Yosemite Valley free shuttle bus

Yosemite National Park has free year-round shuttle buses in eastern Yosemite Valley with stops at most major sites of interest and some trailheads.

This webpage describes the main year-round route, and has maps of the areas at the bus stops.

Plus, below the list of stops and what you can find at each, there are

hints to save time using the shuttle bus,

best bus stops for and/or links to the following Yosemite Valley activities:

art classes, bike rentals, bike paths, campsite availability, grocery store, hikes and their trailheads, horseback riding, ice skating, free and fee internet access, laundromat, lost and found, photo walk, rafting, Ranger talks/walks/evening programs, restaurants & cafeterias / pizzerias / grill / deli , rock climbing lessons, places to get a shower, ski / snowboard / snow shoe walk, picnic, stargazing, swimming, waterfalls

and links to local weather reports.

AND notes about the best bus stops for overnight accommodations, day use parking

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These other public transportation routes do not run all year:

A second free summer valley bus route, the El Capitan Shuttle (El Cap shuttle), runs from the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center with stops at Camp 4 (the actual Camp 4 campground, not the main bus system Camp 4 bus stop #7 across the road), El Capitan picnic area, (in the vicinity of) El Capitan, Cathedral Beach Picnic Area and the Four Mile trailhead, from “late may or mid June to early October, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.” / every 30 minutes (and again, it is not on a strict schedule)

Other free buses include summer Wawona/Mariposa grove,

and a free winter bus to Yosemite Ski and Snow area (Badger Pass) for ski/snowboard/snow shoe walk that has a more strict schedule than the main free shuttle bus. http://www.travelyosemite.com/media/610220/yssa-shuttle-schedule_2017.pdf.

(Fee) tours include the valley floor tour, Glacier Point, Grand Tour, hikers bus from the valley to Tuolumne/various trailheads along the way/and back, and a bus that runs around stops at Tuolumne Meadows in the summer. (See some links near the end of this page.)

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YARTS (fee), public transit to Yosemite valley/Tuolumne Meadows/Wawona from many nearby places in California. For info on the YARTS bus to and from Yosemite via Sonora, Fresno, Merced, Mariposa, El Portal, Mammoth Lakes, Le Vining, Tuolumne Meadows and more call 1-877-98YARTS. http://yarts.com/routes-schedules/
To find a YARTS bus stop, at the same bus stop/ or next to the bus stop for the free valley shuttle, (often at the Majestic, the Yosemite Lodge, the main Visitor Center and Half Dome Village) look for the blue sign with white lettering, the same logo as on the sides and/or front of most of the YARTS buses:
YARTS logo on a side of a bus

There is an interactive map at: http://map.yarts.com/ which includes nearby RV parks.

Connections to Greyhound buses, Amtrak Railroad passenger service and local airports are available.

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There is no parking lot for park visitors at the visitor centers, and very little parking other places (usually only with a handicapped permit). People are asked to park their car at their campsite or hotel or day use parking, leave it there, and ride the shuttle, ride bikes or jog/hike/walk/stroll.

Except when road repairs are being done and some roads might be closed, or during the winter in showy conditions, or when a bus is too full for more passengers, the main free Yosemite Valley Visitor Shuttle buses drive the same route in numerical order.

Once people understand the route most of the buses use, they can switch buses at a couple of major stops to cut a half hour or more off the time needed to get to their destination. Plus, the best stops for some activities, the best stop to start a particular hike and the best stops for some overnight accommodations are not completely obvious.

The most current route map for the free Yosemite Valley shuttle bus is at http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/valleyshuttle.pdf

I suggest you print a copy and use it to reference the descriptions below of what you can find at each stop.

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

(Maps below courtesy of NPS)

map of Yosemite valley shuttle bus stops

and here is a close-up of the main stops described below at this webpage:

map with roads, some trails and Yosemite Valley shuttle bus stops, courtesy of NPS


moving rainbow line:

moving rainbow line:

You will be less frustrated with the bus arrivals and departures if you understand that:

The Yosemite valley main shuttles run every ten to 20 minutes, depending on the time of day, and depending on traffic (usually from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.). In seasons other than summer, buses sometimes run every 30 minutes. They are not on a strict schedule, such as city bus systems. If traffic is heavy, they might be slower than the ten to 20 minutes intervals.

Sometimes two or three buses can arrive at a bus stop right after each other. Sometimes one of the multiple buses arriving at a stop may let off passengers and drive off without picking up any, due to needs for space onboard at a following stop.

moving rainbow line:

moving rainbow line:

(Below the The bus stops usually are (list of stops)

are logistics for bus use,

tricks to save time using the shuttle bus,

bus stops for Yosemite Valley activities,

notes about bus stops for overnight accommodations,

notes about bus stops for people not staying overnight in Yosemite Valley – day use only,

and info about other park buses outside of Yosemite Valley.

The bus stops usually are:


1) Yosemite village visitor parking at a turnout just off of the roundabout (circular roadway), is a large Day Use parking lot (this day use parking lot is also known as “Camp Six” ). It is just south of Yosemite Village.

It can sometimes be faster to walk north to the biggest Yosemite grocery and Valley Visitor Center than to wait for a bus, especially during high usage times.

Pedestrians should be careful to watch out for drivers who are confused about the round-about and not watching for pedestrians.

In the photo below of the turnout for shuttle bus stop #1, you can see, in the foreground, the edge of the (new in 2017) round-about.

shuttle bus at turnout


2) Yosemite Village A little down from the front of the main grocery store and Village Grill.

The main store has the biggest selection of food and gifts, toys, Yosemite logo clothes. (You will find a bigger selection of lower cost, sometimes fresher produce in larger groceries near home, so bring your own.) See also a list of usually stocked over-the-counter medications below the medical center info below.

cases of fruits and vegies

gifts Yosemite Village store: refrigerated grocery case of packaged food

map below courtesy of NPS

map showing locations of Yosemite Village buildings

Next to the store used to be the Art Activity Center https://www.yosemiteconservancy.org/happy-isles-art-and-nature-center with lessons and programs “for artists of all ages and abilities.” These programs were moved to the Happy Isles Visitor Center, shuttle stop 16, and the building was taken down in late 2017/early 2018, to “be restored to a seasonal wetland in 2018.” The Happy Isles location will usually be open late March through October.

Behind the store and across the back parking lot and across a road is the small Village Garage (see lower right corner of the map above), 209/372-1060, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. summer / 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. winter. 24 hour AAA, CSAA towing available. They can tow within the park (CSAA/AAA towing included) but (as of early 2018) do not have a tow truck that can handle big RVs or tourbuses. Propane service available until a half hour before closing. The mechanics can handle most minor emergency repairs such as radiators, water pumps, brakes and tire repairs, (IF they happen to have the part in stock, otherwise they will have to order it) but no repairs available on weekends.

There is no bus stop for the Yosemite valley medical clinic (see upper right hand corner of the map above) but it is a short walk from the main grocery store on the road to the Majestic (Ahwahnee). Open summer daily 9-5, fall/winter/spring M-F 9-5 / closed major holidays and when the doctor is out of town, but with 24 hour/seven days a week ambulance. For ambulance service call 911, (or 9-911 from a Yosemite hotel room, but please verify this when you check in). They can do a “limited array of lab tests, basic X-rays”, urgent care such as “illness evaluation and treatment (colds, flu, and infections) and injury care (fractures, sprains, strains, cuts, abrasions)”. They no longer have a dental clinic.

Read current details, including methods of payment at: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/ymc.htm

The medical clinic does not sell over-the-counter medications, but you can buy them at the main Yosemite Valley grocery, including, but not limited to, brand name and some generic, (adult and in some cases children’s) pain relief, allergy, stomach upset, cough syrups and lozenges, first aid supplies, and lots more. The list got a bit long for this webpage so I moved it to: Over-the-counter medications and toiletries available in Yosemite.

