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Planning Your Visit


Yosemite is located in central California and is about the size of the state of Rhode Island. Open year-round, the park includes 263 miles of roads, 800 miles of hiking trails, 240 species of birds, 80 species of mammals, 1400 species of flowing plants and 37 types of trees. Elevations in the park range from 2,000 feet to 13,000 feet. Although its most famous for its Valley, Yosemite National Park is over 1,170 square miles of which 95% is designated as Wilderness. The park welcomes over 3.5 million visitors a year. Please see the information listed below on getting to Yosemite, entrance fee, park newspapers, getting around Yosemite, weather, maps, tips for travelers and visitor directory.

Getting to Yosemite
The closest airport to Yosemite is the Fresno-Yosemite International Airport location in downtown Fresno, approximately 2 1/2 hours south of Yosemite. The next closest International airports are located in Sacramento and Oakland; both are approximately 4 hours drive.

Driving from the San Francisco Bay Area
Distance: 175 miles (from Pleasanton)
Driving Time: 3 ½ to 4 hours
Merge onto I-580 from I-680.
Merge onto I-580 East toward Stockton for 20 miles.
Merge onto I-205 East toward Tracy for 14 miles.
Merge onto I-5 North for 1 mile.
Merge onto CA-120 East toward Manteca for 5 miles.
Merge onto CA-99 South toward Modesto/Merced for 55 miles.
Merge onto CA-140 East toward Mariposa for 68 miles.
Enter the park through the Arch Rock Entrance (West Gate).
Continue on CA-140 for 12 miles toward the Valley Floor.
Driving from Sacramento/Reno/Lake Tahoe
Distance: 205 miles (from Sacramento)
Driving Time: 4 to 4 1/2 hours
Take I-5 South toward Stockton for 50 miles.
Merge onto CA-4 East toward downtown Stockton
for 5 miles.
Merge onto CA-99 South toward Modesto/Merced for 70 miles.
Merge onto CA-140 East toward Mariposa for 68 miles.
Enter the park through the Arch Rock Entrance (West Gate).
Continue on CA-140 for 12 miles toward the Valley Floor.

Driving from Fresno
Distance: 95 miles
Driving Time: 2 1/2 to 3 hours
Merge onto CA-41 North toward Oakhurst for 60 miles.
Enter the park through the Wawona Road Entrance (South Gate).
Continue on CA-41 for 35 miles toward the Valley Floor.


Driving from Los Angeles Area
Distance: 250 miles (from Gorman)
Driving Time: 5 1/2 to 6 hours
Take I-5 North toward Bakersfield.
Merge onto CA-99 North toward Fresno for 155 miles.
Merge onto CA-41 North toward Oakhurst for 60 miles.
Enter the park through the Wawona Road Entrance (South Gate).
Continue on CA-41 for 35 miles toward the Valley Floor.

For door to door directions to Yosemite Village (Yosemite Valley Floor) please click here.


Entrance Fee
Yosemite National Park and its entrances are open 24-hours a day 365 days a year. The entrance permit fee is $20 per car and $10 per hiker, bicyclist or noncommercial bus passenger and is valid for seven consecutive days. Entrance is free if you have the 12-month Yosemite Passport ($40) or the 12-month Golden Eagle Passport for federal parks and recreation areas ($65), both of which may be obtained at park entrance stations. Park entrance stations except cash and major credit card but no checks.


Park Newspapers
Yosemite Guide offers current seasonal information on Yosemite news, camping, hiking and backpacking, Valley day hikes and visitor safety. Yosemite Today contains a complete schedule of park programs including guided hikes, ranger talks, kids' programs and special events. Both are available at park entrance stations and visitor centers. To preview these publications prior to your trip please click the following links:
Yosemite Today and Yosemite Guide


Getting Around Yosemite
Personal automobiles are allowed on all paved roads throughout Yosemite National Park. Due to limited parking space in Yosemite Valley carpooling is recommended. Once in Yosemite Valley, visitors are encouraged to park their vehicles and use the free shuttle bus that stops at over 20 locations throughout Yosemite Valley. Rental cars or taxi service are not available in Yosemite Valley.

  • Gas Stations: Please note there are no gas stations in Yosemite Valley. The closest two gas stations are located in El Portal on Highway 140 (approximately 15 miles from Yosemite Valley) and in Wawona on Highway 41 (approximately 35 miles from Yosemite Valley). Both of these stations are open 24-hours a day and except debt and credit card. The next closest gas stations are located in the town of Oakhurst on Highway 41 and in the town of Mariposa on Highway 140.
  • Rental Cars: Rental cars are available in local towns near Yosemite as well as at the Fresno airport. The following rental car agencies are located at the Fresno-Yosemite International Airport: Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz and National/Alamo.
  • Shuttle Bus: Yosemite Area Regional Transit System (YARTS) offers individual and group fares for motorcoach service into Yosemite from numerous gateway communities. Once in Yosemite Valley, visitors may take the free Yosemite Visitor shuttle. The shuttle system serves all lodges, restaurants, shops, most of the major Valley trailheads and most points of interest including the Valley Visitor Center and Yosemite Museum. Please see current issue of Yosemite Today for shuttle stops listing and hours of operation.
  • Parking: Parking in Yosemite Valley is limited. The two main parking lots are located at the Yosemite Village and at Curry Village. Both parking areas are accessible by the Yosemite Visitor Shuttle. Please remember wherever you park please do so on paved roads and help keep Yosemite wild.
Weather
Yosemite typically enjoys a warm, dry summer; a mild, pleasant spring and fall; and a cool winter. Higher elevations receive lots of snow, but the valley tends to get far less. Whatever the season, be prepared for any type of weather by dressing in layers. For the latest weather conditions please click here


Maps
Yosemite Valley maps are available at all park entrance stations, the Valley Visitors Center and at most lodges. For an electronic version of a map of Yosemite Valley please click here


Tips for Yosemite Travelers
  • Bring It With You. Read and carry with you your Yosemite Today newspaper and Yosemite Guide book given to you at the entrance gate. These free and useful tools are designed to be easily “stuffed” in a backpack or purse for easy access.
  • Carry Water. No matter what the season, it is always a good idea to carry and drink plenty of water.
  • Start Early…or Late. During popular spring and summer months arrive at popular destinations early or come in the late afternoon. These are the best time to see wildlife, hear birds or waterfalls and avoid crowds.
  • Park and Ride. Make use of the free shuttle bus system in Yosemite Valley. Often a good strategy is to take the bus one way and walk back. Park tours are also an excellent way to see the sights while letting someone else drive.
  • Carry a Flashlight. Yosemite’s nightscape can be spectacular as its sites by day, especially on the nights of a full moon. To preserve the beauty of the night sky, lighting in the park is kept to a minimum. Always carry a flashlight.
  • Learn Something New. Yosemite has a number of excellent museums, visitor centers and trailhead exhibits. Don’t forget the rangers…Yosemite’s ranger programs led by staff dedicated to sharing their love of the park with you.

Visitor Directory
A brief directory of useful phone numbers and websites for your reference.
General Park Information (recording) (209) 372-0200 or www.nps.gov/yose
Road and Weather Information (209) 372-0200 or www.nps.gov/yose/now/conditions.htm
Guest Facilities and Services (209) 372-1000 or www.yosemitepark.com