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, which runs in all kinds of weather and has maps of the areas at the bus stops.

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

hints to save time using the shuttle bus,

notes about bus stops for overnight accommodations,

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

art classes, bike rentals, bike paths, campsite availability, grocery store, hikes, horseback riding, ice skating, free and fee internet access, laundromat, lost and found, photo walk, rafting, Ranger talks/walks/evening programs, restaurants, showers, swimming, waterfalls and links to local weather reports.

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(These other routes do not run all year:

A second 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 Camp 4 bus stop across the road), El Capitan picnic area, Bridalveil Fall 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.

Another summer Express Shuttle runs from main day use parking to the Visitor Center, often from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., every 20 minutes.

Other free summer buses include Wawona/Mariposa grove, and there is a free winter bus to Yosemite Ski and Snow area (Badger Pass) 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. YARTS takes people into Yosemite valley/Tuolumne Meadows from many nearby places in California. (See some links near the end of this page.)

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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, including winter/spring 2017, the main free 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 as much as a half hour off the time needed to get to their destination. Plus, the best stops for some activities and 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

and is in the newspaper Yosemite Today that you can get as you enter the park, BUT the route printed in the newspaper might be out of date spring 2017 due to seemingly constant changes in road construction and closed roads.

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:

(Map below courtesy of NPS)

map of Yosemite Valley shuttle bus routes

Below the The bus stops usually are (list of stops) are tricks to save time using the shuttle bus.

moving rainbow line:

moving rainbow line:

The route described below changed Sept. 6, 2016 and will stay changed until road construction work at the Village Day-Use Parking Area (south) also known as Camp 6, is completed winter or spring 2017.

As of March 15, 2017, the section of Northside drive between Half Dome Village/campgrounds and the Village (where the main grocery store is) is closed to repair a multitude of potholes, until “work is scheduled to end May 26.” (VERY subject to change). The road over Sentinel Bridge is one way from Southside Drive to Northside Drive.

There are two free shuttle bus temporary routes, again, VERY subject to change.

– – – one goes to all the stops in order, (except 1, 10 and 11), and takes the same detour autos use, from the Lodge / Camp 4 down to El Cap crossover and then up to Half Dome Village and the campgrounds, taking about 45 minutes to an hour for the whole loop.

– – – A second free shuttle bus route goes back and forth between the Majestic, Visitor Center, etc. and the Lodge.

The free shuttle bus route/stops have changed more than once since the work started.
I am leaving this list for the original stops here during the fall/winter/(spring?) 2016-7 construction since the stops are mostly the same, it’s just the routes that have changed.

moving rainbow line:

moving rainbow line:

The Yosemite valley main shuttles run every ten to 20 minutes, depending on the time of day, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. In seasons other than summer buses sometimes run every 30 minutes.

The bus stops usually are:

Stop 1 has been relocated for the road work to a temporary parking lot in the old Upper River campground. See the official map at https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/valleyshuttle.pdf

It will eventually return to:

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1) Visitor Parking (Day use parking lot) just south of Yosemite Village

This stop also has a summer stop for the express bus to and from the main visitor center.

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2) Yosemite Village In 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, fresher produce in larger groceries near home, so bring your own. See also a list of usually stocked over-the-counter medications below at the Medical Center info.

cases of fruits and vegies

gifts Yosemite Village store: refrigerated grocery case of packaged food

map below courtesy of NPS

Yosemite village map 400 pxls courtesy of NPS:

Next to the store is the Art Activity Center https://www.yosemiteconservancy.org/yosemite-art-center with lessons and programs “for artists of all ages and abilities”, usually open late March through October.

Behind the store and across the back parking lot and across a road is the Village Garage (see center right of the map above), 209/372-1060, 8am – 5pm, / 24 hour AAA, CSAA towing available. Propane service available until 4:30 p.m. The mechanics can handle most minor emergency repairs such as radiators, water pumps, brakes and tire repairs. They can tow within the park (CSAA/AAA towing included) but do not have a tow truck that can handle big RVs.

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). 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)”.

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, this list from April 2017) brand name and some generic, (adult and in some cases children’s) pain relief (aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen), allergy, stomach upset, cough syrups and lozenges, including Afrin, Alka Seltzer, Beano, Benadryl, Dayquil, ExLax, Gas Ex, Imodium, Lactaid, Meta Mucil, Nyquil, Pepto Bismol, Preparation H, Tagamet, Tums, Zantac, and small first aid kits/Band-aids.