This Yosemite valley medical clinic is not a full hospital. The nearest, with 24 hour / 7 day a week emergency care, is John C. Fremont hospital in Mariposa, at least an hour drive from Yosemite valley. http://www.jcf-hospital.com/ From Yosemite on highway 140, just as you enter Mariposa, take a hard right hand turn on Smith road, then after about a half mile, a right on Hospital Drive. The long driveway to the emergency room is a left turn just before the main hospital buildings. Their webpage says: “Air ambulance service is available to rapidly transport critical patients who need specialized care.”


About half-way between stops 2 and 3 is Church Bowl, picnic area with restrooms, water (one of the few picnic areas with potable drinking water) and picnic tables with views of the Ahwahnee Meadow and Glacier Point:

picnic table in foreground, cliff behind

When a helicopter needs to land in the Ahwahnee meadow 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 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).


3) The Majestic (Ahwahnee) Hotel The bus stop is just out into the parking lot, not under the cover of the porte-cochere (roofed driveway by the hotel main entrance).

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

The shuttle stop, the Sweet Shop with the chocolate truffles, restaurants (and a link to the menus), and much more are shown on this Ahwahnee Hotel map.

The schedule for free one hour tours of the hotel can be found in the the newspaper Yosemite Today.


4) At the corner of Degnan’s (Deli / Loft / Cafe / Kitchen) in Yosemite Village, right across the street from the north end of the Village grocery store and Village Grill complex.

Menus are at: http://www.travelyosemite.com/lodging/dining/yosemite-village/



5) main Valley Visitor Center (across the street from stop #9)

Park rangers on duty to answer questions, exhibits, park info presentations, and bookstore with maps, books, postcards, posters, calendars, clothes (with discounts for Yosemite Conservancy donors).

At the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center there is a huge raised relief map of the geological features. Below, a photo of part of this display, showing Half Dome from above and the trail to Vernal and Nevada Falls (and on towards the top of Half Dome), on the right:
section of raised relief map
There are history, geological and nature displays.

marmot at display Yosemite visitor center: figure of a marmot and painting of mountain environment

display shows how glaciers carved Yosemite valley over the ages

Two films play every half hour play in the theater behind the main building. (Mon.- Sat. 9:30 a.m. to (last film) 4:30 p.m. (Sunday first showing at noon). Yosemite – a Gathering of Spirit by Ken Burns (you can watch it at: http://www.pbs.org/video/2365316730/) shows on the hour and The Spirit of Yosemite a great visitor orientation film with some swooping aerial views along with history and scenes from all seasons and all parts of the park, shows on the half hour. Free. Both films are captioned and an audio transcription of Spirit of Yosemite is available at the information counter in the Valley Visitor Center.

To the right as you face the building is the Ansel Adams Gallery (2018 exhibits expected to be: Michael Frye February 25 – April 7, Alan Ross April 8th – May 19th, Penny Otwell May 20th – July 7th, Charles Cramer July 8th – August 18th, Roman Loranc August 19th – September 29th, James McGrew September 30th – November 17th, Ted Orland November 18th – January 5th, 2019)

and then next to the right as you face the Visitor Center, the Wilderness Center, (open spring to fall for backcountry permits and bear canister rentals, with displays on pre-trip planning, minimum impact and Yosemite’s wilderness). Further to the right is the U.S. Post Office.

To the left as you face the Visitor Center is the Yosemite Museum (Indian Cultural Museum)/store.

Restrooms are located a little behind and between the Visitor Center and the Indian Cultural Museum.

In front of the Indian Cultural Museum is a cross‐section of a Giant Sequoia tree that visitors can touch and a re-creation of an umacha, a Miwok and Paiute cedar bark house.

museum entrance with cross section of tree

Museum exhibits are listed at https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/historyculture/museum-exhibit.htm including links to some displays after an exhibit has closed.

a glass case with Indian baskets

The valley museum occasionally features paintings and watercolors.

For example, one summer, paintings by Chris Jorgensen, such as shown in the photo, (courtesy of the National Park Service), below:

NPS Chris Jorgensen watercolor:

You can look at some of the collection online “. . . explore more than 2,000 catalog records for objects and images from the Yosemite Museum collection. These records include American Indian basketry, historic objects related to John Muir, and photographs taken by Carleton Watkins and George Fiske” (including the Jeffrey pine that once grew on Sentinel Dome). “This project was made possible by a generous grant from Yosemite Conservancy, which has supported the Yosemite Museum for over 90 years.”

Go to
https://museum.nps.gov/ParkPList.aspx and search for Yosemite National Park.

The Indian Cultural Exhibit, (which interprets the cultural history of Yosemite’s
Miwok and Paiute people from 1850 to the present) Village of the Ahwahnee, is behind the visitor center. Sometimes staff present programs about Ahwahneechee skills and culture.

This stop also has stops next to it for the El Cap summer shuttle and the summer express bus to and from the main day use parking at stop #1.

Cell phone service is usually okay in the vicinity of the main visitor center.
In June, 2017 and February, 2018 we got 4 bars for Verizon and 3 bars for AT&T near the main visitor center, versus 2 bars for each at the Majestic and 2 bars Verizon, 1 bar AT&T in Upper Pines campground, at the Yosemite Valley Lodge and Half Dome Village. The park service said: “Cell phone coverage in Yosemite is spotty . . . Cell service is often impacted during daily peak visitation by the large number of people trying to access limited service; if you have four bars of service, but you can’t get a signal, this is why . . . cell coverage depends on your phone, the cloud cover and other seemingly mysterious factors and is not always reliable. ”


6) At the end of the loop path to the base of lower Yosemite Fall (almost all relatively flat walk, one mile (1.6 kilometers) round trip).

At the bus stop, near the bus stop, and at the restrooms/picnic area a bit up a path to your to your left, you will find maps of the lower Yosemite Fall loop trail, or actually more a path/walkway, to the base of lower Yosemite Fall.

map of Lower Yosemite falls walkways, river, bus stops

The river is in blue, loop trail is in brown, the bridges over the river are in tan, the main road (Northside Drive) at the bottom of this picture of the map is in gray. Shuttle bus stop #6 is in the lower right hand corner of this map. There are restrooms and picnic area (no grills) next to the restrooms .

Some of the picnic tables have great views of Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in North America (2,425 ft):

picnic table in foreground, Yosemite Falls in background

Along this walk you can find the location of John Muir’s hang nest (cabin he built in a tree) At that webpage you can read warnings about the real dangers of trying to swim in the pool at the base of the fall. Suggest you try swimming at a beach at Swinging Bridge instead, see stop #7 or at Housekeeping camp, stop 12.

sign no bikes on lower Yose fall trail: Please walk your bike on this path/trail, even though it is paved.

From the far west pathway (or from the Yosemite Lodge) along this loop trail, the view of Yosemite Falls (lower, middle and upper, in full flow in February 2017). Yosemite falls, upper middle and lower in full flow

A bronze relief map along the western trail depicts the watershed that drains into Yosemite Falls and shows the trails.
bronze relief map on a stone base

Yosemite Nature Notes video about Yosemite falls:


There is no bus stop across the street going in the opposite direction. For example, if you come from the Visitor Center or campgrounds direction and you get off at this stop (#6) to do the hike to the base of lower Yosemite Falls, if you want to catch a bus returning in the same direction, you need to walk to stop 8 at the Yosemite Lodge to catch it or climb on again at stop six and ride the bus for a couple of stops until it comes back around.

A quick walk you should not miss is in the vicinity. At shuttle bus stop #6, looking across the road at a cross walk near the bus stop, you can see a meandering path leading to a pedestrian bridge over the river.

crosswalk across road and people on trial on other side of road

When you first step up on to the bridge, on the left hand side, there is a metal sculpture showing the depths of the water various years Yosemite Valley has flooded. It is amazing to stand on the bridge and see when Yosemite valley became a lake. Yes, the entire bridge, up to and over the hand rail, has been under water during flooding in 1964, 1950, 1955, and 1997.

metal sculpture with various years on it

A 360 degree view from the bridge (taken before the sculpture was installed) is at https://www.google.com/streetview/#us-parks-trails-and-beaches/yosemite-national-park


7) Camp 4 near the Yosemite Lodge day-use parking lot at the end of the path to Swinging Bridge. This stop is across the main road (Northside Drive) from Camp 4 (Sunnyside) walk-in campground and the trailhead to Columbia Rock / Upper Yosemite Falls.

