Tioga and Glacier Point Roads Closed until late May (approximately)
The Tioga Road (Highway 120 through the park) and Glacier Point Road are closed due to snow.
The Mariposa Grove Road usually reopens sometime in April.
Not just a great Valley...
but a shrine to human foresight, strength of granite, power of glaciers, the persistence of life, and the tranquility of the High Sierra.
Yosemite National Park, one of the first wilderness parks in the United States, is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.
Things To Do Things To Know Before You Come Brochures
What is there to do in Yosemite?
This common question is a difficult one to answer... because there are so many answers.
If you're planning a trip to Yosemite, first decide during which season you plan to visit, then decide where you'll spend the night (if you spend the night) so you can make lodgingor camping reservations. Then, you can find the answer to the age-old question about what there is to do in Yosemite.
Visitors to Yosemite can drive on roads throughout the park. However, we encourage you to use shuttle buses, where available. Also, some roads are closed at certain times of the year.
Tioga Road (Highway 120 through the park) is closed from approximately November through late May or June, depending on conditions.
Glacier Point Road is closed from approximately November through late May, depending on conditions. The first five miles of the road (to Badger Pass ski area) are open when the ski area is open (approximately mid December through March).
Mariposa Grove Road is closed from November or December until sometime in April, depending on conditions. When the road is closed, visitors may still walk, ski, or snowshoe on the road (though it may be covered in snow or ice).
Hetch Hetchy Road is closed overnight. Hours vary by season, but the road is generally open during daylight hours.
You can find out which roads are open for the season by visiting the conditions section. For up-to-the minute road conditions, call 209/372-0200 (press 1 then 1).
Big Oak Flat Entrance/Hodgdon Meadow: about 45 minutes
Hetch Hetchy (via Evergreen and Hetch Hetchy Roads): about one hour and 30 minutes
White Wolf: about an hour
Tuolumne Meadows: about one hour and 30 minutes
Tioga Pass: about one hour and 45 minutes
Lee Vining: about two hours
Did You Know? Yosemite and Huangshan are sister parks. Huangshan, which protects over 77 magnificent granite peaks 3,000 feet (1,000 m) or higher, is one of China's most famous and sacred scenic areas. Countless poems and writings dating back 2,200 years attest to its beauty.
your safety includes:
Special Protection for Special Places
Visitors to Yosemite National Park are the park’s most important guardians. With Yosemite's nearly four million people watching over its special plants, animals, historic, and archeological sites, imagine how well-protected these park resources could be!
During your visit to Yosemite, be aware that there are people who either intentionally or unknowingly harm park resources. Please contact a park official if you see any of the following illegal acts:
picking up archeological or historic items such as arrowheads
possession of metal detectors or using them to locate and collect historic objects
driving vehicles into sensitive meadows and off roadways
camping outside of designated campgrounds
possession of weapons
If you see activities that could harm people or park resources, jot down any descriptions or a vehicle license plate number and contact the park dispatch office at 209/379-1992; if someone's life is in danger, call 911.
Keep Wildlife Wild Respect animals at a distance: never feed or approach them.
Keep your distance from animals, even if they approach you
Dispose of trash in animal-proof trash cans or dumpsters
Keep your food and trash from wildlife by storing it properly, day and night. More information about proper food storage is available.
Failure to obey regulations may result in a fine of up to $5,000 and/or impoundment of your property.
Pets Some visitors choose to bring pets along on their vacations. In Yosemite, pets have a few rules to follow.
Bicycling Each season, plants are crushed from bicycle travel in meadows, campgrounds, and picnic areas. Please respect park resources and keep bicycles on paved roads and paved trails.They are not allowed to travel off-trail, on unpaved trails, or in wilderness areas. Mountain biking opportunities are available in designated areas outside of Yosemite. Bicyclists under 18 years of age must wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet.
Hiking and climbing safety If you will be hiking or climbing, please read our hiking safety and climbing safety pages.
Traffic safety Traveling through Yosemite by car, bus, or bicycle provides a wonderful opportunity to slow down and enjoy the park ’s incredible scenery. When traveling on park roads you can protect yourself, other visitors, and park wildlife by observing the following simple rules:
Yosemite’s roads are used by both visitors and park wildlife. Please obey posted speed limits. Speeding kills bears & other wildlife!
Wear seatbelts and use child safety seats required for children under six years of age or under 60 pounds in weight.
All motorcyclists must wear helmets.
Stay alive, don’t drink and drive. For your safety, park rangers enforce laws against alcohol and drug relateddriving offenses.
Use tire chains when posted as being required (during snowy or icy periods).
Water ways Success! Five years ago, many areas along the Merced River showed signs of human trampling.The soil was bare and heavily eroded. Now, because of the careful actions of visitors and park staff, many of these areas have been restored to more natural conditions.The plants, birds, insects, and animals that depend on living in or near the water have been able to return to these once barren areas.
