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Yosemite National Park

California

Yosemite National Park is almost 1,200 square miles of high cliffs and outcroppings, waterfalls, ancient sequoias, and wilderness. There are three groves of giant sequoia trees, some of which are more than 1,000 years old. The park is also home to Half Dome and Yosemite Falls - both spectacular formations in their own right. Whether you want to visit these world-famous landmarks, or spend time in the less populated backcountry, there’s something for everyone to do at Yosemite.

The park sees millions of visitors every year. Because of this, you may have a better chance of hiking and exploring where you wish by using the park’s transit system instead of hoping to find parking at a popular spot.

The weather at Yosemite is fairly mild, though the park usually has snow from November through May. Winter temperatures are mostly in the 40s-50s during the day and in the high 20s-low 30s at night. During the summer, highs are in the 70s-80s and lows are in the 40s-50s. Bring a warm jacket and plan on layers while hiking and touring around the park.  

There are several quaint towns near Yosemite, and many of them draw on the area’s history during the Gold Rush and as part of an arduous pioneer path west. Whether you’re looking to raft one of the area’s rivers, learn more about the history of the Yosemite region, or treat yourself to a dining experience with a once-of-a-kind view, there’s an activity for you!

If you’re looking for things to do inside Yosemite, the park has scheduled events year-round. It’s a popular place during winter as well as summer, with cross-country skiing, tubing, ice skating, and even a ski and snowboard resort. You can find a full schedule of park events and activities planned throughout the year here.

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Weather
Spring 35-65 F
Summer 70-80 F
Fall 40-70 F
Winter 40-50 F
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Nearby Cities
Mariposa, CA
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RV Resorts & Campsites in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite offers many places to camp, both public and private. Because the area is so popular, be sure to make reservations before your trip. Also, some campgrounds are seasonal so be sure yours is open at the time you want to visit.

RV Rentals Near Yosemite National Park

Nearby RV Rentals

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Hit the Trails

There are so many iconic landmarks in Yosemite, and so many great trails where hikers can get a closer look. You can choose from less strenuous hikes to the bottom of these spectacular waterfalls and mountains, or challenge yourself with a trek to the top. Whatever you decide, you’re guaranteed a picture perfect moment...or several.

Yosemite Valley Trails

Lower Yosemite Fall

Distance: 1 mile, round trip

Terrain: Paved loop trail to the bottom of North America’s tallest waterfall, Lower Yosemite falls. A short, easy walk with views of both the Upper and Lower falls.

Cook’s Meadow Loop

Distance: 1 mile, round trip

Terrain: The flat trail is paved in parts, boardwalk in others. An easy walk with views of Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, Glacier Point, and Sentinel Rock.

Vernal and Nevada Fall

Distance: 1.6 miles RT to Vernal Fall, 5.4 miles RT to Nevada Fall

Terrain: This popular hike is paved at the beginning, then gives way to a dirt trail that is almost entirely uphill. A steep granite stairway of over 600 steps takes you to the top of Vernal Fall. After that, steep, rocky switchbacks lead you on to the top of Nevada Fall.

Yosemite Valley Loop

Distance: 7.2 miles for half loop, 11.5 miles for whole loop

Terrain: The fairly level trail follows many of the valley’s first wagon roads and offers some rare solitude in Yosemite Valley. Hike through meadows, talus slopes, and along the Merced River.

Half Dome

Distance: 16 miles round trip, with 4,800 foot elevation gain

Terrain: A strenuous hike that ends with hikers pulling themselves up cables on the side of the rock, but also with spectacular views of the Yosemite Valley below. Hikers must apply for permits in advance for this popular hike.

Wawona/Mariposa Grove Hikes

Grizzly Giant Loop

Distance: 2 miles round trip

Terrain: Begin at Big Trees Loop and hike past the Bachelor and Three Graces, the Grizzly Giant, and California Tunnel Tree. A section of this trail is also wheelchair accessible.

Wawona Meadow Loop

Distance: 3.5 miles round trip

Terrain: Unpaved fire road that loops around wildflower-strewn Wawona Meadow.

Swinging Bridge Loop

Distance: 4.8 miles round trip

Terrain: Paved road for 2 miles, then a dirt road that crosses Swinging Bridge, passes Pioneer Yosemite History Center and ends after crossing a covered bridge.

Mariposa Grove Trail to Wawona Point

Distance: 7 mile round trip

Terrain: Wide, relatively smooth trail that follows a route people have used to get to the grove for generations. Walk past trees such as Bachelor and Three Graces, the Faithful Couple, and the Clothespin Tree to the upper reaches of the grove and on to Wawona Point.

Chilnualna Falls

Distance: 8.2 miles round trip with a 2,400 foot elevation gain

Terrain: Follow Chilnualna Creek for half a mile, then hike a series of switchbacks into open forest with views of the Wawona area

Tuolumne Meadows Trails

Soda Springs and Parsons Lodge

Distance: 1.5 miles round trip

Terrain: Gravel road that passes Soda Springs where carbonated, cold water bubbles out of the ground. Parsons Memorial Lodge has exhibits, then a path winds to the bridge below and on to Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center.

Elizabeth Lake

Distance: 4.8 miles round trip

Terrain: Steady climb to a glacier-carved lake at the base of Unicorn Peak.

Cathedral Lakes

Distance: 7 miles round trip with a 1,000 foot elevation gain

Terrain: This popular hike is a steady climb to Upper and Lower Cathedral Lake.

