Parking and traffic jams in Yosemite valley tips and tricks


Yosemite trail conditions info is at: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildcond.htm

Hiking Advice has HIKING SECRETS and etiquette including hiking in the heat, preventing and/or dealing with blisters, logistics of hiking, a day hike gear list, Half Dome hiking advice, winter hiking and the answer to the question: When is the best time of day to cross a mountain stream?

Videos about Yosemite: https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/photosmultimedia/index.htm

Yosemite webcams: https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm

Where were they when they got that great picture in Yosemite?

Where can I take a photo that looks like the one on a Yosemite postcard I just bought?
Places to take photos of Half Dome, Bridalveil Fall, El Capitan, Yosemite Falls and Staircase Falls.

Selfies can be great, OR dangerous. They were just taking a selfie.

Using a drone is illegal in Yosemite National park, including for photography. See an index of rules and regulations webpages.

The most current route map for the free Yosemite Valley shuttle bus is in the Yosemite Guide newspaper https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/guide.htm , which you will be offered a copy of as you enter the park, or can print in advance.

It looks something like this when there is no road construction, rock slides, excess snow affecting the times/routes:

(Map below courtesy of NPS)

map of Yosemite valley shuttle bus stops

bear walking along fallen tree
The Yosemite National Park rangers would like you to call them if you see a bear in Yosemite,
no matter where it is or what it is doing,
at 1 (209) 372-0322.

If you can, in all the excitement, try to notice if the bear has a tag (usually on the ear), the color of the tag and if possible, the number on it (the tag is large enough that with a telephoto you should be able to read the number).

bear with ear tag

From the Yosemite Daily Report newspaper:
“It is extremely important to remember to yell at bears that are in and around development, even if they are foraging on natural food. Though it is very tempting to get close for a picture, or just to watch these incredible animals, it is important not to give into this urge. Yelling at them if they are in residential areas or near people is critical to keep bears natural fear of humans. Giving bears plenty of space. When bears become too comfortable around people, they will often start causing damage to structures and vehicles, or will even become too bold around people, creating safety concerns.”

NPS bear tracks: bearlogo: from the Keep Bears Wild program NPS bear tracks: