Published on September 5, 2018

Finding Curry Village

Located right below Half Dome and Glacier Point, Curry Village is the largest lodging facility in Yosemite National Park. Formerly known as “Camp Curry” as it was often called, Curry Village is the perfect place for families to eat, sleep and recuperate before heading back out to explore Yosemite National Park. Curry Village is located in Mariposa County’s Yosemite Valley and features standard hotel rooms, wood cabins and canvas tent cabin accommodations, as well as a number of great dining options and other family-friendly activities.

Curry Village is a popular destination in Yosemite National Park and its central location makes exploring the area a breeze. The activity services offered through Curry Village range from Curry Village Raft Rentals, the Curry Village Bike Stand in the warmer months and even a Curry Village Ice Skating Rink in the cooler months. Visitors staying in the area have something to do no matter what season they come.

Staying in Curry Village

Ice skating, Yosemite, Half Dome Village, Curry Village, Camp Curry
Photo Credit: Kenny Karst

Curry Village was founded 1899 by David and Jennie Curry and was originally comprised of a dozen tents with a central area where guests could gather together for meals. Unsurprisingly, the beautiful location and affordability of Curry Village inspired quick growth to the area, eventually becoming home to several hundred more tents. From here, a dance hall pavilion was erected (and still stands!), a pool hall was put into place and an ice skating rink was added.

Today, Curry Village consists of Yosemite cabins with private baths, cabins that share a bathhouse and canvas tent cabins. The dance pavilion, known as Stoneman House Lodge, boasts an additional 18 rooms and is the only motel in Curry Village. Other Curry Village amenities include daily housekeeping, fresh towels as needed, extra blankets available at the front desk and ADA accessible rooms.

Prepare for Your Trip to Curry Village

Curry Village has a campground vibe, so bring your camping essentials. While the area offers public showers, restrooms and bear-proof food storage lockers, you should still try to bring the basics. When you are packing for Curry Village, make sure you pack the following:

  • Sleeping bag (even in the summer months)
  • Flashlight, headlamp or lantern with extra batteries
  • Shower shoes, rain jacket and extra layers such as a light jacket, fleece and even a thicker winter jacket, just in case
  • Resealable plastic bags and a padlock for your food locker
  • Hiking shoes, walking sticks and an extra water bottle

Don’t worry if you’ve forgotten something. Curry Village is an extremely welcoming and hospitable place. If your neighbor doesn’t have something you can borrow, check out the Curry Village registration office, or front desk, as previously mentioned. They can guide you to one of the many places in the village that sell must-have camping gear, like The Mountain Shop and Curry Village Gift & Grocery. You will never be too far from the essentials.

There are a variety of different places to dine in Curry Village. Enjoy the casual dining ambiance at Curry Village Bar, Curry Village Pavilion, the Meadow Grill, Pizza Patio and Coffee Corner. There’s no shortage of filling bites and friendly faces. Looking for something a little more romantic? Yosemite National Park offers restaurants near Curry Village including anything from quick lunches to intimate tables for two featuring locally-sourced, organic and sustainable ingredients whenever possible. Look for outdoor seating in the summer months to really take in the area while you relax and recharge.

Getting Around Curry Village

Curry Village occupies a central position in the area, spanning about one-mile in length. You can access Curry Village via Happy Isles Loop Road off Southside Drive. Curry Village is near Yosemite Village and Yosemite Valley Lodge. Depending on where you’re coming from, the area can also be accessed via Pines Campgrounds near the Mirror Lake Trailhead.

Whether you get to the park by bus, car or train, there will be an easy route to get to Yosemite National Park’s Curry Village. Travelers flying into California can rent a car from San Francisco or Sacramento and drive three to four hours to the park. Once in the Yosemite region you can opt to take the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System, or YARTS, that provides bus service and will happily guide visitors to Curry Village and the surrounding areas.

While there is free parking in Yosemite National Park, it is limited. Take advantage of the YARTS and enjoy the scenic journey to the park gate. On the Yosemite Valley floor, the shuttle bus system will get you everywhere you need to go without having to worry about parking. Cars pay an entrance fee of $35. The public roads in Yosemite National Park are maintained year-round, except for the east entrance on Tioga Road via Highway 120 through the park. Tire chains are usually required from October to April, so make sure to have some in your trunk if you plan to visit during the colder months or rent them. Don’t forget to check Yosemite Road Conditions Resources for the most up-to-date information and possible advisories from the Park Service.

The Famous Half Dome Hike

While you’re staying in Curry Village, don’t forget to check out the Half Dome Trail. Half Dome is Yosemite’s most quintessential attraction and the trail is carefully managed by the National Park Service due to its length and difficulty. The trail to Half Dome from Yosemite Valley is an extremely rigorous hike, covering over 17 miles. Hikers gain 4,800 feet of elevation along the trail on which they will see Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall before reaching the cable route to Half Dome’s steep granite domes. Steel cables and wooden planks are placed along the dome to assist the hundreds of people making the trek to the summit during the summer. The cables are removed every October and replaced in late May.

Half Dome is the only day hike that requires a permit. A Half Dome permit is required seven days a week. If your bid for a permit during the preseason lottery (March 1 through the 31st) is successful, you will be notified in mid-April. There are also daily lotteries (approximately 50 permits) during the hiking season with an application period of two days prior to the hiking date with a late night notification within the same day you apply.

It is important to remember to bring plenty of water if you’re planning on hiking to the top of Half Dome. This trail is not for beginners or novice hikers. Several people are rescued each year on this hike, most suffering from dehydration. It is important to understand your limits as a hiker and plan in case of an emergency.

Rigorous hikes aside, there is always something to do no matter what level of exploring you choose. From biking in the Valley to bucket list accomplishments like Half Dome Trail, Curry Village has something for everyone to enjoy. Check out Curry Village’s many amenities and start planning your trip today.

Categories: General Travel Tips, Lodging