Reserved parking spots available in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park has launched a pilot program with parking reservations to help improve traffic flows inside the park.
Yosemite National Park has launched a pilot program with parking reservations to help improve traffic flows inside the park. Sierra Star File Photo

To help alleviate traffic and provide an improved experience, visitors to Yosemite National Park will be able to reserve a limited number of parking spaces for four weekends in August, park officials announced this week.

The spots will be located in the Yosemite Falls Parking Area, directly west of Yosemite Valley Lodge.

Reservations for the 150 spaces can be made by visiting www.recreation.gov or calling 1-877-444-6777. All remaining spaces will stay available on a first come, first served basis.

Passenger vehicles up to 20 feet in length can have a reserved spot, but no reservations can be booked for RVs or trailers. A reservation fee of $1.50 is applied to each booking, with all transactions final.

The reservations are part of a pilot program to evaluate traffic and parking management tools to improve visitor experiences in Yosemite, officials said. The pilot program will be evaluated after its use to determine whether day parking reservations should be used in the future.

Other traffic management tools include designated bus lanes, a new roundabout in Yosemite Valley, and improved parking facilities and signs.

“The pilot day parking reservation program is one of many tools Yosemite National Park is using to address traffic and congestion in the park,” Acting Superintendent Chip Jenkins said in a release. “We are continuously working to improve so we can provide a quality experience for visitors to Yosemite National Park. After this summer season, park staff will evaluate the program and recommend changes based on public feedback.”

Yosemite is expecting a very busy summer season, especially on weekends. Visitors arriving in personal vehicles should plan to expect traffic congestion and travel delays up to three hours before parking your vehicle. Visitors are encouraged to stop at the visitor centers in the park’s Gateway Communities of Mariposa, Oakhurst, Groveland, and Lee Vining to purchase park passes and get information to help plan your trip to Yosemite National Park. Picking up a park pass in the Gateway Communities may help expedite traffic flow at the park’s entrance gate.

Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) buses are also encouraged for visitors who wish to enjoy a seamless experience getting into the park. Visit www.yarts.com for more information.

For updated 24-hour road and weather conditions in Yosemite National Park, dial (209) 372-0200 and press 1.

Staff report