This medical clinic is not a full hospital. The nearest, with 24 hour / 7 day a week care, is John C. Fremont hospital in Mariposa, at least an hour drive from Yosemite valley. http://www.jcf-hospital.com/

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

Below, the view from the free shuttle bus stop looking toward the Majestic (Ahwahnee) porte-cochere.
looking from Ahwahnee bus stop towards porte-cochere:

The shuttle stop is not on the map of the hotel, but would be just outside of the upper left hand corner of this map:
http://www.travelyosemite.com/media/381354/majestic-yosemite-property-map_web.jpg

People who are not guests at the hotel can dine there. Menus are at: http://www.travelyosemite.com/lodging/dining/the-majestic-yosemite-hotel/

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

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

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5) main Valley Visitor Center

Park rangers on duty to answer questions, exhibits, park info presentations, and bookstore with maps, books, postcards, posters, clothes (with discounts for Yosemite Conservancy donors). Restrooms are located between the Visitor Center and the Indian Cultural Museum.

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 and then 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.

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

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:

The Indian Cultural Exhibit, Village of the Ahwahnee, is behind the visitor center. Sometimes staff present programs about Ahwahneechee skills and culture.
https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/historyculture/indian-village-of-the-ahwahnee.htm

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.

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

lower Yosemite Fall walkway map:

The river is in blue, loop trail is in brown, the bridges over the river are in tan, the main road 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. The red dot is the restrooms and picnic area.

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 trail.

From the far west pathway (or from the 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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mSNY3TdDZ4

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 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 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 has been under water at times.

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

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7) Camp 4 near the 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 Camp 4 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 and sandy beaches. Across the bridge is a large picnic area with tables, grills and accessible vault toilets.

NPS photo swinging bridge swim area

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

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

Map below courtesy of NPS

yosemite lodge map:

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

http://www.travelyosemite.com/media/381353/yosemite-valley-lodge-property-map_web.jpg

People who are not guests at the Lodge can swim in the pool for a fee:
http://www.travelyosemite.com/things-to-do/swimming/

People who are not guests at the Lodge can dine there. Menus are at:
http://www.travelyosemite.com/lodging/dining/yosemite-valley-lodge/

Cooking in/around 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.

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9) (Closed during the Fall 2016/Winter & Spring 2017 road construction.) Valley Visitor Center (right across the street from stop #5)

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10) (Closed during the Fall 2016/Winter & Spring 2017 road construction.) Across the street from stop #2 at the main grocery in Yosemite Village

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11) (Relocated to the chapel during the Fall 2016/Winter & Spring 2017 road construction.) Sentinel Bridge / chapel (walk across the bridge to the Yosemite Chapel)

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

https://www.google.com/streetview/#us-parks-trails-and-beaches/yosemite-national-park-cooks-meadow-loop

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12) 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, 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:

http://www.travelyosemite.com/media/330396/housekeeping-camp-property-map_web.pdf

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.

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13A) Half Dome (Curry) Village recreation rentals bike and or raft rental in summer.

Some years the bike rentals are not with the rafts, but you can ask at the raft rentals or the little kiosk next to registration. You can spot the kiosk on the map at http://www.travelyosemite.com/media/524862/half-dome-village_property-map_web.jpg

To go rafting, get off at one of the two raft rental (recreation rental) stops. This is whether you want to rent a raft or have your own. 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

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13B) Half Dome (Curry) Village registration front office. Pay phones outside.

Some years the bike rentals are not with the rafts, but you can ask at the little Tour Kiosk next to the front office.

map of the kiosk/cabins/pool/restrooms/grill/lounge:

http://www.travelyosemite.com/media/524862/half-dome-village_property-map_web.jpg

People who are not guests at Half Dome Village can dine there. Hours/ basic descriptions of food services can be found at: http://www.travelyosemite.com/lodging/dining/half-dome-village/

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14) Half Dome (Curry) Village parking (across the road from stop 20). 365 day a year shower house and summer swimming pool on the right up the service vehicles only road from the parking lot. People who are not guests at Half Dome Village can swim in the pool for a fee:
http://www.travelyosemite.com/things-to-do/swimming/

The permanent ice rink was removed winter 2017 and replaced with a seasonally installed portable ice rink which promptly flooded in heavy rains and was closed, at first temporarily, then it did not reopen. When in operation it is located in the parking lot near stop 14. http://www.travelyosemite.com/winter/half-dome-village-ice-skating-rink/

Some winters the buses do not run to stops (15, 16, 17 and 18) on the Happy Isles loop road, when they do run they may stop after a major snowfall.

