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Yosemite National Park Reservations: Explained

Yosemite National Park Reservations: Explained

Planning a trip to Yosemite in 2024? Here's all you need to know about the new peak-season reservation system. Team


2 min read

December 21, 2023

Yosemite National Park is a must-visit destination in California. However, with its popularity comes the need for effective crowd management, especially during peak seasons. In 2024, the National Park Service has implemented a reservation system to ensure a sustainable and enjoyable visit for all. Here's what you need to know about the reservation requirements for Yosemite in 2024.

Understanding the 2024 Reservation Periods

Yosemite's reservation system in 2024 is divided into specific periods, with varying requirements:

  • January 1 to February 9, and February 26 to April 12: No reservation is needed to drive into Yosemite.
  • February 10 to 25: Reservations are mandatory on all weekends, including Washington's Birthday (Monday, February 19).
  • April 13 to June 30: Reservations are required from 5 am to 4 pm on weekends and holidays (May 27 and June 19).
  • July 1 to August 16: A reservation is necessary every day from 5 am to 4 pm.
  • August 17 to October 27: Reservations are needed from 5 am to 4 pm on weekends and holidays (September 2 and October 14).
Info Graphic via National Park Service

Special Case: Horsetail Fall Event

A unique phenomenon occurs mid-to-late February when the Horsetail Fall glows orange at sunset. This event draws large crowds, leading to traffic and safety concerns. Consequently, reservations are mandatory on the weekends of February 10–11, 17–19, and 24–25, even for visitors not specifically coming for the Horsetail Fall event. The standard $35/car entrance fee applies, valid for seven days.

Peak Hours Reservation: Mid-April to October

From April 13 through October 27, 2024, the park introduces a more extensive reservation system:

  • April 13 through June 30: Reservations are required from 5 am to 4 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays (May 27 and June 19).
  • July 1 through August 16: A daily reservation is needed from 5 am to 4 pm.
  • August 17 through October 27: Reservations are necessary from 5 am to 4 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays (September 2 and October 14).

Driving through Yosemite between 5 am and 4 pm also requires a reservation during these dates. Visitors are advised not to arrive before 4 pm if planning a visit after peak hours, to avoid road congestion and potential citations.

Yosemite National Park is absolutely worth the visit, just make sure you understand the reservation rules before planning your trip.

Who Needs a Reservation?

If you plan to drive into or through Yosemite during peak hours on the specified dates, ensure you have one of the following with a matching photo ID:

  • A reservation at a Yosemite National Park campground.
  • Bookings at specific lodgings within Yosemite, such as Curry Village, Yosemite Valley Lodge, or The Ahwahnee.
  • Reservations for private lodging or vacation rentals in Wawona, Yosemite West, or Foresta.
  • A Yosemite wilderness permit, Half Dome permit, commercial use authorization, or special use permit.

Entrance Fees and Payments

A vehicle entrance fee, payable only by credit card, is required and is valid for three days or the duration of your reservation, whichever is longer. If you enter the park in non-motorized ways (like bicycles, YARTS buses, or on foot), peak-hour reservations are not needed, though entrance fees still apply.

The reservation system is a vital step towards preserving Yosemite's natural splendor while offering a pleasant experience to its visitors. By understanding and adhering to these guidelines, you can ensure a smooth and memorable visit to one of California's most iconic natural landmarks. For detailed information and reservations, visit the National Park Service's official website.

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