Yosemite Valley free shuttle bus

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

two buses across the street from each other

sign on end of bus that says Free hybrid shuttle

This webpage describes the main year-round route, and has maps of the areas at the bus stops, as well as a few trail maps from some of the 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 (start of the trail), 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 and air quality reports.

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


In May 2022, the Yosemite valley shuttle bus routes changed from one short route during covid,
to a fuller route, (but not the original route) and a secondary route.

Here is the new map, courtesy of the park service:

simple map

see a larger copy at: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/images/valleyshuttle.png

Please consult the park webpages for the most current info, as changes can be frequent. And please note that I will not update this page as promptly as the park changes their page: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/publictransportation.htm

You can read updates on how COVID 19 will affect your Yosemite visit:


The new routes are a result of the Yosemite Valley Traffic Circulation Pilot.

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

Converting Northside Drive to one-way westbound from the Yosemite Village parking area to Yosemite Valley Lodge, so that both travel lanes may be used to exit Yosemite Valley.

Changing the four-way intersection near Curry Village to a three-way intersection without stop signs

Removing stop signs and reconfiguring the two Sentinel Drive intersections at Northside and Southside Drives

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

The new (as of May 2022) Yosemite Valley free shuttle bus routes are:

Valleywide shuttle: (in green on the map above). This route serves all stops in Yosemite Valley, including lodges, food service, campgrounds, and trailheads. Buses arrive every 12 to 22 minutes from 7 am to 10 pm.

East Valley shuttle: (in purple on the map above). This route is limited to Yosemite Village, Curry Village, Pines campgrounds, and trailheads in eastern Yosemite Valley. Buses arrive every 8 to 12 minutes from 7 am to 10 pm.


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These other public transportation routes do not run all year:

And in the winter there is a free bus to the Yosemite ski resort (Badger Pass) for
(fee) ski/snowboard (free or very low cost) snow shoe walk with a Ranger naturalist
that has a more strict schedule than the main year-round free shuttle bus. The winter free bus leaves (most years) at 8:05 a.m. from bus stop at Curry Village, in front of the Stoneman building. (No pickup at the campground, but this first pickup is only about two blocks (if on foot) away from the campground.) Shortly after that (8:10 a.m.) from a covered bus stop adjacent to the garage in Yosemite Village, then from the Ahwahnee Hotel at shuttle stop #3 (8:15) and last early morning pickup from the Yosemite Lodge hotel Porte Cochère at the front desk (covered driveway in front of the hotel (8:30).

Sometimes in March through November, a free shuttle provides service from the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza, near South Entrance, to the Mariposa Grove. There is no shuttle service between Wawona and the Mariposa Grove for the general public. The welcome plaza has about 300 parking spaces and may fill up by late morning. https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/mg.htm

(Fee) tours include the usually open air valley floor tour (also known as the Green Dragon), Glacier Point tour, 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/ (subject to some routes being closed due to mudslides or forest fires).

YARTS bus stops, routes, consult the interactive map at: http://map.yarts.com/ which includes nearby RV parks. The Yosemite valley stops are often at the same bus stop/ or next to/near some bus stops for the free valley shuttle.

And at one of the stops, look for the blue sign with white lettering, the same logo as on the sides and/or front of most of the YARTS buses:
sign that says YARTS

bus and people lined up to get on
Connections to Greyhound buses, Amtrak Railroad passenger service and local airports are available.

A few buses may have a “special” sign at the front indicating they are for a tour and not open to the general public.

sign with two bus drawings and the word special

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a narrow band of sunset reflected on the water
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

People used to be able to drive around Yosemite valley and find small parking lots at each of the visitor centers, trailheads (the start of a trail), stores, restaurants, etc. When the valley became crowded, (especially crowded in warm months), the park got rid of most of the parking lots for park visitors at the visitor centers, etc. (with the exception of a few parking spaces for people with a handicapped permit).

People are now asked to, in effect, Park and Ride: park their car at their campsite or hotel or one of three large day use parking lots, leave it there, and ride the shuttle, ride bikes or jog / hike / walk / stroll.

Except when road repairs are being done or during the winter in snowy/icy conditions (when some road sections might be closed), or when a bus is too full for more passengers, the main free Yosemite Valley Visitor Shuttle buses drive the same route, making stops in numerical order. The shuttle buses usually run during government shutdowns.

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 in the Yosemite Guide newspaper https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/guide.htm which you will be offered a copy of as you enter the park, or you can print in advance of your vacation.

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

(Map below courtesy of NPS)

Here are stops described below at this webpage:

simple map

Note that road construction, rock slides, excess snow, (yes snow, even in April) can affect the times/routes.



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.


Please also see Bus logistics and courtesies below to make your use of the shuttle buses less frustrating.


(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.

thin line of various colors of rocks

The bus stops usually are:


1) Yosemite village parking (Valleywide Shuttle AND East Valley Shuttle) at a turnout just off of the roundabout (one way circular roadway), is a large Day Use parking lot (see map). This day use parking lot is also known as “Camp Six”. It is just south of Yosemite Village, about a five minute walk.

