Warm, sunny days and great activities like bicycling and rafting are just a few of the reasons so many people love to visit Yosemite in summer.
With the majority of the 4 million annual visitors arriving between June and September, summer is also the busiest time of year for visitors. By following a few helpful tips you can avoid the crowds and make the most of your summertime trip to Yosemite.
1. Plan trips during the mid-week – Yosemite Valley is most popular on weekends and holidays which can mean traffic congestion. Fewer visitors arrive Monday through Friday.
2. Arrive before 10:00 a.m. – Most vehicle congestion occurs during the middle of the day. If you are planning a trip to Yosemite, arrive as early as possible. The parking lot fills early in the morning so make sure to plan ahead.
Did you know there are other giant sequoia groves in Yosemite? The Tuolumne and Merced groves are somewhat smaller, but just as majestic. For solitude with the sequoias, seek out the smaller groves.
3. Take YARTS! – YARTS is the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System. YARTS picks up passengers at multiple locations along Highway 140 (from Merced) and along Highway 120 (from Sonora and Mammoth Lakes). YARTS buses provide multiple drop-off locations throughout the park and in Yosemite Valley. Once visitors are in Yosemite Valley, they can enjoy the free shuttle throughout the Valley, utilize the bike rentals, or simply walk, to enjoy many of park’s most famous sites and destinations. Your entrance fees are included in the low cost of your ticket so there is no reason not to enjoy the scenery and take YARTS into the park!
4. Visit the greater Yosemite region – There is a lot to explore. Yosemite is located in Mariposa County, which provides great lodging and visitor services that augment the Yosemite regional experience. Yosemite National Park Rangers join visitor bureau staff in this area to answer questions and provide advice and latest roadway information for Yosemite bound visitors. there are often more dining options in the evenings in places such as the town of Mariposa and you can find excellent museums and attractions here to enjoy when the park is at it’s busiest.
5. Explore more of Yosemite – Yosemite National Park is a big and there are many incredible sites and destinations outside of the Valley. Visitors can explore such areas as Hetch Hetchy, Tuolumne Grove, Merced Grove, Tuolumne Meadows and Wawona. Some of Yosemite’s most extraordinary views can only be seen by getting on the trail and out of the Valley. Check out our Featured Hikes section to pick out the perfect hike for your trip.
With these simple tips you can get the most out of your visit to Yosemite this summer. As always, take care to drive slow to protect wildlife on the roads and be cautious around swift moving water.