Get the Most from Your Yosemite Experience
With a bit of planning and some helpful tips, your experience at Yosemite National Park will be easier, safer and more fun. We recommend looking through all of the tips below as you plan your trip. Also familiarize yourself with Yosemite’s seasons, which can be quite different than what you experience at home. During winter months, check for road conditions and tire chain requirements. With a great plan and a smart way to get from place to place, you’ll be ready to start exploring the moment you arrive.
Getting Around Yosemite Valley
Go Green—Ride the Bus
Park your car when you arrive and enjoy the ease and convenience of our complimentary shuttle buses. Our eco-friendly shuttles will take you throughout Yosemite Valley. Best of all, they’re completely free!
Avoid the Rush
In the peak season—during the warmer months and during school vacations—the roads in Yosemite Valley can be busy. But if you get an early start and are out the door before 9:00 am, you’ll be surprised to find few other cars on the road. When evening comes, the pace slows again by 7:00 pm. There are countless wonderful places to stay right at Yosemite, but for visitors entering and leaving the Valley, we recommend getting on the road early in the morning or after close to sunset when road congestion won’t be an issue.
Don’t Depend on Your GPS
While GPS navigation and online directions are great for driving America’s highways, they’re often not dependable in the Park. We recommend using good paper maps and planning your routes within the park ahead of time. Don’t use any directions that recommend Chowchilla Mountain road on your way to Yosemite, as it’s a rutted dirt road that requires a four-wheel-drive vehicles. Instead, use Highway 41.
Use the Turnouts
Yosemite National Park is filled with curvy, steep roads. Fortunately, there are turnouts along the side of most roads where you can safely pull over to take in the view and snap some photos. If you find yourself driving along slowly in awe of your surroundings and cars are behind you, please pull into a turnout to let other cars pass.
Explore on Two Wheels
Bicycling is the easiest and fastest way to get around Yosemite during the summer. Several miles of paved biking paths let you skip the traffic and explore the park with the sunshine on your back. You’ll even be able to ride the loop to Happy Isles and the road to Mirror Lake, which are closed to cars without handicapped placards.