In the photo below the round-about is in the upper right and shuttle bus stop number one, at the edge of the Village visitor parking lot, is in the lower left:

aireal photo of roadway and part of a parking lot

It can sometimes / often be faster to walk north to the biggest Yosemite grocery, Valley Visitor Center, museum, Post Office, and Village restaurants than to wait for a bus, especially during high usage times. (See descriptions of these at stops 2, 4 and 5 below).

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

In the photo below of bus stop #1, you can see, in the foreground, a vehicle entering the round-about from the east, (the direction of the Pines campgrounds).

circular roadway, bus and truck

Drivers might also want to consult the Parking and traffic jams in Yosemite valley tips and tricks.


2) Yosemite Village (Valleywide Shuttle AND East Valley Shuttle) A little down from the front of the main grocery store

and Village Grill.

outside tables with umbrellas

(Google street view (photo you can rotate) of the Village Grill deck – outside seating).

Yosemite Village menus, and see restaurant details.

The main store has the biggest selection of food and gifts, toys, Yosemite logo clothes. It has some of each type of food you might expect at a grocery at home including prepared main dishes, sandwiches, prepared salads with a dressing packet, snacks, deli items, diary, bakery items, frozen foods, cooking gear and much more. (You will find a bigger selection of lower cost, sometimes fresher produce in larger grocery stores 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 with bus stops, roads buildings

The Sport Shop shown in the above map is closed, to be remodeled into a Welcome Center (visitor info center). Detailed drawings and info is at:
and note that the Village Store parking lot is impacted by the construction. On Jan. 10, 2022 the park announced:
“Yosemite Valley Welcome Center Construction Beginning, Pedestrian Detours

After an extensive two-year design phase, construction on the Yosemite Valley Welcome Center will begin in late January 2022. The contractor will stage their operations in the south end of the Village Store parking lot. The adjacent South & North Parking Lot project will also stage in this area. Pedestrians moving between day-use parking and Yosemite Village will be detoured around the project site. The Village Grill will operate this spring and summer. Construction will continue through spring 2023.”

With the Sport Shop gone, visitors still have the Mountain Shop at Curry Village, (not open all year) near stop 14, with a large selection of outdoor gear and dehydrated food. Where to rent and return bear canisters is at: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/bearcanrentals.htm

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). Details about 24 hour towing within the park, propane service, emergency repairs, how to use your Auto Association card to get their help, electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and more are at Yosemite garage, car repairs and towing.

There is no bus stop for the Yosemite valley Medical Clinic (see upper right hand corner of the Yosmite Village map above) but it is a short walk from the main grocery store on the road to the Ahwahnee Hotel. Hours can change, but usually open M-F 9-5 (additional weekend hours some summers, for example, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. seven days a week, walk-ins until 6:30 p.m.) closed major holidays and when the doctor is out of town, but with 24 hour/seven days a week ambulance, and sometimes when the doctors must be out (due to Radiography Training, or . . .). Registered Nurse on duty to provide nursing advice. 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” (they can be without X-ray capability from time to time due to staffing limitations), 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. Parking at the Medical Clinic is only for customers, no day use parking is allowed. Medical Clinic Phone: 1 (209) 372-4637.

Read current Yosemite Medical Clinic details, including hours open, services offered and 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.”

A map of Historic Old Yosemite Village, including buildings existing around 1925 and still standing in 1956, (with a “laundry and Chinese help quarters,” and dynamite storage) can be found at:



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

This next photo is from the Merced River Plan (look for page H-27), showing where 114 Ponderosa and 117 Cedar trees will be removed to restore views towards Half Dome at Church Bowl . . .”large trees help buffer the impact, and potential damage, of rockfall by absorbing some of the force and rock debris. Most of the trees currently obscuring the view are outside of the rock fall zone, on the south side of the road and not effective in protecting any structure. No trees on the north side of the road within the rockfall hazard zone will be removed.”

road, meadow and skyline

When a helicopter needs to land in the Ahwahnee meadow 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). A National Geographic video of President Barack Obama’s 2016 visit includes a segment taken of the president’s helicopter landing in the Ahwahnee meadow.)

In this photo you can see a few parking spaces in a row alongside the road and the stripes for no parking on the other side of the road:

And also note
Ahwahnee Meadow, El Capitan Meadow, Big Meadow, and Tuolumne Meadows are
closed to kite flying regardless of size. This restriction is necessary to ensure the safety of low flying aircraft being used in SAR (Search and Rescue), medical, fire, or other emergency situations.”

Deer can often be seen in the Ahwahnee Meadow at times of the day when there are few people:
three deer, one looking up, two eating


3) The Ahwahnee Hotel (Valleywide Shuttle only) 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 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 YARTS sign you see in the photo is covered up or removed when YARTS does not stop there.)

bus stop #3

The shuttle stop, the Sweet Shop with the chocolate truffles, restaurants (and a link to the menus),

descriptions and pictures of rooms, cottages, suites, balconies

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, which you usually receive a copy of when you enter the park, or you can download / read before your trip.


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. (Valleywide Shuttle only)

In the photo below, on the right, there is a shuttle bus at stop 4:
tables in front of a building

The upstairs Loft has a large fireplace in season:

tables chairs fireplace large window

Menus are at: http://www.travelyosemite.com/lodging/dining/yosemite-village/ and see restaurant details.