Upper Yosemite Fall hike has details. Camp Four to Columbia Rock is 2 miles (3.21 kilometers) round trip, 1,000 feet (304 meters) elevation gain. Camp 4 to top of Yosemite falls is 7.2 miles (11.59 kilometers) round trip, 2,700 foot (823 meters elevation gain.

For a map of Camp 4: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/camp4map.pdf showing shuttle stop 7, the trailhead for the Upper Yosemite Falls hike and the location of the largest boulder within the campground, Columbia Boulder, (or Big Columbia), which has the “world’s most famous boulder problem” – the route named “Midnight Lightning”. There is fascinating reading on how climbers can avoid injuries/stay alive, by Ranger John Dill, at: https://www.friendsofyosar.org/climbing

Stop 7 is closer than stop 8 to the Yosemite Lodge hotel buildings Laurel and Juniper.

A short walk from stop 7 is Swinging Bridge and a good swimming area (in season) with shallow and deep water, sandy beaches and views of Yosemite Falls.

NPS photo swinging bridge swim area

Across the bridge is a large picnic area with tables, grills and accessible vault toilets (bring your own water or purify some from the river). Some of the picnic tables have views through the trees of Yosemite Falls.

picnic table and grill, view of Yosemite Falls in background partially obstructed by trees

See details at: swimming in Yosemite including thunderstorms, bacteria in the water, safety issues, favorite beaches, swimming pools with lifeguards.

(As of fall 2017: “the (Camp Four) parking lot is being expanded, bringing the capacity to 130 vehicles. Either later this fall or in Spring, 2018, 25 campsites are being added (each site can accommodate 6 people) which will bring the total to 57 campsites. A new comfort station is also being constructed in which showers will be included. This will be the first park campground that will provide shower facilities for people staying in the campground.”)


8) Yosemite Lodge, just across the road from the hotel lobby, tour desk, restaurants, gift shops.

Map below courtesy of NPS

yosemite lodge map:

Map of Yosemite Lodge showing the swimming pool, bike rentals pick-up area, shuttle bus stop #8:

map with parking spaces, pool, buildings

See current larger map with the pool, restaurants, restrooms, ATM at:


Guests of the Yosemite Lodge and people who are not guests at the lodge can rent a bike there. To pay and arrange for a rental go into the lobby and find the tour desk. Pick up the bike near the pool (see map above).

Lodge guests swim for free and people who are not guests at the Lodge can swim in the pool for a fee:
http://www.travelyosemite.com/things-to-do/swimming/ large swimming pool with lots of chairs around the deck

See also: Swimming in Yosemite National Park.

People who are not guests at the Yosemite Lodge can dine at the Mountain Room, Mountain Room Lounge, and Base Camp Eatery (formerly the Food Court). Menus for some of the restaurants are at:

Cooking in/around Yosemite Lodge rooms is not allowed, but there is a picnic area, with picnic tables, fire grates, a swimming beach a short walk from the hotel, see map to Swinging Bridge at swimming in Yosemite National park and another nearby picnic area, with picnic tables but without fire grates, across Northside Drive from the Lodge, about equidistant between bus stops 8 and 6.


9) Valley Visitor Center (right across the street from stop #5)


10) directly across the street from the main grocery in Yosemite Village, across the street and down a little from stop #2.


11) Sentinel Bridge / chapel (walk across the bridge to the Yosemite Chapel)

Near sunset you will find lines of photographers on Sentinel Bridge waiting to see if Half Dome turns gold or pink.

The parking lot just north of Sentinel Bridge is one of the best places to take pictures of moonbows (lunar rainbows during a full moon in spring) on upper Yosemite Fall.

A 360 degree view from Cook’s Meadow, steps away from this shuttle bus stop is at



12) YCHC – Yosemite Conservation Heritage Center (formerly LeConte Memorial Lodge) (library, children’s corner, displays, occasional programs).

Across the road from bus stop 12 you will find Housekeeping Camp, (open more or less April to October, weather permitting) with showers and laundromat – the laundromat is usually open through the winter even when housekeeping units are not open. To find the laundromat, bear left when you enter the Housekeeping parking lot.

Map showing Housekeeping Camp, the biggest beach, the pedestrian bridge over the river to other swim beaches, laundromat and showers:


See details about swimming in the river at: swimming in Yosemite including thunderstorms, bacteria in the water, safety issues, favorite beaches, swimming pools with lifeguards.


About half way between stop 12 Yosemite Conservation Heritage Center (formerly LeConte Memorial Lodge) and stop 13 Half Dome Village, is employee housing. 27 “one- and two-story structures providing housing and shared common spaces and a wellness center.”



13A) (across the road from stop 21)
ice skater Yosemite rink: Ice Rink in winter, pay to skate at stop 13B.

raft rentals:

Half Dome (Curry) Village recreation rentals raft pickup. Pay to rent the raft at stop 13B.

If you have your own raft, this is the closest place to walk with your raft to the river, more info is at: Yosemite Valley Rafting Advice


13B) Half Dome (Curry) Village in front of Stoneman Cottage, (Stoneman is on the right in the photo below). Pay phones outside the office.

roadway and bus stop, two buildings

Guests at Half Dome Village and people who are not guests at Half Dome Village can book a tour, pay to rent a bike or a raft, or pay for ice rink use/ skate rental at the little Tour Kiosk between the front office and Stoneman Cottage, (with the lights above the sign saying Ice Skating, in the winter photo above).

If you want to rent a raft, rental reservations in advance are advised, up to 80% of rafts are reserved the day before. http://www.travelyosemite.com/things-to-do/rafting/

On the map below, check in for your room or tent cabin at the front office (lavender/pink box on the map below). The Bike Rental Pick Up area is to the west of the stores and food, north of the parking lot.

map of Half Dome Village Yosemite June 2017

This photo of bike rentals pick-up area is taken from the direction of the Half Dome Village (formerly Curry Village) guest parking lot.

rows of bikes and tent cabins behind

The permanent ice rink was removed winter 2016-2017 and replaced with a seasonally installed portable ice rink in the parking lot near stop 14, which promptly flooded in heavy rains and was closed, at first temporarily, then it did not reopen. It was moved back to it’s original location for winter 2017-2018. Sometimes when it first opens there are no lights for evening skating for awhile until they can be installed. Always subject to mechanical issues with the Zamboni. You buy tickets to ice skate, and if you need them, to rent skates (helmet is free), at the tour kiosk near the Half Dome Village room registration office (see map above). http://www.travelyosemite.com/winter/half-dome-village-ice-skating-rink/

and at their website, a map of the kiosk/cabins/pool/restrooms/grill/lounge/parking:


People who are not guests at Half Dome Village can dine there. Hours / basic descriptions of food services at the Pizza Deck, Coffee Corner, Half Dome Village Dining Pavilion, Meadow Grill, Chuck Wagon BBQ and Half Dome Village Bar (not all of which are open all year, opening and closing dates can vary depending, in part, on weather) can be found at: http://www.travelyosemite.com/lodging/dining/half-dome-village/


14) Half Dome (Curry) Village parking (across the road from stop 20).

A 365 day a year shower house and summer swimming pool are the right up the service vehicles only road from the parking lot. The map below shows bus stops 14 and 20, and the road to the shower house / pool:

map with a blue pool, bus stops and parking lot

large swimming pool with umbrellas and lounge chairs poolside

Guests at Half Dome Village swim and use this main shower house for free and people who are not guests at Half Dome Village can swim in the pool and use the main shower house for a fee:

See also: Swimming in Yosemite National Park.

