Frequently Asked Questions


Getting Around

Do I need a reservation to visit Yosemite?

Reservations will be required to drive into the park for some dates and times from April 13 through October 27. Reservations were required to drive into and through Yosemite at certain times in 2020, 2021, 2022, and February 2023 and 2024. A reservation is not required if you had a reservation for lodging, camping, vacation rental or backpacking inside the park or if you have an issued Half Dome permit.

How do I get to Yosemite?

Keeping in mind that GPS units often provide incorrect driving directions in and around Yosemite, please take a look at our driving directions.

Are there vehicle restrictions in Yosemite?

Some roads have vehicle restrictions on height, length, and/or width.

Can I drive my own vehicle into the park?

You can drive your own vehicle into and around Yosemite. Shuttle buses are not mandatory, but are recommended (except in 2021, when they are not available).

Will I need to bring tire chains?

Tire chains may be required in fall, winter, and spring due to snowy or icy conditions. It's not possible to predict when exactly they may be required since requirements are based on conditions.

Will the Tioga Road be open?

The Tioga Road (Highway 120 through the park, from Crane Flat to Tioga Pass) is open approximately late May or June through October, though these dates vary depending on conditions. View a list of opening and closing dates since 1980.

What to Do

What is there to do in Yosemite?

There are so many things to do in Yosemite!

What is there to see in Yosemite?

Yosemite has many attractions.

When is the best time of year to visit Yosemite?

It depends what you're looking for! While most people visit Yosemite during summer, there are advantages to visiting throughout the year.

When do the Half Dome cables go up and come down?

The Half Dome cables are normally installed immediately before Memorial Day weekend, but this can vary depending on conditions and trail crew availability. The cables usually remain up through Columbus Day (in October). A permit is required to hike Half Dome. The National Park Service strongly discourages hikers from attempting the cable route when the cables are down. Learn more about the Half Dome hike.

Where can I see giant sequoias?

There are three giant sequoia groves in Yosemite National Park: the Mariposa Grove, the Tuolumne Grove, and the Merced Grove.

Where and when can I see Horsetail Fall, the waterfall that resembles the Firefall?

Horsetail Fall flows in winter and early spring, when snow is present on top of El Capitan. On sunny afternoons in mid- to late February, the setting sun can cause it to glow orange.

Where and when can I see frazil ice?

Frazil ice forms along Yosemite Creek, and some other creeks in Yosemite Valley, most commonly in March and April. The phenomenon is entirely weather-dependent, so it's difficult to know when exactly it may happen (or if it will happen at all).


Why are animals so tame here? Can I feed them?

Animals in the park are wild, but many are accustomed to people because they have been fed so often. It is illegal to feed or approach any animal in the park. Feeding animals contributes to poor nutrition, ill health, and the alteration of natural behavior patterns. Visitors who get close to or feed animals may also be bitten, scratched, or otherwise injured, or may become ill.

How can I protect bears from my food (and my food from bears)?

Yosemite's bears are always searching for food and consider anything that looks or smells like food to be food. Learn more about how to properly store your food while visiting Yosemite.

How can I protect myself from bears?

Black bears in Yosemite tend to avoid people and can be scared off. Proper food storage helps protect you, your property, and bears. Learn what to do if you see a bear.

Visitor Services

What services are available for visitors with disabilities?

Citizens and legal residents with permanent disabilities are entitled to a free Access Pass that provides the holder free entrance to federal fee areas.

The park strives for full and equal participation for all visitors and continually upgrades facilities, programs and services to improve accessibility. The Yosemite Accessibility Guide outlines a variety of accessible services, facilities, and activities available in Yosemite.

How can I get an educational fee waiver?

Fee waivers are available to educational groups that meet certain criteria.

Can I bring my pet to Yosemite?

Pets are allowed in Yosemite though there are regulations one must follow.

Is Internet access available in Yosemite?

Yes, Internet access is available in some locations.

Will my cell phone work in Yosemite?

Cell service is available with some carriers in some areas, but is limited.

How can I get a job or find volunteer work at Yosemite?

A variety of organizations hire employees and volunteers to work in Yosemite. Learn more about jobs, internships, or volunteer positions.

Do you have a question that's not answered here? Send us an email and we'll consider adding it to this list.

Last updated: February 27, 2024

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