Google maps 360 degree street view of stop 4.

Degnans family history.


5) main Valley Visitor Center and Museum (Valleywide Shuttle only)

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).

visitor center building

Even when the visitor center is closed (early morning or overnight or during government shutdowns) you can find a lot of info about trails, with color aerial photos with trails marked at two displays outside the visitor center, to the right in the photo above. And / or you can download an App with “information about park services and programs, as well as an interactive map designed to help visitors locate iconic features, scenic spots, trailheads and amenities. . .”

“. . . Most app content can be downloaded before arriving in the park and used offline in areas of limited cell service”

app on a cell phone


In 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

A Yosemite Conservancy magazine has pictures of the “Climbing and Stewardship” educational exhibit in the Valley Visitor Center.

“The exhibit begins with a 9-by-12-foot image of El Capitan, stitched together from more than 2,000 photos and overlaid with climbing routes. The huge photo prompts a question: How can an exhibit capture big-wall climbing in the confines of the visitor center? After all, an average ascent of 3,000-foot-tall El Capitan takes three to five days! The exhibit team landed on key themes, including climbing history, life on the wall, techniques, safety and stewardship. . . . Where do big-wall climbers sleep? What tools are necessary for a safe and successful climb? The exhibit includes gear from past and present, such as a heavy-duty “haul bag” and a portaledge — a suspended platform climbers set up as a cliffside camping spot. In addition to featuring photos, stories and historical artifacts, the exhibit invites visitors to learn the basics of climbing techniques and terminology, and to test out their problem-solving skills, just like climbers do on a wall.”

Two films play every half hour 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 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

museum entrance with cross section of tree

and a re-creation of an umacha, a Miwok and Paiute cedar bark house.museum entrance with umacha cedar bark house

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.

display case of baskets
see also Yosemite Basketry weaving, function, design.

3 baskets of different designs
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, with a Chief’s House, sweathouse, ceremonial roundhouse and more. Sometimes staff present programs about Ahwahneechee skills and culture.

Yosemite Indian Village self guiding trail map

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, Yosemite Village 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 and June 2018, March 2019 we got 4 bars for Verizon and 3 bars for AT&T near the main visitor center, versus 2 bars for each at the Ahwahnee and 2 bars Verizon, 1 bar AT&T in Upper Pines campground, at the Yosemite Valley Lodge and Curry 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. ”

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

across from the Valley Administration Building, is the 2 story ranger dormitory, Rangers Club.

fireplace and couches

table and bookshelves

This housing is not open to the public, but you can watch a video at:
https://www.nps.gov/media/video/view.htm?id=417B13FB-EBD0-920A-2533312860078167 or take a look at a Yosemite Conservancy article 100 Years of the Ranger’s Club.

And see: from Architecture in the Parks, A National Historic Landmark Theme Study
Ranger’s Club https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/harrison/harrison12.htm


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). (Valleywide Shuttle only)

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. (Note where on the map it says: “the dotted portion of trail is not wheelchair accessible.” This is because of a short, steep grade near the viewing area, the last 180 feet include a slope of 13.8%.)

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.

“Choosing to leave the trail and scramble in boulders below waterfalls can have a costly outcome. Is getting closer really worth the risk?”


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 This may be one of the best views of Yosemite Falls you will get. But there are many more Yosemite Falls photo locations.

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

I suggest to people that they stop when walking on the pathway to Lower Yosemite Fall, look at the upper fall, imagine it with full flow in the winter and then imagine the wind catching and holding the flow. Conservationist John Muir, who built a cabin in a tree near the base of Yosemite Falls, wrote about a winter storm when this happened and he counted to 190 before the wind stopped holding the water. Read what he wrote about the experience at:
Upper Yosemite Fall held stationary in mid-air.

Yosemite Nature Notes video about Yosemite falls:


A quick walk you should not miss is in the vicinity. (Or it can be a long walk if you start the Cook’s Meadow loop from here.) 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 (Superintendent’s Bridge).

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

When you first step up the stairs onto 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 1937, 1964, 1950, 1955, and 1997. Read more at: Yosemite floods display on Superintendent’s Bridge

metal sculpture with various years on it


7) Yosemite Valley Lodge / Yosemite Falls parking lot day-use parking lot (Valleywide Shuttle only), no longer right across the inner hotel road from the hotel office, but farther down towards the day-use parking lot.

(Previously there were 2 stops for the Lodge and the parking lot.)

This stop is the closest to (across the main road -Northside Drive- from) Camp 4 (Sunnyside) walk-in campground with shared campsites and shared food lockers,

rows of tents and bearboxes

and the trailhead to Columbia Rock / Upper Yosemite Falls. See this map of Camp 4 .

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.

The trailhead for the Upper Yosemite Falls hike and 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” are on the far side of the campground. There is fascinating reading on how climbers can avoid injuries/stay alive, by YOSAR (Yosemite Search and Rescue) Ranger John Dill, at: climbing advice

Read about climbing regulations with practical advice on how to follow the rules at: http://www.climbingyosemite.com/services/regulations/

(As of fall 2017: “the (Camp Four) parking lot is being expanded, bringing the capacity to 130 vehicles. . . 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.”)