After a major snowfall the buses do not run to stops (15, 16, 17 and 18, sometimes 19 as well) on the Happy Isles loop road.


15) Upper Pines campground, (across the road towards Half Dome (Curry) Village from the campground) and near the backpackers trailhead parking lot, across the road from the end of the first loop of campsites.

map of pines campgrounds
and bus stops 15, 18 and 19


16) Happy Isles with (on the bus stop side of the river) restrooms, a nature center, Art Activity Center (https://www.yosemiteconservancy.org/happy-isles-art-and-nature-center with lessons and programs “for artists of all ages and abilities, usually open late March through October), and a fen (marsh).

Summer Junior Ranger Walks often start at Happy Isles.

Across a bridge, up the road to the right, is the trailhead for the mist trail and the rest of the John Muir Trail including to Vernal Fall, Nevada Fall, Half Dome and . . . Mount Whitney.

The Happy Isles Visitor Center (usually not open in the winter) is up a side trail on the other side of the river from the popular John Muir trail and can be easily overlooked, but it is well worth a stop. It has natural history exhibits including the animals pictured below, tree and geology explanations.

Raccoon Happy Isles: Coyote and skunk Happy Isles:

bear Happy Isles: mountain lion at Happy Isles:

happy isles bear scat sign:

There is a great interactive display with the voices of animals including bear, mule deer, raccoon, mountain lion, ringtail, bobcat, coyote, chipmunk, ground squirrel and more. You can put your paw up next to an impression of an animal paw and compare:

track tales display at Happy Isles

Nearby are short trails focusing on the Happy Isles environment: forest, river, talus slope and the fen (marsh).

Happy Isles fen boardwalk: ferns and creeklet at Happy Isles fen:

There is an outdoor exhibit on the geologic story of rockfalls in Yosemite.


17) Mirror Lake junction (service sometimes ends earlier than other stops). The path to Mirror Lake from this stop is steep in parts, but wheelchair accessible.


18) North Pines campground and stable, you can no longer ride horses in Yosemite Valley, go instead to the Wawona (Big Trees) stable. At Wawona is also where you can pay for a horse-drawn stage ride.

“From approximately late May through September, a daytime kennel is available at the Yosemite Valley Stable, stop #18. You must provide written proof of immunizations (rabies, distemper, parvo, and bordetella) from your veterinarian. Dogs under 20 pounds may be considered if you provide a small kennel. No food is allowed, due to wildlife management concerns. Because of limited kennel space, advanced reservations are highly recommended. Contact 209.372.8326 for more information.” And all this is subject to change.

map of Upper, Lower and North Pines campgrounds
and bus stops 18, 15 and 19:


19) Pines campground at the entrance to Lower Pines, which has three double campsites, (Upper Pines campground entrance is across the road, North Pines campground is up the road and over a bridge).

map of Upper, Lower and North Pines campgrounds
and bus stops 18, 15 and 19:


20) Half Dome (Curry) Village parking (right across the road from stop 14)


21) across the road from stop 13A, Half Dome (Curry) Village recreation rentals, raft pick-up, ice rink in winter.

Pay at stop 13B to rent the raft(s) or to ice skate.

If you have your own raft, this is the closest place to walk with your raft to the river, more info is at: Yosemite Valley Rafting Advice


Bus logistics and courtesies

– – – Most drivers prefer you wait until everyone has finished getting off before you get on, the same as any transit system in the rest of the world.

– – – Most prefer you enter from the door at the front end of the bus and exit from the back, but will sometimes tell passengers they can exit any door. OR, if you ask politely, the bus driver might let you and your huge backpack exit from the front where you got on instead of going all the way to the rear exit, but be sure to ask before the last moment.

– – – Please take the baby out of the stroller and fold up the stroller.

– – -You can wear your ginormous backpack or put it in your lap, but it shouldn’t have a seat for itself if the bus is crowded.

– – – No inflated rafts, tubes, etc. are allowed, but are okay DE-inflated if they fit on your lap. (An inflated raft is too big to fit down the aisle and it’s wet, sandy and or dirty and gets others on the bus dirty. Either sew a large drawstring bag or buy a duffle bag or large backpack big enough to fit each fully deflated raft/your lifejackets in. It won’t be much bigger than a big backpack that others might be carrying on the bus. See Yosemite Valley rafting advice.)

– – – You can’t stand next to the driver. Everyone standing in the aisle must be behind the yellow line near the front of the bus:

four pairs of legs/feet/shoes behind a yellow line on the floor of a bus

– – – All the free Yosemite shuttle buses are accessible with wheelchair lifts and tie‐downs. Maximum size for wheelchairs on shuttle buses and tour buses is 24 inches wide x 46 inches long with a weight limit on tour buses of 750 pounds. Bus drivers will help passengers on and off buses or notify them of stops. If you need assistance, ask the bus driver.

– – – Any time usage is high, especially on a summer afternoon, standees need to move to the back to let more people on. (No, not contorting your body to fit as crowded in as in parts of China where people are literally face to face.)

shuttle bus standees:

– – – As you know from other transit systems, conversations, both in person, over the phone if you can get reception and whatever it is you are listening to on headphones should be at a low volume for everyone’s sanity.

– – – If, for example, someone uses two seats on a crowded afternoon, or is yelling into their cell phone, there is no good reason to confront them. You are in a tight space. Let the bus driver deal with rude or obnoxious passengers. Hey, you are on vacation, and the ride will be short.

– – – no pets are allowed on the shuttle buses. And Yosemite park says: “pets must be restrained on a leash not more than six feet long or otherwise physically restrained.” You can find wild animals anywhere in the park and do not want your dog to personally meet one of them, such as this bobcat on a path at a Yosemite hotel:

bobcat walking on a pathway



To save time using the shuttle bus:

The main buses go to stops 1 through 21 in that order all day in the summer, (or a few less stops in the winter after a major snowfall).

Again, this will make more sense if you print a copy of the shuttle bus map to look at while you read it.

and here again is a close-up of the main Yosemite bus route stops to help you make sense of the time saving tricks below:

map with roads, some trails and Yosemite Valley shuttle bus stops, courtesy of NPS

If you had come from the Pines campgrounds, Half Dome Village or Housekeeping Camp and got off at the main store in Yosemite Village at stop #2 it would be a mistake to get back on the bus at the stop you got off at to go directly back. If you did you would need to ride a major section of bus route and it could take you an extra half hour or longer to get back. It would make more sense to walk across the street and get on any free shuttle bus that stops at stop #10.

Below is a picture of a bus at stop 10, with people walking across the street to the store:

bus on the right hand side of the road, people crossing

and another photo from a bit down the road, of a bus at shuttle stop 10 on the right, and on the left people waiting for a bus at stop 2.

Yosemite Valley shuttle bus, and two bus stops with people at them

If you had come from the Pines campgrounds and stopped at a Half Dome Village (Curry) restaurant or store (stop 20) and wanted to go back to the campground it would be a mistake to get back on the bus at the stop you got off at. Again, you should cross the street and get on a bus (stop 14) with a shorter ride one less half hour or more to your destination.

Below is a picture of the two bus stops at Half Dome Village (Curry Village) parking, stop number 14 on the left and stop number 20 on the right. (See also the map at bus stop #13B.)

Curry Village shuttle bus stop:

If you had come from the Yosemite Lodge / Camp 4 stops 7 or 8 to the Valley Main Visitor Center stop 9 it would be a mistake (and take you up to an hour longer) to try to go directly back to the Lodge / Camp 4 by getting on a bus at the stop you got off at. Get on a bus at stop 5 for a much faster ride back.

