Is Yosemite National Park Open? Updates on Wildfires, COVID-19
Yosemite National Park and COVID-19
Yes; As of October 2020, Yosemite National Park is open. Until November 1, 2020, Yosemite National Park is running on a reservation-only system for both day and overnight visitors.
Yosemite National Park has introduced a phased re-opening program restricting park entry to ensure that guests have more than enough space to implement safe distancing procedures. Some of these increased COVID-19 related safety measures include:
- Reservation system for private vehicles entering the park
- Outdoor Visitor Center stations, with transparent screens placed to minimize virus transmittal
- Trail traffic regulations on popular hiking trails
- Discontinued free shuttle service and in-park tours
- Requirements to wash all linens and dishes between guests for lodging rentals
- Removal of pamphlets, magazines, and maps from high-touch areas
- Reduced indoor dining capacity at in-park restaurants and grills
A campground reservation inside the park, reservation for lodging inside the park, private lodging rental reservation within the park, or Yosemite Wilderness/Half Dome permit will allow guests through the park gates. Additionally, visitors traveling into Yosemite using a small tour service or YARTS will be permitted entry. Those without one of the aforementioned reservations or permits will need to request a Day-use reservation pass through the National Parks Service website.
These reservation requirements are set to limit the number of visitors flocking to popular attractions such as Glacier Point, Tuolumne Meadows, Half Dome, El Capitan, Tunnel View, and Lower Yosemite Falls.
For travelers visiting Yosemite prior to November 1, 2020, drive-up reservations will not be offered. Guests without lodging reservations or a relevant permit must place a reservation online prior to arrival.
The following trails are temporarily closed:
- Crane Flat
- Bridalveil Fall
- Lower Yosemite Fall boulders
- Chowchilla Mountain Road
All major roads, emergency services, public restrooms, trails, public viewing areas, and gas stations remain open. Some stores in Yosemite Valley remain open, and food services are available in Glacier Point and Yosemite Valley.
Is Yosemite Safe?
Yes; Yosemite National Park is safe to visit.
Due to the small population size living within Yosemite’s borders, abundance of wide-open space within the park, and enhanced cleaning guidelines enforced for lodging businesses, COVID-19 cases in the Yosemite area have remained some of the lowest in the state of California.
Wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing, and washing/sanitizing hands regularly is the best way to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Travelers visiting popular hiking trails are encouraged to wear cloth face coverings if they are unable to remain at least 6 feet apart from fellow visitors.
Anyone experiencing symptoms of the COVID-19 virus is highly encouraged to get tested prior to arrival, or to postpone his or her trip to Yosemite National Park.
Yosemite National Park and California Wildfires
As of early October 2020, it is once again safe to visit Yosemite National Park. There are, however, still multiple fires burning in the park. Wildfires are considered to be a natural and necessary part of the ecological life cycle within Yosemite. Typically, wildfires are caused by lightning strikes upon the landscape. Trail closures may be in effect during one’s stay in the park, based on the location of burning fire(s) at the time of visit. Park managers work diligently with local Air Quality officials to monitor smoke output in the park and nearby communities.
It is recommended that visitors monitor air quality conditions before venturing into the park or out on a hike. Symptoms of a reaction to poor air quality include: coughing, wheezing, burning eyes, difficulty breathing, and/or a runny nose.
A great source of frequently updated information concerning Yosemite fire updates can be found here: Yosemite Fire Map.
As of October 2020, the following area is temporarily closed due to a nearby fire:
- Mariposa Grove Road; temporarily closed due to the Creek Fire.
Safe Lodging in Yosemite National Park
Despite COVID-19 and fire related conditions, a vacation to Yosemite National Park is widely considered to be one of the safest getaway options possible. The easiest way to ensure park access and comfortable accommodations is to reserve lodging with Yosemite’s Scenic Wonders!
If you’re looking for Yosemite National Park lodging, call Yosemite’s Scenic Wonders at 1-888-YOSEMITE (1-888-967-3648) to begin planning your memorable vacation. Scenic Wonders offers quality home, condo, and cabin rentals inside of Yosemite National Park at reasonable prices!