Mono Pass

Distance: 8 miles round trip with a 1,000 foot elevation gain

Terrain: The historic trail begins with a gentle climb through meadows and creeks, then heads more steeply up to Mono Pass. Views of Mono Lake and Bloody Canyon, then on to Sardine Lake.

Vogelsang High Sierra Camp

Distance: 13.8 miles round trip with a 1,400 foot elevation gain

Terrain: Trail is relatively flat as it follows a fork of the Tuolumne River, then heads up Tuolumne Pass to the camp and lake beyond.

Restaurants

What to Do at
Yosemite National Park

There is, of course, a ton of stuff to do inside Yosemite National Park. However, the area around it is full of exciting activities and events as well. From exploring more of the area’s Gold Rush history to dining with spectacular views of the Yosemite Valley, there’s plenty to do once you’re done on the trails.

Restaurants

The Majestic Yosemite Hotel (formerly the Ahwahnee Hotel)

Type: Upscale Dining

Location: Yosemite Valley

Narrow Gauge Inn

Type: French

Location: Fish Camp

South Gate Brewing Company

Type: Pub

Location: Oakhurst

Happy Burger Diner

Type: Burgers

Location: Mariposa

Shortstop Sandwiches

Type: Sandwiches

Location: Mariposa

Shopping

Chocolate Soup

Location: Mariposa

Anahata

Location: Mariposa

Yosemite Bicycle & Sport

Location: Oakhurst

Branches Books & Gifts

Location: Oakhurst

Rock Shop

Location: Oakhurst

Museums

Sightseeing

Mono Lake
Bass Lake
Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad
Horseback and Mule Riding
Whitewater Rafting
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How to Get to
Yosemite National Park

By Car

There are several ways to get to Yosemite National Park. The park is about four to five hours from the San Francisco Bay Area, and about a six-hour drive from Los Angeles.

From San Francisco and the Bay Area, take 580 east to 120 east, or 140 east into the park. From Los Angeles and Southern California, take the 5 freeway north to Hwy 99 to Hwy 41 into Yosemite.


By plane

The closest airport is the Fresno Yosemite International Airport, a little over an hour away. If you want more choices for flights, your next options are the airports in San Jose or Sacramento.

By RV

You can also travel around Yosemite by renting an RV. RVing allows you to travel at your own pace and stop wherever you’d like on your journey. If you don’t own an RV, RV rentals are available in many places along the way. You can fly into one of the areas above and rent an RV near Yosemite, or rent one in your hometown for your vacation.

There are several RV campgrounds in Yosemite. Check to make sure the campground you’re interested in is open when you plan to visit (some are seasonal), and be sure to make reservations in advance.  

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Entering Yosemite National Park

You will need to purchase a pass to enter Yosemite National Park. You can buy it at the entrance gate, or online here before you go. There are also a few free days, which you can find here. Fourth graders get free entrance to national parks for themselves and everyone in their vehicle - you can find more information on the Every Kid in a Park Passhere. You can also purchase Annual Passes to the park, along with Senior Passes here.

Yosemite National Park Private Vehicle : $35.0

Private, non-commercial vehicles (15 passenger capacity or less) and all occupants.

Yosemite National Park Motorcycle : $30.0

One or two passengers on a private, non-commercial motorcycle.

Yosemite National Park Per Person : $20.0

One individual with no car (bicyclist, hiker, pedestrian). Youth 15 and under are admitted for free.

It’s not surprising that Yosemite National Park is one of the more popular parks in the country. The striking beauty of places like Half Dome and El Capitan share space with stunning waterfalls, wildflower-sprinkled meadows, and spectacular giant trees. Regardless of which parts of the park you visit, you’ll see some amazing sights. It’s our joy at RVshare to help people explore the amazing outdoors and create lifetime memories with their loved ones. Visiting Yosemite in an RV allows you to see the park in comfort and at your own pace. Regardless of whether you choose to visit Yosemite in an RV rental from us or use other accommodations, we’d love to see pictures of your trip! Send us photos at [email protected] and tag us on social media to share details and tips about your visit. Your adventures could be featured on our blog or social media!

Frequently Asked Questions About Yosemite National Park

What are the top things to do in Yosemite National Park?

Top things to do at Yosemite National Park include exploring the Yosemite Valley, driving to Glacier Point, and hiking Vernal and Nevada Falls. There are many excellent hikes, bike rides, and other ways to explore the park as well!

Do you have to reserve a camping spot at Yosemite National Park?

Yes, you do need to reserve a camping spot at Yosemite National Park. Reservations are required for all open campgrounds in 2022 and there are no first-come, first-served campgrounds open.

Reservations are also required to drive into the park during peak hours from May - September.

Are pets allowed at Yosemite National Park?

Yes, pets are allowed in developed areas of Yosemite National Park. Pets may be on paved roads, sidewalks, and bicycle paths unless there are signs indicating otherwise. Pets are also allowed in all campgrounds except walk-in campgrounds.

What is the best time of year to visit Yosemite National Park?

The best time of year to visit Yosemite National Park is in May or September. Crowds are smaller in these months since the summer season isn't in full swing, but the weather is pleasant and visitors can hike, bike, and do plenty of outdoor activities.

How large is Yosemite National Park?

Yosemite National Park is 1,169 square miles, or 759,620 acres large. It encompasses rivers, forests, meadows, waterfalls, ancient sequoia groves, and more.