Will I find parking space in Yosemite – the most visited national park of California ?
Driving for 3 hours to the park and then waiting another 2 hours to find parking is not fun. So here’s a strategic approach to find Best Parking in Yosemite to avoid wasting time in the car while you can be exploring the park. Here’s a useful link for the current prices to enter the Yosemite National park. By the way I’d recommend that you purchase annual national parks pass (There’s also info with a pass for state parks). It’s the best deal all the way around, and it should motivate you to get out to the nature at least one more time before you
Trip Tip: While driving through the forests or the Yosemite valley looking for parking take down your sunroof.
Check out this clip before scrolling down, these guys did a phenomenal job shooting all the cool spots around Yosemite! I just had to share this hyped-up YouTube video!
Part I “The Overview”
You have the option of multiple parking lots conveniently located throughout the Valley and then take advantage of Free YARTS Shuttle Service. LINK with Parking MAP or Download and Print PDF: valleyshuttle
When my friends ask me: “What is there to see in San Francisco?”
I always answer – “Yosemite National Park.”
Clearly there are a plenty of things to check out in San Francisco Bay, and in my opinion if you’re ever visiting the Fog City allocate an extra day to incorporate Yosemite N.P. into your itinerary. Located only 3 hours east of the S.F. bay area this is the MOST unique and easily accessible natural wonder in California. The grand dimensions of the park are simply incomprehensible – it’s a jaw dropping awww every time for every person. Never ending vastness of mountain ranges, fresh pine scented high altitude air – simply incredible moment
Part II “The 3 roads”
You have 3 routes to choose from on the way to the park – HWY 120, HWY 140, HWY 41, all leading to the valley.
Good affordability to quality ratio hotels in Oakhurst
The most cost-effective way to spend the night over nearest to the park is by staying in the little town of Oakhurst – HWY 41(where a decent hotel with all the necessary accommodations should cost you around $100-$150 as of 2019).
What is there to see in Yosemite National Park?
1. The best approach is to enjoy the view of the entire Yosemite Valley including the Yosemite Waterfalls, Half dome and Merced River from a bird’s-eye perspective at the Glacier Point observation deck (located of off HWY 41) – 1st most amazing view of the Yosemite Valley.
There’s plenty of parking, especially for those who come early. Keep in mind that the road leading to the Glacier Point is seasonal, open May – October (so check for road closures on the Official website of Yosemite National Park Services). Some people park in the Yosemite Valley and go on a strenuous hike up the tortuous 4.7 mile path (called Four Mile hike) up to Glacier Point.
2. Located near the Glacier Point are the Sentinel Dome and Taft Point – two other phenomenal viewing locations. In fact you can combine Taft point as well as Sentinel point in a single hiking experience. Take the path to the Glacier point and then back to Sentinel Dome trail-head parking. The first two suggestions alone should take up to half a day worth of hiking.
Note: The parking around Yosemite Valley has significantly changed as of 2018!
The far right lane that many people used for parking is now reserved for Buses Only, and visitors are highly encouraged to take FREE YARTS shuttle around the valley; but why would you? when you can enjoy the short stroll around one waterfall to next.
3. The only waterfall in the Yosemite Valley that is not accessible by YARTS buses is the Bridalveil Fall. We highly suggest to simply parallel park (without causing traffic back up) and wait for someone to leave the Bridalveil Fall Parking. The hike to the Bridalveil viewing point is very short and people don’t tend to spend more than 20-30 min at this location, thus the chances that someone will be vacating a parking spot are extremely high. If there’s too much traffic, simply keep circling around the parking lot – chances are you will get a parking spot within 15-20 minutes even during the busiest hours. This is the strategy to find best parking in Yosemite at Bridalveil Falls.
4. Congratulations ! You’ve made it to the Yosemite Valley! Use this Map to find a parking spot and then hop on and off the YARTS Free Shuttle to take you from one waterfall to the next.
Part III “Little Details”
One of the biggest challenges when coming to Yosemite National Park is driving along the numerous visitors who flock to the Park from all over the world. On a busy day,trying to park along the RVS and SUVS can be proven extremely
A handful of hikers get a chance to scale the Half Dome (unfortunately you have to apply for the Half Dome Permit pass and participate in a lottery in order to hike it ). Nevertheless, plenty more hikes are available throughout the valley. Most of which are focused on hiking the majestic waterfalls.
Hint: Mirror Lakes Hike is not all that fantastic, since your time is limited, focus on the waterfalls.
You have got to make a stop at the Tunnel Viewpoint (off of HWY 41 aka Wawona Road) for the 2nd most spectacular view of the Yosemite valley – that place looks stunning during the sunset and even the worst photographer, like myself, can steal a fantastic image. Parking here is limited, so you might want to either circle back, or come a bit early if you’d like to capture the amazing sunset view!
Traveling to Yosemite with kids
One of the biggest challenges we had was to keep organized. Even though we packed all the necessary things (You can find a list of useful items to take on a road trip following this link) we needed for our little son we sometimes would forget a thing or two while leaving the car and going on hikes. Besides having layers of clothes and food for your child, don’t forget the we wipes! Those are an ultimate life saver – also don’t forget to bring bags to take out all the trash, including wet-wipes and diapers. Seriously – take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.
That’s our approach to find the best parking in Yosemite California
& our Perspective for today.