Here are two bus stops at the (main) Yosemite Valley Visitor center (number 5 on the left, number 9 on the right):

two buses across the street from each other

Coming from the big day use parking lot at stop #1, or from Half Dome Village (Curry), Housekeeping Camp and the pines campgrounds to most destinations in Yosemite Village, (Degnans, Post Office, Ansel Adams gallery, Wilderness Center, Visitor Center, museum) it makes more sense to get off at the main store (stop 2) and walk to the main valley Visitor Center, Degnan’s or the Post Office, etc. than to stay on the bus and ride all the way to the Majestic (Ahwahnee) Hotel (stop 3) and back, unless you need some of the chocolate truffles at the Majestic (Ahwahnee) Sweet Shop.

Guests at the Lodge or Majestic (Ahwahnee) and campers at Camp 4 who go ice skating, or rent a raft will have a much longer ride back if they get on at the stop they got off at, again, cross the road to the other bus stop for a shorter ride back.

Given how long the wait can be for a bus in the winter it can be faster to walk between the Majestic (Ahwahnee) and the main store/Degnans than to wait for a bus, especially of you just saw a bus leave the Ahwahnee stop.

To go from Housekeeping Camp to the main grocery store in the Village, or even to the main visitor center, it can be faster to walk than to take the bus. Use the pedestrian bridge (near unit #48) over the river and follow the trail.


or if you use the bus, get on at stop 12 across the road from Housekeeping Camp, and get off at 14 and transfer to 20, so you will not need to ride the bus all the way around the loop to the pines campgrounds / Happy Isles / Mirror Lake / North Pines.



Here are the bus stops for things to do in Yosemite, the following Yosemite Valley activities:

(small fee) art classes The Art Activity Center https://www.yosemiteconservancy.org/yosemite-art-center has lessons and programs “for artists of all ages and abilities”, usually open late March through October, at Happy Isles.

To get a permit for a backpack trip, either arrange in advance


or go to the Wilderness Center, (open spring to fall for backcountry permits and bear canister rentals) or in winter when it is closed, to the main visitor center, both close to each other at shuttle stops 5 and 9

or go to a out-of-Yosemite-Valley permit station, all are listed at:


Bike rentals, helmet included, are at Half Dome Village (see map at stop #13) and the Lodge (next to the pool, see map at stop #8), spring through fall, some years as late as November. Find a way to bring our own, rentals are (ALL of the following is subject to change) as of June 2017, (higher prices some previous years) $12.50 an hour or $30.50 a day. (With an attached trailer $19 an hour, $56.50 a day.) Most years they say that bike rentals start at 8 a.m., last bike out at 5:45 p.m. and bikes need to be back in by 6:45 p.m.; with your own you can ride early and late into the day. Reservations only available, and often required, for ADA bikes (“hand-crank bicycles, and tandem bicycles for visually impaired guests”). Rental bikes must stay in Yosemite valley and they do not allow you to ride them on all roads that you can ride your own bike on.

There are more than 12 miles of surfaced bike paths on the valley floor and even in the winter the weather is sometimes good enough to ride or rollerblade. A map of bike paths is at: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/biking.htm and you can ride on paved roads (if you obey traffic laws), but not on dirt trails, on paths closed due to spring flooding or the paved pathway to lower Yosemite Falls. Please walk your bike at the Yosemite Falls pathway or lock it up at the trailhead.

Yosemite Search and Rescue would like to remind you: “California law requires riders under 18 to wear helmets. Helmets are optional for bicycle riders 18 and over but they are an outstanding idea, inexpensive, and in many cases are the difference between a minor headache and life-altering or life-ending injuries. Unfortunately, when one observes bicycle operations in the Valley, the majority of adult bike riders, and even some children, opt to skip the helmet. Once the crash occurs, it’s too late to reconsider your decision to skip the helmet.”

This quote is from:


Campground status and campsite availability: call 1 209 372-0266.


The Yosemite Valley Campground Reservations office is in the visitor parking area at Half Dome Village, stop # 14, at the north-east corner of the parking lot (at the back corner, furthest from Half Dome Village stores/pool/guest check-in).

Cell phone service is NOT available in all parts of Yosemite. It is usually okay in the vicinity of the main visitor center.

In June, 2017 and February 2018 we got 4 bars for Verizon and 3 bars for AT&T near the main visitor center,

versus 2 bars for each at the Majestic

and 2 bars Verizon, 1 bar AT&T in Upper Pines campground, at the Yosemite Valley Lodge and Half Dome Village.

It is much faster for most people to walk to the chapel from Yosemite Village day use parking or from the Lodge or Housekeeping Camp than to ride the bus from those places.

Reservations are recommended for rock climbing lessons https://www.travelyosemite.com/things-to-do/rock-climbing/ Climbing route closures are listed at https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/climbingclosures.htm

There are no gas stations in Yosemite valley. You can pay 24 hours with your credit or debit card at El Portal, Crane Flat or the Big Trees Lodge stations. The Crane Flat gas station is on this map of the Crane Flat Campground https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&PageID=412521

Golf at Wawona http://www.travelyosemite.com/things-to-do/golfing/

To go to a grocery store you have many choices. The main store in Yosemite Village (stops 2 & 10) has a larger selection, but the grocery at Half Dome (Curry) Village, Housekeeping or the Lodge might be closer to where you are staying and the bag of ice in your lap will be less likely to melt as much. The Majestic has basic sundries, snacks/trail food and chocolate truffles. For hours each is open check the park newspaper

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – HIKES / TRAILHEADS: – – – – – – –

hiking advice covers hot weather and winter hiking, logistics, blisters, a gear list, GPS is not infallible and more.

A Yosemite Conservancy Naturalist can be hired to lead your choice of a custom hike:

trail conditions: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/conditions.htm#trails It would be wise to ask at a Visitor Center about trail conditions before your hike, but a rockfall could close part of the trail and they would not know about it. In cold weather the trail may also have icy conditions that are not reported. You take your own risks. IF there are any trail closure signs, please follow them.

Yosemite Valley hike map:

Wawona hike map
https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/wawonahikes.pdf, including Chilnualna Falls, tram route, and the locations of the Fallen Wawona Tunnel Tree, California Tunnel Tree, the Grizzly Giant, Telescope Tree, Fallen Giant and Clothespin Tree.

Crane Flat and White Wolf hike map, including the Tuolumne Grove nature trail and the location of the Fallen Giant and Tunnel Tree:

Hetch Hetchy day hikes, including Wapama Falls and Rancheria Falls.

To bus and walk to Bridalveil Fall use the summer El Cap shuttle. Once at the Bridalveil Fall parking area, the walk is .5 mile (.8 kilometers) round trip.

to see a 360 degree view of Bridalveil Fall go to:

https://www.yosemiteconservancy.org/restoration-bridalveil-fall explains work on restoration of the Bridalveil Fall area.

To hike to Columbia Rock (2 miles round trip, 1,000 feet elevation gain), upper Yosemite Fall (7.2 miles round trip, 2,700 feet elevation gain), Yosemite Point or Eagle Peak (Three Brothers) use the Camp Four/lodge day use stop #7 and head across the main road and through Camp Four. Upper Yosemite Fall hike

To see a 360 degree view from along the upper section of the trail, go to:


To hike to Mirror Lake, and beyond to the Snow Creek trail https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/snowcreektrail.htm

the trail along the cliffs below the Royal Arches, (across the parking lot from the Majestic (Ahwahnee) hotel) is longer but can be much more pleasant and less crowded than the paved road from stop 17. At the start of this trail, in some months, you can see and feel mist from the Royal Arch Cascades.

(in heavy rain – two photos below from February 2017 – the white is not snow, it is rushing water – this section of trail can become an unsafe creek/river!)

multiple creeks flowing across a normally dry trail

water flowing in a trail during rainstorm

Compare the photo above to April 2017:

a trail with a little water flowing across it

Or make it a loop (to or from) the official Mirror Lake trailhead bus stop (to or from) the Majestic parking lot.