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15) Upper Pines campground, near the trailhead parking lot (across the road towards Half Dome (Curry) Village from the campground).

map of upper pines: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/pinescombined.pdf

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16) Happy Isles with restrooms, a nature center, a fen (marsh), and up the road across a bridge, 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.

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17) Mirror Lake junction (service sometimes ends earlier than other stops)

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18) North Pines campground and stable, You can no longer ride horses in Yosemite Valley, go instead to the Wawona (Big Trees) stable.

map of Lower, Upper and North pines:

https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/pinescombined.pdf

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

map of Lower, Upper and North pines:

https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/pinescombined.pdf

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

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21) Half Dome (Curry) Village recreation rentals bike and/or raft rental in summer, right across the street from stop #13A

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Bus logistics and courtesies

– – – Most drivers prefer you wait until everyone has finished getting off before you get on.

– – – 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 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.)

– – – 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.

shuttle bus standees:

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.

If you had come from the Pines campgrounds 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 back to the campgrounds. If you did you would need to ride the whole 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 bus that stops at stop #10.

If you had come from the Pines campgrounds and stopped at a Half Dome Village (Curry) restaurant or store 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 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.

Curry Village shuttle bus stop:

If you had come from the Lodge to the Valley Main Visitor Center it would be a mistake to try to go directly back to the Lodge by getting on a bus at the stop you got off at. Walk across the road for a much faster ride.

Coming from Half Dome Village (Curry) and the 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 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) 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, 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.

Notes about bus stops for overnight accommodations

map of Pines campgrounds:

https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/pinescombined.pdf

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 to their campsite than from the official Upper/Lower Pines campground stop(s) at the west end of the campground.

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 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.)

Campers in the higher numbered sites in Lower Pines (70s, 80s) 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 use the night before and / or after a backpack trip, permit required) will find it is a slightly shorter walk from the Majestic (Ahwahnee) bus stop than from Lower Pines or North Pines IF you can find the way on the back road, but you have a topo map, right? The Majestic (Ahwahnee) stop would also be a much shorter bus ride to and from the main store, the cafeteria at the Lodge or to visit friends at Camp Four. Backpacking advice

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 than the official Yosemite Lodge stop. Buildings Tamarack, Dogwood, Aspen, are about equal distance to the Lower Yosemite Falls stop.

Here are the bus stops for the following Yosemite Valley activities:

(small fee) spring / summer art classes usually meet in front of the art center quite near the main store in Yosemite Village check the park newspaper

Bike rentals are at Half Dome Village and the Lodge (next to the pool) , spring through fall. Find a way to bring our own, rentals are (as of March 2017) $12 an hour or $34 a day. (With an attached trailer $20.50 an hour, $63 a day.) Most years they say that bike rentals start at 9 a.m., last bike out at 4:45 p.m. and bikes need to be back in by 5:45 p.m.; with your own you can ride early and late into the day. Reservations only available for ADA bikes. Rental bikes must stay in Yosemite valley.

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 or the paved pathway to lower Yosemite Falls.

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:
https://www.nps.gov/yose/blogs/frontcountry-biking-accident-halts-visitors-backcountry-plans.htm

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

https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/campground-status.htm

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

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.

To go to a grocery store you have a few choices. The main store in Yosemite Village (stop 2) 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. For hours check the park newspaper

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hiking advice

A Yosemite Conservancy Naturalist can be hired to lead your choice of a custom hike:
https://www.yosemiteconservancy.org/custom-adventures/day-programs

trail conditions: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/conditions.htm#trails

Yosemite Valley hike map:
https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/valleyhikes1.pdf

Wawona hike map
https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/wawonahikes.pdf

Crane Flat and White Wolf hike map, including the Tuolumne Grove nature trail and the location of the Fallen Giant and Tunnel Tree:
https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/cfwwhikes.pdf

To walk to Bridalveil Fall .5 mile (.8 kilometers) round trip, use the summer El Cap shuttle

to see a 360 degree view of Bridalveil Fall go to:
https://www.google.com/streetview/#us-parks-trails-and-beaches/yosemite-national-park-bridelveil-falls-trail-1

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. Upper Yosemite Fall hike

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

https://www.google.com/streetview/#us-parks-trails-and-beaches/yosemite-national-park-upper-yosemite-falls-trail

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 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 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:

https://www.google.com/streetview/#us-parks-trails-and-beaches/yosemite-national-park-glacier-point-trail

See a 360 degree view from the Four Mile trail:

https://www.google.com/streetview/#us-parks-trails-and-beaches/yosemite-national-park-four-mile-trail-1

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. leaving 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) Happy Isles stop. (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:

https://www.google.com/streetview/#us-parks-trails-and-beaches/yosemite-national-park-glacier-point-trail

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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/

Ice skating see stop #14.

