Find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about Yosemite National Park.
Q:What is Yosemite Valley?
A:The Yosemite Valley is a wide glacier-carved valley, centrally located within Yosemite National Park in the western Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. The Yosemite Valley was carved out mostly by glacier activity that moved through the area during the last ice age, and it follows the path of the Merced River.
Q:What is the climate like in Yosemite National Park?
A:Summers in Yosemite National Park are typically warm and dry. The months of January, February, and March are the wettest in Yosemite, while spring and fall are transitional months, when warm, sunny days can suddenly become stormy.
Q:What are the entrance fees into Yosemite?
Vehicle: $35.00 for 7 Days
Motorcycles: $30.00 for 7 Days
Individuals: $20.00 for 7 Days
Q:Where, exactly, is Yosemite National Park located?
A:Yosemite National Park is located in the central Sierra Nevada of California and lies 168 miles east of San Francisco and only a 4 1/2 to 5 hour drive from Los Angeles.
Q:When does the famous Yosemite Falls flow?
A:Peak flow usually happens in late May, but by August, Yosemite Falls is often dry. It begins flowing again a few months later, after winter snows arrive.
Q:When is the best time of year to visit Yosemite?
A:It depends what you're looking for! While most people visit Yosemite during summer, there are advantages to visiting throughout the year. The winter has many activities that you will enjoy as well as cooler weather and fewer crowds.
Q:What is the recommended stay duration at Yosemite National Park?
A:Minimalist (3 - 4 Days)
Driving/Sightseeing: 2 Days
Hiking/Exploring: ½ Day - 1 Day
Activities/Tours/Special Programs: ½ Day - 1 Day
Adventurist (5-7 Days)
Driving/Sightseeing: 2-3 Days
Hiking/Exploring: 2 Days
Activities/Tours/Special Programs: 1-2 Days
Notes: Yosemite is a big and beautiful park with a ton of attractions and points of interest to enjoy. The Yosemite Valley itself will take more than a day to experience and enjoy, and the valley is just one facet of the park. To really get a full picture of the park you should spend some time at Mariposa Grove, Glacier Point, Badger Pass, Wawona Valley, the Yosemite Valley, Hetch Hetchy and Tuolumne Meadows. Each of these areas will provide you with a very different perspective of the park and a full Yosemite experience. The Mariposa grove is the attraction that most people will pass by first as they enter the park through the south gate near Fish Camp. The Mariposa Grove offers a wonderful opportunity to see giant sequoia trees that are hundreds of feet tall and thousands of years old! The Wawona Valley is an area of living history, from the hallways of the Wawona Hotel to the boardwalks of the Pioneer History Museum, this beautiful valley is a reminder of America's pioneering and Victorian past. The Wawona valley is also the home of the Wawona golf course. Where you will find one of the only only opportunities anywhere in the United States to enjoy golfing inside a national park. Badger Pass is Yosemite's own in-park ski area offering downhill skiing/snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and more during the winter. Glacier Point is closed during the winter but during the summer it provides arguably some of the most spectacular views of the Yosemite Valley that you will find anywhere in the park. A visit to Hetch Hetchy and Tuolumne Meadows will require at least a full day on it's own but is definitely worth the time and effort. Of course the majority of Yosemite's visitors will focus most of their time on the Yosemite Valley. The valley itself is chocked-full of beautiful attractions and points of interest...Tunnel View overlook, Half Dome, Bridal Veil Falls, El Capitan, Mirror Lake, Yosemite Falls, Vernal Fall, Nevada Fall and so much more! There are many hiking trails leading to and around many of these popular attractions within the park, and it is easy to find a trail suited to any level of experience and preference, from simple, paved ADA accessible walking paths, to stright-up vertical climbing paths on El Capitan. Yosemite is brimming with historical landmarks and educational centers as well. Several of the hotels inside the park are worth visiting even if you do not stay there, just to witness in person their historic beauty and ambiance. The Wawona Hotel was built in the 1870's and stepping on the grounds of this stunning hotel is stepping back more than a decade to whole other era in America's enchanting past. The Ahwahnee Hotel too is a wonderful historic landmark which has hosted many presidents, kings and other nobles throughout the years, and even served as a military hospital for a time. The Ahwahnee Hotel is located in arguably one of the most beautiful locations of any hotel in the country, with views looking out at Glacier Point and Half Dome. The dining hall and other common areas of this magnificent hotel make it definitely worthy of a visit. Other historic areas of interest include the Ansel Adams Gallery, Curry Village, the Yosemite Chapel and the already mentioned Pioneer History Museum, just to name a few. There are also many guided tours that can be enjoyed around the Yosemite Valley including free ranger-led walks and talks, naturalist-led activities, guided hikes, living history programs, auto tours, bus and tram tours, horseback riding adventures and more. Other activities you might enjoy include rock-climbing lesson, fishing, swimming, mountain biking and more.
Q:What is the closest major city/airport to Yosemite National Park?
A:The closest airport is Fresno-Yosemite International and is about an hour and a half away from the park's south entrance or two and a half hours to the Yosemite Valley. San Francisco is the largest city nearby and will take approximately 5 hours to reach the valley.
Q:What are the temperature variances at Yosemite National Park?
Q:Is there cellular and WiFi service?
Cellular service is very limited in parts of Yosemite Valley and Yosemite National Park. Public WiFi is available at the Mariposa County Library in Yosemite Valley and at Degnan's Kitchen. WiFi access is also available for overnight guests at Curry Village, Yosemite Valley Lodge, Wawona Hotel, and The Ahwahnee.
Q:Are pets allowed inside of the park?
Pets are not allowed on trails except the Wawona Meadow Loop. Pets can not be in undeveloped areas, wilderness areas, public buildings, shuttle buses, lodging areas, walk-in/group campsites (Camp 4), and on unplowed roads covered in snow. Pets are allowed in developed areas, fully paved roads, sidewalks, and bicycle paths unless stated otherwise. You can not leave your pet unattended or tied up to an object. Pets must be on a leash no longer than six feet (1.8 meters) at all times. Owners must clean up after their pets.