Yosemite National Park Travel Guide
Yosemite's facilities are continually being upgraded to make them more accessible. Many of the valley floor trails—particularly at Lower Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Fall, and Mirror Lake—are wheelchair accessible, though some assistance may be required. The Valley Visitor Center is fully accessible, as are the park shuttle buses. A sign-language interpreter is available for ranger programs. Visitors with respiratory difficulties should take note of the park's high elevations—the valley floor is approximately 4,000 feet above sea level, but Tuolumne Meadows and parts of the high country hover around 10,000 feet.
Park Fees and Permits
The admission fee, valid for seven days, is $30 per vehicle ($25 from Nov.–March) or $15 per individual.
If you plan to camp in the backcountry or climb Half Dome, you must have a wilderness permit. Availability of permits depends upon trailhead quotas. It's best to make a reservation, especially if you will be visiting May through September. You can reserve two days to 24 weeks in advance by phone, mail, or fax (Box 545, Yosemite, CA 95389 209/372–0740 209/372–0739); you’ll pay $5 per person plus $5 per reservation if and when your reservations are confirmed. Requests must include your name, address, daytime phone, the number of people in your party, trip date, alternative dates, starting and ending trailheads, and a brief itinerary. Without a reservation, you may still get a free permit on a first-come, first-served basis at wilderness permit offices at Big Oak Flat, Hetch Hetchy, Tuolumne Meadows, Wawona, the Wilderness Center in Yosemite Village, and Yosemite Valley in summer. From fall to spring, visit the Valley Visitor Center.
The park is open 24/7 year-round. All entrances are open at all hours, except for Hetch Hetchy Entrance, which is open roughly dawn to dusk. Yosemite is in the Pacific time zone.
Automobile Service Stations
There are gas stations at Crane Flat, Tuolumne Meadows, and Wawona. There's one garage in Yosemite Village, but it performs only basic repairs, and no gas is available there.
Cell-phone reception is often just fine in the valley but hit-or-miss elsewhere in the park. There are public telephones at park entrance stations, visitor centers, all restaurants and lodging facilities in the park, gas stations, and in Yosemite Village.
Shops and Grocers
Badger Pass Sport Shop. Stop here to gear up, and bundle up, for skiing and snowboarding adventures. Badger Pass Ski Area, Badger Pass Rd., off Glacier Point Rd., 18 mi from Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, CA, 95389. 209/372–8444. Usually Dec.–Mar.
Crane Flat Store. This small store is a convenient place to get gas and pick up snacks and camping supplies if you're arriving via Route 120. Intersection of Big Oak Flat Rd. and Tioga Rd., 7 mi east of Big Oak Flat Entrance, Yosemite National Park, CA, 95389. 209/379–2742.
Curry Village General Store. You can pick up groceries and supplies at this bustling shop at the east end of the valley. Curry Village, Yosemite National Park, CA, 95389. 209/372–8333.
Housekeeping Camp Store. You'll find the basics here for picnics, campfires, and other outdoor activities. Southside Dr., ½ mi west of Curry Village, Yosemite National Park, CA, 95389. 209/372–8338. Mid-Apr. or May–Oct.
Tuolumne Meadows Store and Mountain Shop. The only retailer in the high country, this shop carries backpacking and camping supplies, climbing gear and clothing, trail maps and guides, food and beverages, and fishing licenses. Tioga Rd. Rte. 120, 1½ mi east of Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center, Yosemite National Park, CA, 95389. 209/372–8428. Oct.–early June.
Village Sport Shop. Outdoor gear, apparel, and books are sold in this shop. Yosemite Village, CA, 95389. 209/372–1253.
Village Store. The Yosemite Valley's largest store has an extensive selection of groceries (including many organic items), household products, and personal-care items. It also has an extensive gift and souvenir shop. Yosemite Village, CA, 95389. 209/372–1253.
Wawona Store and Pioneer Gift Shop. The Wawona area's only market carries essential items like ice cream in its grocery section. There's also a gift shop. Rte. 41, Wawona, CA, 95389. 209/375–6574.
Yosemite Lodge Gift Shop. Groceries, snacks, and beverages occupy half of this large store. The other half is gift shop. Yosemite Lodge, Northside Dr. about ¾ mi west of the visitor center, Yosemite Village, CA, 95389. 209/372–1438.
Yosemite Mountain Shop. A comprehensive selection of camping, hiking, backpacking, and climbing equipment, along with experts who can answer all your questions, make this store a valuable resource for outdoors enthusiasts. This is the best place to ask about climbing conditions and restrictions around the park, as well as purchase almost any kind of clinbing gear. Yosemite Village, CA, 95389. 209/372–8344.