A short walk from stop 7 is Swinging Bridge (which does not swing anymore) 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.

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

Map of Yosemite Lodge showing the swimming pool, bike rentals pick-up area, shuttle bus stop #8, now named stop 7 and moved, small grocery (labeled “gift shop” on the map):

map of buildings, pool

See current larger map with the pool, restaurants, restrooms, ATM, and shuttle stop

Guests of the Yosemite Lodge and people who are not guests at the lodge can rent a bike there. Rentals are often offered at the Lodge for a longer season than at Curry Village. 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 lodge. Details and photos of the Mountain Room, Mountain Room Lounge, Starbucks (formerly the coffee corner) and Base Camp Eatery (formerly the Food Court) are at the Yosemite valley restaurants page along with links to menus.

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 restrooms, picnic tables but without fire grates, across Northside Drive from the Lodge.


8) El Capitan Picnic area (Valleywide Shuttle only)
(in the vicinity of El Capitan)


9) El Capitan Meadow (Valleywide Shuttle only)


10) Cathedral beach (Valleywide Shuttle only)


11) Trailhead to the Four Mile Trail (Valleywide Shuttle only)

map showing part of east Yosemite Valley


There is no longer a bus stop at Sentinel Bridge / chapel

A bus stop to access it is Yosemite Village day use parking (stop 1) (map) )

From the bridge go across southside drive 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.
photographers standing in snow on a bridge with Half Dome in their photo

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

NPS photo of Half Dome with a reflection in river,

See more places to get a photo of Half dome.

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.

The often recommended Cook’s Meadow loop or figure eight walk / stroll can include this bridge.


12) Housekeeping Camp /YCHC – Yosemite Conservation Heritage Center (formerly LeConte Memorial Lodge) (Valleywide Shuttle AND East Valley Shuttle)

YCHC has a library, children’s corner, displays, occasional programs.

Photographer Ansel Adams was a caretaker for the LeConte Memorial Lodge for a few years. (The Ansel Adams gallery is near the visitor center at shuttle stops 5 and 9.)

and see: From Architecture in the Parks, A National Historic Landmark Theme Study

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:


Details about, and photos of Housekeeping Camp accommodations are at Yosemite valley overnight accommodations.

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 14 Curry Village is employee housing.

27 “one- and two-story structures providing housing and shared common spaces and a wellness center.”



There is no longer a bus stop at the ice rink
ice skater Yosemite rink: pay to skate near stop 14.

There is no longer a bus stop at Curry Village recreation rentals

Pay to rent a raft near stop 14 or most years at any Yosemite Valley hotel tour desks/kiosks.

Some years your raft rental pickup was at Curry Village recreation rentals

raft rentals:

some years, farther down the road.

big rafts in a row, people standing behind them

If you have your own raft, Curry Village recreation rentals was the closest place to walk with your raft to the river, but now you might want to have a foldable luggage cart. More info is at: Yosemite Valley Rafting Advice


14 Curry Village (Valleywide Shuttle AND East Valley Shuttle)

There used to be a stop (#13) in front of Stoneman Cottage, (Stoneman is on the right in the photo below).

roadway and bus stop, two buildings

Guests at Curry Village and people who are not guests at Curry 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 and the park service limits the total number of rafts rented each day and the number of rental rafts on the river at any time is limited. 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 showing places at Curry Village

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

rows of bikes and tent cabins behind

Parts of some winters the ice rink is only open Friday / Saturday. 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. It was closed part of February 2019 due to a huge, long snow storm that closed all roads in and out of Yosemite Valley for days. 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 usually available and usually free), at the tour kiosk near the Curry Village (briefly named Half Dome Village) room registration office (see map above). https://www.travelyosemite.com/winter/curry-village-ice-skating-rink/

and at the Curry Village website, a map of the kiosk, cabins, pool, restrooms, grill, lounge, Mountain Shop and Mountaineering School, parking:


People who are not guests at Curry Village can dine there. Hours / basic descriptions of food services at the Pizza Deck, Coffee Corner, Curry Village Dining Pavilion, Meadow Grill, Chuck Wagon BBQ and Curry 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: https://www.travelyosemite.com/dining/curry-village-dining/

The Mountain Shop at Curry Village, about equidistant between stop 14 and the main office, has a large selection of outdoor gear and dehydrated food. Where to rent bear canisters is at: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/bearcanrentals.htm

Details about, and photos of Curry Village accommodations, including Cabin 819 and Stoneman Cottage two-story rooms, are at Yosemite valley overnight accommodations.

Lots of details to make your stay in a Curry Village tent cabin more fun are at: Yosemite valley tent cabins tips and tricks


14) Curry Village parking (across the road from stop 19). On some maps this day use and Curry Village guest parking lot is named Apple Tree Orchard Visitor Parking.

Google maps street view (photo you can rotate) of part of the Curry Village parking lot.

If you will be parking here, see the map of the Curry Village day use and guest parking lot. (On some maps the day use and Curry Village guest parking lot is named Apple Tree Orchard Visitor Parking.)

There is advice at Parking and Traffic Jams in Yosemite valley tips and tricks.

