Yosemite Valley - Logistical Center

Yosemite Valley - Logistical Center

Page Type Page Type: Logistical Center
Location Lat/Lon: 37.74000°N / 119.58°W
Sign the Climber's Log


Officially, Yosemite Village serves as headquarters for Yosemite National Park, one of America's most popular. Emotionally, Yosemite Valley is Yosemite. Few of us will ever forget that first entrance into Yosemite Valley...the unmistakeable Half Dome from Panorama Point, the 3000-foot wall of El Capitan from below.

Culturally, one could attach similar significance to the Valley. John Muir, whom we can thank for the shape of modern environmentalism, spent some "formative" years here. One could argue that Yosemite Valley was the birthplace of the modern climber. From the first "siege" ascents of big walls like El Cap, to envelope-pushing free climbs, Yosemite has been the nerve center of climbing's evolution over the past fifty years.

To top it all off, Yosemite Valley is a darn nice place. While few large peaks are visible from the Valley floor, many fantastic backcountry trips begin and end here.

Getting There

Driving information from Major Airports
City Distance Yahoo Driving Directions
Reno 227 miles RNO to Yosemite Valley
RNO Extra Info: Route over Tioga Pass on Highway 120 only passable in summer.
San Francisco 193 miles SFO to Yosemite Valley
SFO Extra Info: There is more lodging outside the park if you enter on highway 140, south of highway 120.
Fresno 95 miles FAT to Yosemite Village
FAT Extra Info: Highpoint: Chinqapin Summit, elevation 6000 feet. Chain control often in effect during the winter.

Road Closures/Restrictions: Highway 120 is closed between Tioga Pass and Crane Flat (on a normal snow year) from mid-November to late-May. This only affects access to Yosemite Valley from the east. All western accesses do surmount 6000'+ passes, so winter closures and imposed chain control are common occurances.

Public Transportation: Unlike many other national parks in the Western US, Yosemite has a decent public bus service, YARTS, designed primarily to cut down on private car traffic. On the western side of the park, the YARTS line starts in Merced, California, which has frequent Amtrak train and Greyhound bus service. On the eastern side, the YARTS line terminates at Mammoth Lakes, which has a Greyhound stop.

Red Tape

Entrance fee: $20 per vehicle, good for seven days.

Black bear restrictions: If you drive a private car into the park, you must adhere to strict regulations on the storage of food, because black bears in the park have grown accustomed to "liberating" stored food from vehicles, at any time of the day or night. If a bear breaks into your car to steal food (even candy-bar wrappers constitute "food"), you are liable for $500 or more in fines.


Car/RV Camping
Official NPS Camping page has all the details. In summary, the Valley has three RV-permitted campgrounds (Upper Pines, Lower Pines, and North Pines), and one tent-only campground (Camp 4, formerly Sunnyside walk-in). For reservations, go here.
Campground Open (approx.) Reservations Tents or RVs Cost Spaces Rules
Upper Pines All year Required Both $20 238 Rules
Lower Pines March-October Required Both $20 60 Rules
North Pines April - Sept. Required Both $20 81 Rules
Camp 4 All year No Tents only $20 35 ?

Backcountry Camping
NPS Yosemite Wilderness page

Generally, backcountry camping is permitted anywhere in the wilderness, i.e., more than a mile from the nearest paved road. Wilderness permits, required for any overnight stay in the backcountry are issued on a quota basis, however, so you may not be able to camp in the most popular areas once the quota for those areas fills. Click here for permit station locations. You may reserve wilderness permits for a small fee.

Unlike Sequoia/Kings Canyon NP, bear-proof food canisters are not (yet) required, though they are strongly recommended. Canisters can be rented at wilderness permit stations. NPS food storage page.

Yosemite Concessions operates four non-camping accomodations in Yosemite Valley. In descending order of price (and luxury), we have The Ahwahnee Hotel, Yosemite Lodge, Curry Village, Housekeeping Camp. The Wawona Lodge is south of the Valley, along highway 41.