The trailhead is at the end of the main guest parking lot, just to the left of the red Valet parking sign shown in this photo:

trailhead just beyond a parking lot

At the start of the trail, right next to the parking lot, on the left hand side of the trail, you might be able to spot a rock where Yosemite indians ground acorns and left behind deep holes in the rock. (You could call it the original Ahwahnee kitchen.)
large flat rock by side of trail

To hike to Glacier Point via the Four Mile trail (4.8 miles one way, 3,200 foot elevation gain, not open all the way in winter) use the Camp Four / lodge day use parking stop #7 and take a short walk across the river at Swinging Bridge and slightly south/west on the main road to the trailhead. (This would be faster than using the summer only El Capitan shuttle.) There is very little parking at the trailhead.

map showing part of east Yosemite Valley

See a 360 degree view from Glacier Point down to Vernal and Nevada falls, and across to Half Dome at:


See a 360 degree view from the Four Mile trail:


Find a map of the Four Mile Trail at: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/fourmiletrail.htm

People who want to get a bus ride to Glacier Point and hike back down the Four Mile trail or the trail past Illilouette, Nevada and Vernal Falls, can do so in months when the road is open. The road has opened anywhere from April 14 to July 1, depending on snow pack. Book a one way ride on the Glacier Point tour, most years leaving 8:30 a.m. from the Lobby entrance to Yosemite Lodge, bus stop 8 http://www.travelyosemite.com/things-to-do/guided-bus-tours/

To hike to Vernal Fall (the top is 3 miles round trip, 1,000 feet elevation gain) Nevada Fall (the top is 5 miles round trip, 1,900 feet elevation gain) or Half Dome, (permit required) go to the Happy Isles stop #16. (There are pictures at Vernal Fall Mist Trail.) Or rather, to hike to Half Dome and back in one day, get up earlier than the buses run and make your way there. (You need a permit to go to the top of Half Dome http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hdpermits.htm )

You can go directly to the trailhead by walking from the Happy Isles bus stop across the bridge.

See a 360 degree view from Glacier Point down to Vernal and Nevada falls, and across to Half Dome at:


– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The Yosemite valley stable no longer offers horseback riding, you need to go to Big Trees Lodge (Wawona) usually May to early September. http://www.travelyosemite.com/things-to-do/horseback-mule-riding/ This is also where you can pay for a horse-drawn stage ride.

Ice skating start at stop #13B.

Free internet access / WiFi

is available at Degnan’s Kitchen (when not too many people are trying to use it). Subject to change, in the past it has been fee, not free and recently one webpage says it is free and another says it is fee . . .

and at the tiny Yosemite Valley branch of the Mariposa County Library in the Girl’s Club Building across a road from the main Visitor Center area. See the bottom left corner of the map below. The library is often only open a few days a week and usually not open on weekends. It has WiFi free on your device and usually two operable computers. Current hours, subject to change, are at:http://www.mariposalibrary.org/branches.html

map with Yosemite library, Girls Club, main visitor center

books on shelves, man working at a computer

You will find much easier access at whatever concession services facility is allowing people to pay for access (often the Lodge).
Details about fee internet access are at: http://www.travelyosemite.com/discover/travel-tips/cellular-service-internet-access/

(Guests at Half Dome Village, the Lodge and the Majestic (Ahwahnee) have free access, but not at all locations at those hotels.)

“From approximately late May through September, a daytime kennel is available at the Yosemite Valley Stable. You must provide written proof of immunizations (rabies, distemper, parvo, and bordetella) from your veterinarian. Dogs under 20 pounds may be considered if you provide a small kennel. No food is allowed, due to wildlife management concerns. Because of limited kennel space, advanced reservations are highly recommended. Contact 209.372.8326 for more information.” And all this is subject to change.

The laundromat is at Housekeeping camp, shuttle bus stop 12. To find the laundromat, bear left when you enter the Housekeeping parking lot.

Map showing Housekeeping Camp, the biggest beach, the pedestrian bridge over the river to other swim beaches, laundromat and showers:


Lost something on a shuttle bus, (or elsewhere in Yosemite)? https://www.nps.gov/yose/lostandfound.htm

The Mariposa Grove is not in Yosemite Valley. https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/mg.htm


for a 360 degree view of the Mariposa Grove go to:


for an article on the Mariposa Grove restoration with before and after pictures, go to:

and a video about the restoration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6KNJQfjBL0

The Pioneer Yosemite History Center, with a collection of historic buildings, covered bridge, horse-drawn stage rides and daily Ranger tours in warm months is at Wawona. Download a brochure:


You might sign up for a free or fee photo walk at the Ansel Adams gallery, but the walk could meet at the Majestic (Ahwahnee), check the park newspaper.

To go rafting,pay to rent a raft at stop 13B (see pictures above at stop 13B). If you have your own, more info is at: Yosemite Valley Rafting Advice

Raft rental reservations are advised, up to 80% of rafts are reserved the day before. http://www.travelyosemite.com/things-to-do/rafting/ You make them at the little kiosk next to Half Dome Village registration. You can spot the kiosk on the map at http://www.travelyosemite.com/media/524862/half-dome-village_property-map_web.jpg

Ranger talks, walks and evening programs meet at various locations, including in front of the main visitor center, in front of the Yosemite Museum, at a campground/amphitheater, at a shuttle bus stop, at the Lodge amphitheater behind the office, at the El Capitan Bridge, the Majestic (Ahwahnee) hotel shuttle stop or back lawn, check the park newspaper.

There are restaurants and cafeterias, pizzerias / grill / deli of various sizes and styles at Half Dome Village (Curry Village), Yosemite Village, The Majestic (Ahwahnee) and Yosemite Lodge. Links to menus for the restaurants are at the bus stop listings for each lodging above. The main grocery at stop #2 has premade individual meal-type salads with dressing packets, and whole or half grilled chickens, plus lots of sliced cheese/meats, crackers/breads, cookies to pack an impromptu picnic from.

(Fee) downhill ski and cross country ski/snowboard (free) snow shoe walk with a Ranger Naturalist, use the free winter bus to the ski resort from, usually in this order: Half Dome Village, Yosemite Village, The Majestic Yosemite Hotel and Yosemite Valley Lodge, usually with early morning and mid-morning runs to the ski resort and early afternoon and late afternoon returns. Expect this bus to run on a more rigid schedule than the free valley shuttle buses might.

To get a shower in the summer go to Housekeeping Camp or Half Dome (Curry) Village. In the winter only the Half Dome (Curry) shower house is open. From the Half Dome (Curry) Village bus stops, walk toward the large buildings. To the right, the biggest building houses the stores and a small food service. To the left of them is a service vehicles only road. Up that road a short distance on the right is the shower house (and swimming pool entrance in the summer). The map below shows bus stops 14 and 20, and the road to the shower house / pool:

map with a blue pool, bus stops and parking lot

The Yosemite valley stable no longer offers horseback riding, you need to go to Big Trees Lodge (Wawona) usually May to early September. http://www.travelyosemite.com/things-to-do/horseback-mule-riding/ This is also where you can pay for a horse-drawn stage ride.

Stargazing can be on your own or is offered during many summers above the valley at Glacier Point. Amateur astronomy clubs host star gazing at the Glacier Point Amphitheater (in cooperation with the park). The program is canceled if the sky is overcast.


a Night Skies video is at: https://www.nps.gov/media/video/view.htm?id=CFC7487A-1DD8-B71B-0B2096D9A0182056

Swimming has details about free for hotel and cabins guests, or pay a fee for others swimming pools with lifeguards and suggestions for swimming in the river in Yosemite Valley.

To volunteer in the park, go to: https://www.nps.gov/yose/getinvolved/volunteer.htm

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – to see WATERFALLS: – – – – – – –

Bridalveil Falls can be seen from viewpoint turnouts along Northside Drive on the drive out of the valley (including Valley View on the left hand side of the road just before you leave the valley, about the time you begin to see directional signs for highways leaving the park), at Tunnel View, at the east end of the Wawona Tunnel along the Wawona Road (Highway 41) and by a short walk from a official Bridalveil Falls parking lot on your way into Yosemite Valley, or by taking the summer-only El Capitan Shuttle (El Cap shuttle) and walking down southside drive to the official parking lot.

https://www.yosemiteconservancy.org/restoration-bridalveil-fall explains work on restoration of the Bridalveil Fall area.