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

map with pool in between buildings

large swimming pool with umbrellas and lounge chairs poolside

Guests at Curry Village swim and use this main shower house for free and people who are not guests at Curry 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 or due to ice, the buses do not run to stops (15, 16, 17 and 18) on the Happy Isles loop road.


15) Upper Pines campground, (across the road towards 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:

sign on wall says track tales

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:

Webcam of the river at Happy Isles https://www.nps.gov/customcf/webcam/dsp_webcam_image.cfm?id=81B46521-1DD8-B71B-0BB6424139EC91BE

There is an outdoor exhibit on the geologic story of rockfalls in Yosemite. A multitude of photos from the October 2008 rockfalls above Happy Isles that eventually closed 233 Curry Village cabins, etc. and 43 staff housing units can be seen at:


Yosemite Valley rockfalls has year-in-review rockfall reports starting with 2008, and rockfall safety tips from the Wilderness Safety Action Team.


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.

The map below shows the loop trail to Mirror Lake from stop #17 (but also see an alternative trail from the Ahwahnee at stop 3 shown about half way down the webpage at this hotel map).

map showing cliffs, trails on Mirror Lake loop

Five routes to Mirror Lake are described at Mirror Lake trails and maps.


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:


18) 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:


19) Curry Village (westbound) (at the main parking lot) (right across the road from stop 14)


thin line of various colors of rocks

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.

Everyone should enter the bus at the front door.
No one should get on at the back EXIT ONLY doors unless the driver says it is okay.

two doors that say exit only

Because the lines can get a bit long, and some people try to crowd on before others who have been waiting longer, you might find ropes and stanchions as an organizer for the line, with signs for which end to enter the lines and which end will get on the bus.

stanchions and ropes

– – – Most bus drivers prefer you 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 / stroller 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:

yellow line on bus floor

You can stand off-side of the main isle at the back step, but just not in the area where the back doors open/close, yellow in the picture below:

yellow painted section of bus floor

(Code of Federal Regulation Title 49, section 393.90 is where the stand behind the yellow line / bar rule can be found.)

– – – Keep children under control. Running or horseplay on the bus, including standing on the seats, can be dangerous.

– – – 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 reportedly 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 or argue with them, no matter how rude or obnoxious they are. You are in a tight, reduced space and others don’t want to share your conflict. Let the bus driver deal with rude or obnoxious passengers. Hey, you are on vacation, and the ride will be short.

sign that says no pets allowed on Yosemite buses

– – – no dogs (or any pets) are allowed on the shuttle buses (or on trails).

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

or this coyote walking just outside the fence at a Yosemite swimming pool:

coyote behind fence railings
or even more fun, picture your off leash dog wanting to greet a skunk, such as this one on the grounds of a Yosemite hotel (photo courtesy of Harold (Harry) Bradbury):

skunk photo courtesy of Harold ( Harry) Bradbury

thin line of various colors of rocks

To save time using the shuttle bus:

The Valley wide shuttle bus goes to stops 1 through 19 in that order all day ( 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the summer. The East Valley bus also goes in numerical order all day as well, but to fewer stops.

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 map of the two Yosemite bus routes stops to help you make sense of the time saving tricks below:

simple map

If you had come from the Pines campgrounds, Curry 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 wrong 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 hour or longer to get back. Be sure you notice whether the bus is a Valleywide Shuttle OR an East Valley Shuttle.

Below is a picture of a bus at stop 2, with people walking across the street to the store:

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

If you had come from the Pines campgrounds (stop 18) and stopped at a Curry Village restaurant or store (stop 19) 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 Curry Village parking, stop number 14 on the left and stop number 19 on the right.

Curry Village shuttle bus stop:

Coming from the big Yosemite Village day-use parking lot at stop #1, or from Curry Village, 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 Ahwahnee Hotel (stop 3) and back, unless you need some of the chocolate truffles at the Ahwahnee Sweet Shop.

Guests at the Lodge or 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, (most years, please consult a current map) cross the road at Curry to the other bus stop for a shorter ride back.

From the Ahwhanee to the main grocery and the Visitor Center, Ansel Adams Gallery, you should get off the bus at stop #4. But after your exploring, to return directly to the hotel, if you get on again at stop 4 you will have a long ride. Instead, get on at stop 2, opposite the store for a much shorter ride.

Given how long the wait can be for a bus in the winter it can be faster to walk between the 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.

If you parked at the Yosemite Village Day Use parking lot and want to go to stop #16 to see Happy Isles or do a Vernal Falls, Nevada Falls or farther hike, you should be careful to get on one of the East Valley shuttles NOT a Valleywide.

The park service estimates the average walking time (walking directly with no stops for photo taking, to look at scenery/birds, etc.) between bus stops to be:

stop 7 (Yosemite Falls / Yosemite Lodge parking lot) to stop 5 (Yosemite valley visitor center) 20 minutes. But since the only bus to get on at the Lodge runs the entire length of the route to El Capitan and back to get to the visitor center, the walk could be much faster

stop 1 (Yosemite Village Day use parking lot) to stop 5 (Yosemite valley visitor center) five minutes

stop 1 (Yosemite Village Day use parking lot) to stop 3 (the Ahwahnee hotel) 25 minutes

stop 1 (Yosemite Village Day use parking lot) to stops 14 & 19 (day use parking in Curry Village) 25 minutes

stops 14 & 20 (in Curry Village) to stop 16 (at Happy Isles) 20 minutes

rocks packed together

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 (stop 16).

watercolor pad and drawing

The Conservancy also offers private art classes which you need to book in advance. https://yosemite.org/experience/private-art-classes/ “Whether you’re planning for a class field trip, a youth program, corporate outing, or a family vacation, our art programs are a fun, accessible way to get to know Yosemite. Spend a couple of hours exploring nature through drawing, painting, pastel, or sketchbook journaling — choose the activity that fits your group!”