You can help continue this progress by entering and exiting the river at designated launch and removal points, and by taking breaks on rocky, sandy beaches or point bars. Packing out what you pack in will also help keep the river free from trash and prevent animals from swallowing harmful plastic or aluminum. Please observe the following safety tips to protect Yosemite’s river and lakeshore habitats and to safely enjoy water activities throughout the park.
Always supervise children closely.
Choose swimming areas carefully and swim only during low water conditions.
Avoid areas of “whitewater” where streams flow over rocky obstructions.
Never swim or wade upstream from the brink of a waterfall, even if the water appears shallow and calm. Each year unsuspecting visitors are swept over waterfalls to their deaths when swimming in these areas.
In summer, rivers and creeks swollen by runoff from snowmelt are dangerous. Powerful current, icy water, and river obstructions can trap or kill the unwary.
Stay away from river and creek banks during high water conditions and avoid rock hopping. Stream polished rocks along the water’s edge may be slippery when wet or dry.
If you choose to cross a stream without a bridge, avoid deep and/or swift water. If crossing on a natural bridge of rocks or logs, consider where you will land if you fall. Never cross above rapids or falls. To prevent being pulled under by its weight, unbuckle your pack’s waist strap so you can shed it if you fall in. Do not tie yourself into safety ropes--they can drown you.
Rafting on the Merced River in Yosemite Valley (Stoneman Bridge to Sentinel Beach), and the South Fork of the Merced River in Wawona is open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily to any type of non-motorized vessel or other flotation device. You must wear or have a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device immediately available.
Fallen trees and other natural debris in the river create important habitat for fish and other wildlife.Be alert--they can also create hazards for rafters.
The entire length of the Merced River in Yosemite Valley is closed to all floatation devices whenever the river gauge at Sentinel Bridge reads 6.5 feet or higher or when the sum of the air and water and temperature is less than 100°F.
Special fishing regulations apply in Yosemite. More information is available on our fishing page.
Water Quality To protect yourself from disease, treat any surface water before drinking. Treatment methods include boiling for 5 minutes, use of a Giardia rated water filter, or iodine based purifier. To prevent the spread of Giardia and other water-borne disease organisms, use restroom facilities where available. In natural areas where facilities are not available, bury human waste 6 inches deep, and do your washing and camping at least 100 feet away from any water source or trail.
Other Environmental Hazards
Rockfalls are the most powerful geologic force shaping Yosemite Valley today. Although rockfalls are relatively uncommon, several rockfalls occur in Yosemite Valley each year; they are dangerous and can cause injury or death. While the National Park Service actively studies rockfall hazards, it is impossible to monitor every potential rockfall area. In Yosemite, and in any natural area, it is up to you to be aware of your surroundings. Use caution when entering any area where rockfall activity may occur, such as on or immediately below cliffs.
Diseases, insects, soil moisture, wind, fire, and snow combine with human activities to create hazardous trees (any tree, which, due to visible defects, could fall down and strike a person or property within a developed area). While the National Park service seeks to identify and remove threats due to hazard trees, trees without apparent defects also fail and tree hazards cannot always be immediately identified and mitigated; several catastrophic tree failures have left visitors seriously or fatally injured in Yosemite, in addition to property damage totaling nearly $1,000,000. Be aware of your surroundings, especially away from developed areas, and keep in mind that some trees may fail at any time.
Yosemite National Park Regulations
The Superintendent's Compendium (821 kb PDF) is a compilation of designations, closures, permit requirements, and other restrictions made by the superintendent, in addition to what is contained in Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations (Chapter 1, Parts 1 through 7 and 34), and other applicable federal statutes and regulations.
Did You Know? Unrestricted camping is no longer allowed in Yosemite Valley because of damage it causes. The placement of campgrounds and campsites has changed over the past 75 years in response to a growing understanding of river dynamics, geologic hazards, and the park's natural and cultural resources.
This bear is in a campsite eating food from an open locker.
Exciting? Scary? Tragic? All of these describe the situation. Bears that frequently get human food often lose their fear of people and then end up being killed to protect people. Keep reading to learn how you can help protect Yosemite bears.
Yosemite National Park is home to hundreds of American black bears; these bears have a voracious appetite. They also are incredibly curious and have an amazing sense of smell. This combination tempts them to seek our high-calorie food. Sometimes bears that routinely get our food become aggressive, and sometimes have to be killed as a result. By storing your food properly, you can prevent a bear's unnecessary death.
Please note that these food storage regulations have the force and effect of federal law: Failure to store your food properly may result in impoundment of your food or car and/or a fine of up to $5,000 and/or revocation of your camping permit.
Bears will break into cars to investigate any object that smells or looks like food.