Free internet access is available 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. This is very limited (often not open on weekends) and you will find much easier access at whatever concession services facility is allowing people to pay for access (often the Lodge). (Guests at Half Dome Village, the Lodge and the Majestic (Ahwahnee) have free access.)

map with Yosemite library, Girls Club, main visitor center

Details about fee internet access are at: http://www.travelyosemite.com/discover/travel-tips/cellular-service-internet-access/

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:

http://www.travelyosemite.com/media/330396/housekeeping-camp-property-map_web.pdf

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:

https://www.google.com/streetview/#us-parks-trails-and-beaches/yosemite-national-park-mariposa-grove

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:

https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/pyhc.pdf

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, get off at one of the two raft rental (recreation rental) stops. This is whether you want to rent a raft or have your own. 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 of various sizes and styles at Half Dome Village (Curry Village), Yosemite Village, The Majestic (Ahwahnee) and Yosemite Lodge. Links to menus for them are at the bus stop listings for each lodging above.

To get a shower in the summer go to Housekeeping or Half Dome (Curry) Village. In the winter only Half Dome (Curry) 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). Map of the pool/restrooms/grill/lounge:

http://www.travelyosemite.com/media/524862/half-dome-village_property-map_web.jpg

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/

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

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 parking lot on your way into Yosemite Valley, or by taking the summer-only El Capitan Shuttle (El Cap shuttle).

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.

Staircase Fall, (one of the first to dry up) comes down from Glacier Point to Half Dome Village, stop # 13b, behind the cabins with bath, and can also be seen from the back lawn of the Ahwahnee, stop #3.

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

http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lon=-119.61292&lat=37.73639#.WOVKuGe1vct

Glacier Point:

http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lon=-119.57500&lat=37.72725#.WOVLMme1vcu

Tuolumne Meadows:

http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lon=-119.35666&lat=37.87522#.WOVLm2e1vct

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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.

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

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

https://www.google.com/streetview/#us-national-parks-and-historic-sites/yosemite-national-park-el-capitan-meadow

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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 the Yosemite Daily Report July 5, 2016:

Tuolumne Meadows Area Shuttle Rates Now Apply

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 Wilderness Center to May Lake Trailhead $8

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.

http://www.travelyosemite.com/media/399880/tuolumne-hikers-bus_rates_schedule_2016.pdf

For info on the YARTS bus to and from Yosemite Valley (hotels and main Visitor center) via Sonora, Fresno, Merced, Mariposa, El Portal, Mammoth Lakes, Le Vining, Tuolumne Meadows and more call 1-877-98YARTS. http://yarts.com/routes-schedules/

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

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

https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/mileages9-2007.pdf

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Yosemite driving / hiking distances

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

https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/trailheads.pdf

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

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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

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Driving times from Yosemite Valley (if you are not behind a slow moving vehicle or snow plow) :

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

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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 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, Boy’s Town ,Bug Camp ,Camp Yosemite, Camp Lost Arrow, Chinquapin ,Crane Flat Complex, Tamarac Complex and Mariposa Complex ,Curry dump site . Curry orchard , Devil’s Bathtub, El Cap Crossover , Fort Yosemite, Gentry Station, John Muir Hotel, Kenneyville ,Great Sierra Wagon Road, La Casa Nevada, Alpine House, Le Conte Memorial, Miwok round houses, Monroe Meadows, Northside Drive, Southside Drive, Ranger’s Club, Rancheria Flat, Railroad Flat and Abbieville (Hennessey’s Ranch), River Straight, Stoneman House, Taft Toe, Tecoya (Upper, Middle and Lower), Thousands Cabins, Too-lool-a-we-ack, Village Drive, Wahhoga (or Wah-hoga), Wosky brown, Wosky Pond.

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Yosemite trips index