You can buy a Yosemite poster or art work online from the Yosemite Conservancy https://shop.yosemite.org/

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 stop 5.

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


To report a Bear incident or sighting, call the Save-A-Bear Hotline at 1 209-372-0322 or e-mail yose_bear_mgmt@nps.gov

2 adults and a child riding bikes

Bike rentals, helmet included in the price, are at Curry Village (see map at stop #14) and the Lodge (next to the pool, see map at stop #7), and at a stand some years located next to the Village Store, spring through fall, some years as late as November. Sometimes bike rentals shut down for the winter season but reopen briefly for a holidya weekend if the wetahe is nice. Find a way to bring our own bike, rentals are (ALL of the following is subject to change) as of late 2021, (higher prices some previous years) $32 a day. (With an attached trailer $55 a day.) Most years they say that bike rentals start at 8 a.m., last bike out at 3:45 p.m. and bikes need to be back in by 4:45 p.m.; (“Hours may vary based on the weather”) 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:

– Wearing a bike helmet won’t keep you out of an accident, but according to a report in the American Journal of Surgery, riders with helmets were less likely to die from their injuries, and less likely to break facial bones, and have 52 percent lower risk of severe traumatic brain injury. Unfortunately, less than half of the millions of Americans who ride bicycles wear bicycle helmets. Those who do wear them are more likely to be white, female and insured. (In Australia, Finland, New Zealand, Dubai, parts of Canada and many other places, bicycle helmets are mandatory in all states and territories for all ages.)

The Yosemite Conservancy offers a bike share, with bikes available at campgrounds. “Visitors can use a mobile app to unlock a bike . . .”



Photos of over a hundred Yosemite birds are at:
You can download a Bird Checklist which lists all the common and uncommon birds in Yosemite, with bar graphs indicating the “relative abundance of a species in suitable habitat at a given time of year.” And find a listing of special status birds (endangered, species of special concern . . .).

Campground reservations: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/camping.htm

and see Yosemite Valley overnight accommodations.

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, 2021 we got 3 bars for Verizon and 3 bars for AT&T near the main visitor center, versus 2 bars for Verizon and 1 bar for AT&T at the Ahwahnee, 2 bars Verizon, 2 bars AT&T in Upper Pines campground, 4 bars Verizon, 1-2 bars AT&T at the Yosemite Valley Lodge and 2 bars Verizon, 1 bar AT&T at Curry Village. Outside of Yosemite valley, at the Tuolumne Grove, Olmstead Point and Badger Pass were 1 bar Verizon, zero bars AT&T. Glacier Point and the top of Half Dome usually have 3 bars Verizon, 2 bars AT&T.)

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

You can’t walk your dog everywhere or let him run un-leashed anywhere. Pets are not allowed on unpaved trails, but are okay on paved roads and most paved bike paths. Dogs and all other pets “must be restrained on a leash not more than six feet long or otherwise physically restrained.” https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/pets.htm

The park service notes that Electric vehicle (EV) charging stations are located only in Yosemite Valley: one at the (see stop #2) Village Garage, one at (stop #3) the Ahwahnee Hotel as well as one Tesla charging station at the Ahwahnee. “You do not need to be a guest at the hotel to charge your vehicle, however, you must move your vehicle from the space once it is finished charging.”

Fishing regulations are at: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/fishing.htm

There are no gas stations in Yosemite valley. You can pay 24 hours with your credit or debit card at El Portal (30 minutes from Yosemite valley), Crane Flat (30 minutes from Yosemite valley) or the Big Trees Lodge / Wawona (about an hour from Yosemite Valley) stations. (Rarely the gas pumps are not available, for example when Mariposa County inspects the fuel tanks a downtime of 2 or 3 hours can be expected and when Fuel bank systems are being upgraded stations will not be open for business on the day of installation.)

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 (stop 2) has a larger selection, but the grocery at 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 Ahwahnee 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.

sign with an image of a dog with a red diagonal stripe through it, and an image of a bike with a diagonal red stripe through it
Bikes and pets are not allowed on unpaved trails, but are okay on paved roads and paved bike paths.

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 valley wide shuttle. From the El Capitan Meadow area stop # 9 or Cathedral Beach stop #10 go west on paths to the Bridalveil Fall parking area. Once at the Bridalveil Fall parking area, the walk is .5 mile (.8 kilometers) round trip. (after construction is finished).

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.