There are many reasonable lodging options just outside the park. Try the towns of Oakhurst on highway 41 and Mariposa on highway 140

Nearby Points of Interest

Peaks easily accessible from Yosemite Valley
MountainUsual Trailhead MountainUsual Trailhead
Sentinel Dome Four Mile, Panorama North Dome Yosemite Falls or Snow Creek
Half Dome Mist/JMT + Half Dome Trail El Capitan

Common Trailheads near Yosemite Valley
TrailheadDirections from Yosemite Valley
Four Mile On Southside Road, ~1 mile southwest of Sentinel Bridge. TH on right (south) side of road. Map here.
Mist Trail/John Muir Trail Both trailheads are at Happy Isles, near Upper Pines Campground (see map). Mist Trail has great views of Vernal Falls. It joins the JMT above Nevada Falls.
Yosemite Falls Begins at Camp 4 (formerly Sunnyside walk-in campground). Signs near parking lot. On Northside Drive, very close to Yosemite Lodge (see map).
Snow Creek (via Mirror Lake Trail) Mirror Lake Trail: TH in northeast corner of Yosemite Valley (see map). Flat for ~2 miles; Snow Creek TH on left (north).
Panorama Two points of access: 1) via Four Mile Trail @ Glacier Point, 2) via Mist Trail/JMT near Nevada Falls.

Glacier Point
Glacier Point is simply a viewpoint...albeit a very nice one. In the summer, you can drive there: south on 41, up the Glacier Point Road at Chinqapin summit, go to the end. In the winter, you find the same incredible views, without the crowds. The shortest route is up the Four Mile Trail. A great, probable 2-day loop goes as follows: Valley-Mist Trail-Panorama Trail-Glacier Point-Four Mile Trail-Valley. Sentinel Dome is a short walk from Glacier Point. You can ski the Glacier Point Road from its closure point at Badger Pass Ski Resort to Glacier Point.


One upshot to all the civilization in the Valley...you can get some pretty good eats if you so desire. Whether you like it or not, your money goes again to Yosemite Concessions Service. In descending order of quality and price:
  • The Ahwahnee Dining Room: Fantastic, but predictably expensive, just like everything in the Ahwahnee Hotel. Great service, great food, but $30/plate.
  • Mountain Room Restaurant: In Yosemite Lodge. Not bad, but pricy for the quality (~$20/plate). I felt a bit rushed and the service wasn't great. But it beats eating instant dinners in the dark and cold.
  • Cafeterias at Yosemite Lodge and Curry Village. ~$10/head.
  • Assorted doo-dads around Yosemite Village/Curry Village/Yosemite Lodge

Weather Conditions

Real-time Web Cam of Yosemite Valley

Real-time weather conditions 25 miles from Yosemite Valley, at Mariposa.

National Weather Service forecast for Central Sierra.

California Department of Water Resources, Yosemite Valley Station. For additional information regarding Yosemite weather or travelling conditions (ie chain requirements and entrance closures), contact the Yosemite Services switchboard @ (209) 372-0200.

External Links

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

Viewing: 1-2 of 2

Sharon - Oct 1, 2007 3:23 am - Voted 10/10

Internet Junkies

Internet Junkies can get their SP fix by sweet-talking the Ahwahnee front desk staff out of the password to access the hotel's wireless network. They were very nice about it to us, we of the Uncultured & Unwashed Climbing Masses!


erutan - Aug 4, 2013 11:17 pm - Hasn't voted

some changes

You do need bear cans for backcountry use. You can get free WIFI (though it's come and go) in Curry Village in the open 'lounge' building in the hub of things without having to haggle (or 'happen' to overhear) a password somewhere. ;) Backpackers camp is a resource for those within a day of a valid backcountry permits, though overstaying your welcome is enforced in peak season. Yosemite Lodge cafeteria isn't a really a proper "cafeteria" anymore, and I'd tack on another $5 on curry's buffet.

Viewing: 1-2 of 2



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.

Sierra NevadaLogistical Centers
Yosemite National ParkLogistical Centers
The Best of YosemiteLogistical Centers