Cascade Falls is located three miles east of the Arch Rock entrance station, on the left hand side of the road when you drive into the valley, with a parking area just before it on the right hand side.

Permit info for viewing February “natural firefall” at sunset, Horsetail Fall, is at: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/horsetailfall.htm

map showing roads, a river, designated parking and optimal viewing area for February Yosemite Horsetail fall a map of the optimal viewing area for this “natural firefall” is at:

a video is at: https://www.nps.gov/media/video/view.htm?id=FB33189C-F125-5646-87DC69A46F089202

Staircase Fall, (one of the first to dry up after spring flow) comes down from Glacier Point to Half Dome Village, stop # 13b, behind the cabins with bath, and can also be seen at the Half Dome (Curry) Village parking, stop 14 & 20, and from the back lawn of the Ahwahnee, stop #3 and various other places.

three sections of a cascade coming down a cliff as if down stairs

Vernal and Nevada Falls, as well as Illilouette Fall can be seen from Glacier Point (road open only in the summer/fall) or by trail from Happy Isles, shuttle stop #16.

Yosemite Falls can be seen from many viewpoints in meadows and along roads in Yosemite valley. To walk to the base of lower Yosemite falls, go to shuttle stop #6. To hike to the top of upper Yosemite Falls go to shuttle stop #7.

Yosemite Conservancy webcam of Yosemite falls is at: https://www.yosemiteconservancy.org/webcams

How much water will there be in the Yosemite waterfalls?

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – WEATHER REPORTS: – – – – – – –

Yosemite valley


Glacier Point:


Tuolumne Meadows:




White Wolf:


Mariposa Grove:




The Yosemite Guide newspaper, which you will be offered a copy of as you pay at an entrance station to enter the park, has hours of operation for visitor centers, museums, tours, stores, food service, post office, laundromat, showers, auto service, gas stations, and a calendar of park activities including Ranger walks.


Things to do during a Yosemite snow storm besides hiding in your tent uses the free valley shuttle bus.




Notes about bus stops for overnight accommodations

Half Dome (Curry) Village canvas tent cabins numbered in the 1100s, 700s and 600s are closer to stop 15 than to the Half Dome (Curry) Village stops #14 and #20. Half Dome (Curry) Village canvas tent cabins numbered 1- 9 and all of the wood cabins (numbered with a letter after the number, such as 1D, 8A or 22B) are closer to stop 13B than to the Half Dome (Curry) Village stops #14 and #20.

Yosemite Lodge buildings Laurel and Juniper are closer to the Camp Four bus stop #7 than the official Yosemite Lodge stop #8. Buildings Tamarack, Dogwood, Aspen, are about equal distance to the Lower Yosemite Falls stop #6.

map of Upper, Lower and North Pines campgrounds

Campers in Upper Pines campground in the higher numbered campsite loops (188 – 240 and 158 to 187) will find that it is a much shorter walk from the Happy Isles stop 16 to their campsite than from the official Upper/Lower Pines campground stop(s) 15/19 at the west end of the campground. This makes these campsites the best for a short walk back after a Half Dome or Mist Trail hike that took a bit longer than you expected and ended after the buses are running.

Campers in the lower half of Upper Pines and all of Lower Pines will find the stop at #15 gets them to their campsite faster than riding all the way to Happy Isles, the stop at the end of the road to Mirror Lake, past North Pines then finally getting off at the #19 stop at the entrance to Lower Pines.

(If you are heading into Upper Pines from stop 15, please don’t walk right through Upper Pines campsites 26, 27, 28 etc, at the end of the first loop after you get off the bus, please walk between the campsites and/or around the ends of the loops.)

Campers in the higher numbered sites in Lower Pines (60s 70s, 80s, etc.) will often find when there are lines for and waits for space on the buses at Half Dome (Curry) Village, it is more pleasant (and sometimes faster) to walk to their sites, using the boardwalk across Stoneman Meadow.

People at the valley backpacker’s walk-in (for camping the night before and/or after a backpack trip, wilderness permit required are told “you may park for 15 minutes at the entrance to the backpackers’ campground (in the back of North Pines Campground)” to unload gear, and then walk back out and “park overnight at the trailhead parking or at Half Dome Village (formerly Curry Village) day use parking.”

In spring in snowy years, the trail from the back end of North Pines (and over the footbridge) to the backpacker’s walk-in can be flooded with ankle deep or deeper water.

You might find it more convenient to park as directed at Half Dome Village (formerly Curry Village) day use parking, grab your gear and make sure there is no food /toiletries in your vehicle, get on nearby shuttle bus stop 20, then get off at the Ahwahnee (Majestic) stop #3, (maybe making a stop at the largest Yosemite Valley grocery at stop 2 on the way). You will find it is a slightly shorter walk from the Majestic (Ahwahnee) bus stop to backpacker’s walk-in campground than from the back end of North Pines IF you can find the way on the back road, but you have a topo map, right? And you won’t need to move your vehicle back and forth.

The Majestic (Ahwahnee) stop would also be a much shorter bus ride from backpackers walk-in to and from the main store, the cafeteria at the Lodge or to visit friends at Camp Four.

Food choices at the Majestic Bar (less dinner dress code than the dining room) are at: http://www.travelyosemite.com/media/690091/bar-menu_the-majestic-yosemite-hotel-bar.pdf and the chocolate truffles / a multitude of trail snacks are located in the Sweet Shop.

Backpacking advice



Notes about bus stops for people not staying overnight in Yosemite Valley – day use only

There are three large free day-use parking lots in Yosemite valley for people who are staying at hotels/campgrounds outside of Yosemite valley. Suggest that in the summer (or even spring – fall, especially on weekends and holidays) you get to the valley early in the morning to find a parking space.

You can use the shuttle bus map


to find stop 1 Visitor Center parking area (Village Day Use parking), stop 7 Yosemite Valley Lodge Day-Use parking and stop 14 with a smaller lot at Half Dome Village. (People parking at Camp Four MUST have a Camp Four camp space permit, 24 hours a day. Please use the lot across the road at Yosemite Lodge Day-Use parking.)

Bears do break in to vehicles in Yosemite National Park (all year) and food storage rules apply all over the park, as in this sign at a day-use parking lot:

A sign that says: Proper food storage required. Bears frequent this area. Vehicles in violation may be impounded and the owner may be cited. All food must be stored properly including ice chests, containers, toiletries, and trash. DURING THE DAY. Store food in a food locker if possible. Close vehicle windows if food is in your vehicle. DO NOT leave food visible in your vehicle. DO NOT store food in open bed of a pickup truck. AFTER DARK. All food must be stored in a food locker. DO NOT store food in your vehicle. NO CAMPING OR SLEEPING IN VEHICLES

In 2017 the park started experimenting with reservable parking spaces at Yosemite Valley Lodge Day-Use parking. “Reservations must be made 1 Day(s) ahead of arrival and can be made up to 5 Month(s) in advance. New dates are released in blocks, 1 Month(s) at a time.” Reservation fee was $1.50, “A $10.00 service fee will apply if you change or cancel your reservation. Late cancellations are subject to additional fees.”


Drivers should note that there are sections of road in Yosemite Valley with two lanes (usually) in the same direction, with the right lane ONLY for the free shuttle buses, ski bus, ambulances, commercial vehicles with ten or more passengers.

sign designating bus only lane

And there are many more crosswalks, often not at intersections, than you might be used to at home:

crosswalk painted on roadway

RVs: The Visitor Center parking area (Village Day Use parking) does not allow trailers or RVS,
sign that says Visitor Center parking area, no trailers or RVs
Rvs should head for the Yosemite Valley Lodge day-use lot or the RV parking area at Half Dome Village

(It is against the law to sleep overnight in your vehicle in a parking lot, by the side of the road, etc.)