NPS map of short walk to Bridalveil fall in Yosemite Valley

Places to take pictures of Bridaveil Fall

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 Yosemite Falls day use parking lot (and Camp Four) 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 walk the circle or figure eight of

Cook’s Meadow

see: four routes for this walk hike with this view:
Waterfall and cliffs

To hike to Mirror Lake

and beyond to the Snow Creek trail

the trail along the cliffs below the Royal Arches, (across the parking lot from the Ahwahnee hotel, the top dotted line on the map below) is longer but can be much more pleasant and less crowded than the paved road from stop 17.

map showing trails and bus stops for the Mirror Lake trail, Yosemite

At the start of this trail, in some months, you can see and feel mist from the Royal Arch Cascades or may be walking in water.

(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 February 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 17 (to or from) the Ahwahnee 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

If you start up the trail and decide it is too wet for you,

man walking on very wet or partially submerged steps across a creek

you can turn around, then turn left and walk the dirt/paved road through the valet parking lot, through some storage and on to where it deadends at a “T” intersection with one of the paths to Mirror Lake, then turn left, perhaps after walking out on the bridge to take a look at the river.

The map below shows the loop trail to Mirror Lake from stop #17, a second route to Mirror Lake:

map showing cliffs, trails on Mirror Lake loop

Five routes to Mirror Lake are described at Mirror Lake trails and maps.

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) There is very little parking at the trailhead, but you can use the Yosemite Falls day use parking lot at shuttle 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 shuttle.)

map showing part of east Yosemite Valley

A Google street 360 degree view from Glacier Point down to Vernal and Nevada falls, and across to Half Dome.

topographical type map showing cliffs, trail, road

Read more at the park service page: 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 to go to the top of Half Dome) 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.

map showing Yosemite trails roads and shuttle bus stop 16 to Vernal and Nevada Falls
You can go directly to the trailhead by walking from the Happy Isles bus stop across the bridge and turning right.

A Google street 360 degree view from Glacier Point down to Vernal and Nevada falls, and across to Half Dome.

To hike to a fairly close-in view of the base of or to the top of upper Yosemite Falls

(2 miles round trip, 1,000 feet elevation gain to Columbia Rock), then on to upper Yosemite Fall (7.2 miles round trip, 2,700 feet elevation gain), Yosemite Point or Eagle Peak (Three Brothers) use the Yosemite Falls day use parking lot/ Yosemite Lodge 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:


rockfall warning sign Yose falls trail:

Where did they get those photos of Yosemite falls?

The Glacier Point hiking map includes drawings of and descriptions of trails to / around (easy) Glacier Point, Mc Gurk Meadow, (moderate) Dewey Point, Taft Pint and the fissures, Sentinel Point, Taft Point / Sentinel Dome loop, (strenuous) Four Mile Trail, Panorama Trail, Mt Starr King View, Ostrander Lake and Pohono trails.

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

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.

Hotels You have a number of lodging choices of where to stay overnight in Yosemite Valley (wood walled cabin without a bath / heated or unheated wood floored, canvas sided and roofed tent cabin / cabin with a bath / luxury or generic hotel rooms, suites or campsites).

wood-walled cabin without a bath, canvas tent cabin, wood walled cabin with a bath

Hotel room with a bath

Ice skating start at stop 14 or 19..

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 historic Girls 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 (occasionally the Lodge).

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

(Guests at Curry Village, the Lodge and the Ahwahnee have free internet access, but not at all locations at those hotels. They might find a note in their reservation: “Please be aware that Wi-Fi can be limited due to the remote area. Please download any information prior to your arrival.” OR “Please be aware that we have mountain Wi-Fi. Please download any information prior to your arrival.”)

“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.

NPS regulation: “Kite flying is limited to kites measuring less than 1,300 square inches and which are tethered by string or similar material less than 150 feet in length. Ahwahnee Meadow, El Capitan Meadow, Big Meadow, and Tuolumne Meadows are closed to kite flying regardless of size. This restriction is necessary to ensure the safety of low flying aircraft being used in SAR, medical, fire, or other emergency situations.”

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)?
You can submit a lost and found form



The Mariposa Grove is not in Yosemite Valley or in the town of Mariposa. https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/mg.htm has info on the free shuttle, a great map with locations of a small accessible only parking lot, trails (noting those that are wheelchair accessible or okay for horses) and mature Sequoia trees by name, including the Bachelor and Three Graces, the Faithful Couple, the Grizzly Giant, California Tunnel Tree, Galen Clark Tree, Telescope Tree and the Clothespin Tree. Please remember that “the climbing or attempting to climb any giant sequoia tree (Sequioadendron giganteum) is prohibited.”


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


about the restoration:


You will be offered a copy of the Yosemite Guide newspaper Yosemite Guide newspaperas you pay at an entrance station to enter the park, (or you can read, download or print in advance). It 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.

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 Ahwahnee, check the park newspaper.

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

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

To go rafting,pay to rent a raft near stop 14. 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 Curry 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, 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 Curry Village, Yosemite Village, the Ahwahnee and Yosemite Lodge. Links to menus for the restaurants are at the bus stop listings for each lodging above and at restaurants. 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.


index to over a dozen park webpages with park laws, rules, regulations, policies and prohibitions about pets, bikes, permits, campground regulations, food storage, smoking, speed limits . . . and much more.

