Published on December 5, 2023

Like getting together with an old friend, the feeling of visiting Yosemite National Park is unchanging. Looking up at the El Capitan in wonder as you stand at its base, pondering the ancient life span of the Giant Sequoias, connecting with our pioneering ancestors in historic Gold Rush communities and museums. The impacts of these momentous moments hit the same if it’s your first visit or your 12th.

In a place where so much remains unchanged, it’s easy to overlook what’s new. However, there are new ways to experience Yosemite Mariposa County in 2024 as well as some returning favorites to cherish in the year ahead.

Wildhaven Yosemite

The living room of Wildhaven Yosemite’s cabin with beautiful views just outside.

Starting in May 2024, a new glamping experience arrives in Mariposa County. Wildhaven Yosemite will offer glamping tents and cozy cabins on a beautiful property with mountain and valley views just outside Yosemite National Park. Located less than a mile from the historic town of Mariposa, the extra-large, safari-style tents, and modular cabins with baths feature comfortable beds with linens, electricity, heaters, and all the furnishings needed for a comfortable night’s sleep. Wildhaven provides the comfort, cleanliness, and customer service of a hotel while being immersed in nature. Reservations are available now. 

Happy Goat

Happy Goat Diner
Happy Goat Diner in Mariposa is Yosemite Mariposa County’s newest dining establishment.

The Happy Goat Diner opened its doors in the heart of Mariposa this fall. The farm-to-table restaurant serves updated American classic cuisine for breakfast and lunch with produce grown at the Happy Goat Farm just a few miles away. The farm was established in 2020 and is dedicated to serving the local community through a variety of programs including working with local schools. The Happy Goat Diner will be available in the evening for private groups, who can also experience the nearby farm. In addition to sustainable farming, Happy Goat raises goats which are available on loan to local property owners to help reduce fuel ahead of wildfire season.

High Sierra Camps

yosemite high sierra camp tent cabin
The High Sierra Camps are a great way to experience backpacking with out the pack.

After a few years of closures due to COVID-19 and then record snowfalls in the winter of 2022 and 2023, the Yosemite High Sierra Camps plan to open again in summer 2024. Nestled high in the wilderness and surrounded by nature, the five camps are only accessible on foot or by mule. Guests are free to explore the backcountry, carrying only a day pack as they head out each day. Camps are spaced 6 to 10 miles apart along a loop trail and for those new to wilderness travel, guided mule and hiking trips are available. The lottery for 2024 spots is open now. Reservations are via lottery only.

The Redwoods In Yosemite turn 75

Redwoods in Yosemite
The Redwoods In Yosemite has been operating cabins like these inside of Yosemite National Park for 75 years.

The Redwoods In Yosemite is celebrating 75 years of incredible hospitality in 2024. In 1949, dozens of homeowners in the Wawona area of Yosemite National Park came together to preserve their family homes and share the wonder of these cabins with the public. The 120 homes are still individually owned and range in size from studios to 6 bedrooms, offering an incredible Yosemite experience for all kinds of explorers. The Redwoods In Yosemite operates like a hotel, offering a front desk, housekeeping and concierge-style services.

Ahwahnee Renovations complete

The Ahwahnee Dining Room
The Ahwahnee Dining Room is set to reopen following renovations in 2023.

After a year of improvement, the historic Ahwahnee in Yosemite Valley will complete structural seismic enhancements to update the hotel, kitchen and dining room. Since January 2023, areas of the hotel have been intermittently closed for renovations, most noticeably the stunning main dining room. The work was designed to strengthen the structure, replace aging components and completely rehabilitate the kitchen. The Ahwahnee’s Dining Room is set to reopen in December 2023, just in time for the new year.

New Yosemite Welcome Center

The new Yosemite Valley Welcome Center (photo courtesy: Yosemite Conservancy)

The new Yosemite Valley Welcome Center is now open as the primary visitor information station for Yosemite Valley. The center, located at the south end of the Village Store complex is open daily and staffed by National Park rangers and Yosemite Conservancy volunteers. The Yosemite Conservancy will also staff a bookstore and provide information about its programs.

Yosemite Exploration Center

The new Yosemite Exploration Center is housed in what was formerly the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center.

The new Yosemite Exploration Center (housed in the old Valley Visitor Center, which had been closed since January 2023 due to storm damage) will help connect visitors to the natural world and cultural history of Yosemite National Park through interactive experiences. The new Yosemite Exploration Center exhibit, “Yosemite Now”, will peak visitors’ curiosity and observation skills by making connections to the current science happening in the park. Projecting microscopes and dozens of curated displays make up the brilliantly educational exhibit. Yosemite Conservancy staff will steward the space and operate a bookstore to help visitors further their education well after they’ve left the park.

Bridalveil Fall Trails Reopen

Bridalveil Fall in Yosemite Valley
Bridalveil Fall is one of the first major waterfalls to greet you as you enter Yosemite Valley.

Late in 2023, the Yosemite National Park Service and Yosemite Conservancy completed a nearly five-year project to improve the visitor experience around Bridalveil Fall in Yosemite Valley. The project not only allows for access to this incredible portion of Yosemite Valley again, it also brings more parking, more ADA accessibility to viewing areas, new restroom facilities and interpretive materials to help visitors better understand how to navigate Yosemite Valley.

Categories: Things to See