There is little parking in Yosemite valley beyond your campsite, hotel area or day use parking. You can park along some roads, but if you park off the side of the road, not in a parking space, (as in the photo below, off road behind a large rock meant to deter anyone from parking there) you can get a parking ticket with a $200 + fine (orange ticket under the windshield wiper) in this photo:

car with an orange parking ticket

The main store in Yosemite Village (and other places in Yosemite) will have signs warning of time limits on parking and size of vehicles:

sign says 30 minute parking only, no RVs or trailers

and a warning you could be towed:

sign says no parking 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. tow-away zone

and please respect the other places that limit the time to park, giving others their time as well:

sign that says 15 minute parking loading unloading only



Other park buses outside of Yosemite Valley

A different bus runs to various stops at Tuolumne Meadows in the summer. It runs most of the day to stops at Tuolumne Lodge, trailhead parking near Tuolumne Lodge, Wilderness Center/parking lot, Lembert Dome, store/grill/campground, Visitor Center, trailhead for Cathedral Lakes at the west end of the meadows, Pothole Dome, the east (beach) end of Tenaya Lake, the west end of Tenaya Lake (also the Sunrise trailhead), the May Lake trailhead and Olmstead Point. Usual schedule: service begins at Tuolumne Meadows Lodge at 7 a.m. Buses arrive at approximately 30-minute intervals between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The last shuttle bus leaves Olmstead Point at 6:00 p.m. Most years the shuttle bus also makes two morning (9 a.m. and noon) and two afternoon (3 p.m. and 5 p.m.) runs from Tuolumne Lodge to Tioga Pass with a stop at Mono Pass. All this is subject to change. Look for route maps at the shuttle stops and Visitor Center and/or http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tmbus.htm

This bus was free for years, but see below for new rates from the Yosemite Newspaper (2016 and 2017).

“The Tuolumne Meadows Area Shuttle is now running for a fee, payable by cash only. There are a number of different stops between Olmsted Point and Tioga Pass, with varying fees. A few of the commonly asked about stops and fees are included below.

Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center to Tenaya Lake $4

Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center to Olmsted Point $6

Tuolumne Meadows Lodge to Tioga Pass $8

For more information contact the tour desks at Tuolumne Meadows Lodge, Yosemite Lodge or Half Dome Village.”

There is also a daily hiker’s bus in warm months with stops along the road between Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows. You can plan to start a day hike up in the high country and take a trail down to the valley, including the Snow Creek trail/Mirror Lake trail and Upper Yosemite Falls trail.


The Big Trees tram tour runs in the summer in the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. See the Yosemite Guide newspaper for info or call 209 375-1621.

There is also a free winter bus to Yosemite Ski and Snow area (Badger Pass) for skiing, snowboarding and the Ranger snowshoe walk. http://www.yosemitepark.com/badger-shuttle-schedule.aspx


El Cap Meadow Google maps street view (see the summer El Cap shuttle bus):



Driving times and distances from Yosemite Valley to dozens of places in California and a few in Nevada can be found at:



Yosemite driving / hiking distances

hiking distances for most Yosemite National Park trails can be found at:


Bridal Veil fall parking to Bridalveil fall .5 mile (.8 kilometers) round trip

lower Yosemite fall round trip from bus stop 1 mile (1.6 kilometers)

Mirror Lake round trip from bus stop 2 miles (3.22 kilometers) round trip

from Happy Isles bus stop to:

– Vernal Fall footbridge 1.4 miles (2.25 kilometers) round trip, 400 foot (122 meters) elevation gain

– top of Vernal Fall 3 miles (4.83 kilometers) round trip 1,000 foot (304 meters) elevation gain

– top of Nevada Fall 5 miles (8.05 kilometers) round trip 1,900 foot (579 meters) gain

Four mile trial to Glacier Point 4.8 miles one way, 3,200 feet (975 meters) elevation gain

Camp 4 to Columbia Rock 2 mile (3.21 kilometers) round trip, 1,000 feet (304 meters) gain

Camp 4 to top of Yosemite falls 7.2 miles (11.59 kilometers) round trip, 2,700 foot (823 meters) elevation gain


Yosemite driving distances

junction Big Oak Flat road and El Portal Road – Junction Northside and southside drives .9 mile

-Junction Northside and southside drives – junction El Cap crossover 1.4 miles

(Southside drive) junction El Cap crossover – junction at Sentinel bridge 2.7 miles

junction at Sentinel bridge to junction at Half Dome Village 1 mile

Yosemite Village – junction El Cap crossover 3.2 miles

Bridal Veil fall parking to far end of Wawona tunnel 1.6 miles

junction of Southside drive at Half Dome Village to start of Happy Isles road .4 miles

start of Happy Isles road to Mirror Meadow bus stop 1.2 miles

Mirror Meadow bus stop to junction at start of Happy Isles road .4 miles

junction of Southside drive at Half Dome Village to main day use parking .8 miles

Yosemite Village to Tioga pass road 18 miles

Tioga pass road to Tioga pass entrance station 47 miles

Tioga pass entrance station to Lee Vining 13 miles

junction Tioga pass road to Big Oak Flat entrance station 9 miles

Big Oak Flat entrance station to Hetch Hetchy 18 miles

Yosemite Village to Chinquapin Junction 14 miles

Chinquapin Junction to Glacier Point 16 miles

Chinquapin Junction to south entrance station 17 miles

Yosemite Village to Arch Rock entrance station 11 miles

Arch Rock entrance station to Mariposa 34 miles


Driving times from Yosemite Valley (if you are not behind a slow moving vehicle or snow plow, or in backed-up traffic that is trying to leave Yosemite valley in the afternoon) :

Wawona/Mariposa Grove: about an hour

Glacier Point: about an hour

Crane Flat: 30 minutes

Hodgdon Meadow/Big Oak Flat Entrance: 45 minutes

Hetch Hetchy: 1.5 hours

Tuolumne Meadows: 1.5 hours

Tioga Pass: 1.75 hours


FAQ: I can find Camp 4, but what are people referring to when they talk about Camp 11 or Upper Tecoya??

Yosemite Place Names has locations and/or information about Camp 1, Camp 2, Camp 3, Sunnyside Walk-in Campground, Swan Slab Meadow , Columbia Boulder, (or Big Columbia), Camp 6, Camp Tresidder, Camp 7, Lower River Campground, Camp 8, Camp 9, Camp 11, Clark’s Campground, Camp 12 , Camp 13, Camp 14, Camp 15 , Upper River Campground, Camp 16, Camp 17, Camp 20, Lamon Campground, Happy Pines Campground, Yosemite All-Year-Round Hotel, Ahwahnee 6th floor roof garden and dance hall, Library Suite, Sunroom, golf course, Naval Special Hospital, Ash Can Alley, Basket Dome, Boy’s Town, Bug Camp, Camp AE Wood, Camp Yosemite, Camp Lost Arrow, Chinquapin, Chowchilla Mountain Road, Crane Flat Complex, Tamarac Complex and Mariposa Complex, Curry dump site, Curry orchard, Devil’s Bathtub, El Cap Crossover, Ferguson rock slide, Fort Yosemite, Gentry Station, John Muir Hotel, Kenneyville, Great Sierra Wagon Road, La Casa Nevada, Alpine House, Le Conte Memorial, McCauley Cabin, Miller Cascade, Miwok round houses, Monroe Meadows, Northside Drive, Ostrander Ski Hut, Ranger’s Club, Rancheria Flat, Railroad Flat and Abbieville (Hennessey’s Ranch), River Straight, Southside Drive, Stoneman House, Taft Toe, Tecoya (Upper, Middle and Lower), Thousands Cabins, Too-lool-a-we-ack, Train Wreck, Village Drive, Wahhoga (or Wah-hoga), Wosky brown, Wosky Pond.