(Fee) downhill ski and cross country ski/snowboard and (free or very low cost) snow shoe walk with a Ranger Naturalist, use the free winter bus to the ski resort from, usually in this order: Curry Village, Yosemite Village, the Ahwahnee 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.

The most Sequoia trees (not actually Redwood trees) are at the Mariposa Grove (see Mariposa Grove links above).

To get a shower in the summer go to Housekeeping Camp or Curry Village. In the winter only the Curry Village shower house is open. From the 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 (blue rectangle):

map with pool in between buildings

NPS regulation: “skating, skateboards and similar devices
•The use of roller skates, skateboards, roller skis, coasting vehicles, or similar devices are allowed only in the following areas:
•Yosemite Village Mall
•Bicycle paths in Yosemite Valley . . .
• Campgrounds

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

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

Learn about night skies / stargazing at: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/nightskies/upload/Junior-Ranger-Night-Explorer_2016-2018-2.pdf

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.

See details about places to take photos of Bridalveil Fall.

NPS map of short walk to Bridalveil fall in Yosemite Valley

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.

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 (or no permit, depending on the year) info for viewing February “natural firefall” at sunset, Horsetail Fall, this year 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 Curry Village, stop # 13 (13b), behind the cabins with bath, and can also be seen at the Curry Village parking, stop 14 & 20, and from the back lawn of the Ahwahnee, stop #3

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

and a boardwalk leads across Stoneman Meadow across the road from the day use parking lot (lower right corner of this photo) to Lower Pines Campground:

roadway, large meadow and boardwalk

With one of the best views of Staircase Falls, here in full flow in May:

waterfall cascading

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. See details about places to take pictures of Yosemite Fall(s).

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

How much water will there be in the Yosemite waterfalls?

Best places to see wildflowers (with pictures) are at: https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/nature/wildflowerviewing.htm

thin line of various colors of rocks

Notes about bus stops for overnight accommodations

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 Curry Village, it is more pleasant (and sometimes faster) to walk to their sites, using the boardwalk across Stoneman Meadow.

roadway, large meadow and boardwalk

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 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 Curry Village day use parking, grab your gear and make sure there is no food / toiletries / scented fish bait / old french fries under the seats in your vehicle, get on nearby shuttle bus stop 20, then get off at the Ahwahnee 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 Ahwahnee bus stop through the parking lot, and Valet parking lot, then make a left and along a paved back road 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, Yosemite Valley map in the park newspaper, right? And you won’t need to move your vehicle back and forth.

The 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 Ahwahnee Bar (less dinner dress code than the dining room) are at: https://www.travelyosemite.com/dining/the-ahwahnee-dining-room/
Chocolate truffles / a multitude of trail snacks are located in the Sweet Shop. Hotel map.

Backpacking advice

thin line of various colors of rocks

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

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

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 and miss out on waiting in the long lines at the entrance stations.

When you find parking, take a picture on your smart-enough phone of your parking space /vehicle from a few steps away, so you will be more likely to be able to find it. Note which bus stop / store. etc. you were closest to.

Here is a map of the three main day use parking lots:

map with roads, river and parking lots locations

The free shuttle bus stops at each of them. There are sometimes a few reserve-able day-use parking spaces.


See details and advice at Parking and Traffic Jams in Yosemite valley tips and tricks.


sign that says park in stalls only

a sign that says: warning bear damage is common in this parking area

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

thin line of various colors of rocks

Other park buses outside of Yosemite Valley

The Mariposa Grove has a free shuttle most warm months of the year: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/mg.htm

A different bus runs to various stops at Tuolumne Meadows in the summer. When it is in operation, (sometimes June to September, sometimes not at all or not all of each 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 recent rates, $1 per trip to much more for longer routes.



These next buses run on a much more strict schedule than the free Yosemite Valley shuttle and fee Tuolumne shuttle described above. People who do not plan ahead to get to where the bus departs from in time have found themselves left behind.

There is a (fee) 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 hike a trail down to the valley, including the Snow Creek trail/Mirror Lake trail and Upper Yosemite Falls trail.


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


In answer to questions: The Yosemite Valley free shuttle bus does not go to Half Dome, little Yosemite Valley, Vernal Fall or Nevada Fall (you must hike to them) but it does go to many places you can photograph Half Dome.

The Yosemite Valley free shuttle bus does not make a stop near Bridalveil Fall (you must drive to near it and walk to it or hike to it) but it does go to many places you can photograph it.


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

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

row of rocks carved into brick shapes

– – – – – – – – WEATHER and Air Quality REPORTS: – – – – – – –

Yosemite valley weather report:


Glacier Point weather report:


Tuolumne Meadows weather report:


Wawona weather report:


White Wolf weather report:


Mariposa Grove weather report:


Is that pollution from a nearby or far away forest fire, ozone and fine particles from other sources to our west? Yosemite National Park’s air quality page has answers and NOAH maps: https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/nature/aqmonitoring.htm Campfires are banned in Yosemite Valley parts of some days of the year, see campground regulations.

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

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

bear with ear tag

NPS bear tracks: bearlogo: from the Keep Bears Wild program NPS bear tracks:
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 Curry Village (briefly named 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 Curry 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 Curry 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


stones forming a wall
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.