How Can You travel To And In Yosemite National Park In Responsible Eco-friendly Ways?
Yosemite National Park – March 2022 – Let’s face it we seem to be facing a very challenging time for travel to and from some of our favorite locations the United States. Not only are gas prices soaring making trips more expensive, but the restrictions still being caused by Covid 19 and the ongoing challenges of over crowding and travel delays at many of our favorite landmarks. Visiting Yosemite National Park in the High Sierra has been impacted greatly from the overcrowding factors for many years now. so as we break from the Covid 19 restrictions and we face the ever challenging economic impacts to travel. How do we learn to travel more Eco-friendly and sustainably to our favorite National Park and help reduce your carbon foot print?
Travel into Yosemite National Park has four Main routes. three from the West side (120 west, 140 and 41) that are open year round and One from the East side (Tioga Pass 120 East) which is open only during the summer season. Typically when we speak of traffic or travel concerns with Yosemite we are speaking of travel into and from Yosemite Valley. however even in the past few years and with the new Summer season Reservation system in place travel over Tioga Pass can often cause delays in travel of over an hour as you wait to get past the gate. Parking and slow moving lines of vehicles in Yosemite are always a concern as guest drive several hours to reach the park only to find themselves stuck in a car for far too long in many locations.
One Eco-Friendly way to Experience the Park is by using Public transportation options from outside the park and then the YART bus system inside the park for travel to and from popular attractions.
Getting to Yosemite
Bus service is available to Yosemite Valley (and, during summer, to some other areas of the park) from cities throughout California and the rest of the United States.
Amtrak provides a combination of train and bus service to Yosemite Valley. Amtrak also provides limited service to White Wolf and Tuolumne Meadows daily during July and August (weekends only during June and September). Amtrak service beyond Merced (including Yosemite) is provided by YARTS.
Greyhound provides bus service to Merced, where you can transfer to YARTS to continue to Yosemite Valley. YARTS also provides limited service to Crane Flat, White Wolf, and Tuolumne Meadows daily during July and August (weekends only during June and September).
- From San Francisco, you can take a bus to Yosemite National Park and join one of the numerous hiking, biking, and horseback riding trips that explore Yosemite Valley.
Service from Nearby Communities
- Highway 140 (Merced, Mariposa, Midpines, El Portal).
- Highway 120 from the east (Lee Vining, June Lake, Mammoth Lakes)
- Highway 120 from the west (Buck Meadows, Groveland, Sonora)
- Highway 41 from the south (Fish Camp, Oakhurst, Fresno
Service is provided by YARTS.
No Reservation Required
YARTS Highway 120 East Bus
YARTS (for a fee) provides service between Yosemite Village and Mammoth Lakes, with stops at Crane Flat, White Wolf, and Tuolumne Meadows. This service operates daily in July and August and weekends only in June and September (conditions permitting).
YARTS Highway 120 North Bus
YARTS (for a fee) provides service between Yosemite Village and Sonora, with stops at Crane Flat, Big Oak Flat (Hodgdon Meadow), Buck Meadows area, Groveland, and Sonora/Jamestown. This service operates daily from mid-May through September. Service to Sonora/Jamestown is not available on weekends and holidays.
YARTS Highway 41 Bus
YARTS (for a fee) provides service between Fresno and Yosemite Valley, with stops in Wawona. This service operates daily during summer.
Getting Around Yosemite
Yosemite Valley Shuttle System
The free Yosemite Valley shuttle system provides convenient access around Yosemite Valley.
- Yosemite Valley shuttle
This bus provides service around eastern Yosemite Valley, including stops at or near all overnight accommodations, stores, and major vistas. This shuttle is operating on a modified basis, with service every 20 to 30 minutes from 7 am to 8 pm at a limited number of stops (see map).
- El Capitan shuttle
This bus stops at El Capitan, Four Mile trailhead, and the Valley Visitor Center. This shuttle operates from mid-June through early October from 9 am to 5 pm.
Mariposa Grove Shuttle
This free shuttle provides service from the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza (near South Entrance) to the Mariposa Grove. This is the primary way to get to the Mariposa Grove. The shuttle can operate starting no earlier than March 15 and ending no later than November 30, but dates vary from year to year, especially in spring (due to conditions). View the complete schedule.
Limited shuttle service is also available from Wawona Hotel from mid-June to early September between 9 am and 5 pm, with pick-ups/drop-offs about every two hours. This service is available to visitors staying overnight in Wawona.
Badger Pass Ski Area
The free shuttle provides service between Yosemite Valley and Badger Pass whenever the facilities at the ski area are open (typically mid-December through March).
Glacier Point Tour
This tour is not operating in 2022 due to the Glacier Point Road closure and rehabilitation project.
Many people purchase a one-way ticket on the Glacier Point Tour and take it from Yosemite Valley Lodge to Glacier Point, then hike back down to Yosemite Valley. This bus does not make stops at other trailheads. Service is available when the Glacier Point Road is open (typically late May through October).
Tuolumne Meadows Shuttle
The Tuolumne Meadows shuttle bus provides convenient access throughout the Tuolumne Meadows area between the Tioga Pass and Olmsted Point (including Tenaya Lake) during the summer (typically mid-June through early September). See the complete schedule.
Yosemite Valley-Tuolumne Meadows Hikers’ Bus
The Yosemite Valley-Tuolumne Meadows hikers’ bus provides service from Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center and stops at various trailheads on the Tioga Road. Service is available from approximately mid-June to early September.
Sustainable Eco-Friendly Travel
Eco-Friendly Travel does not stop at transportation. We have plenty to learn about traveling in Eco Friendly manners. whether that means eliminating packaging from process food options or eliminating water bottles and other disposable materials from our travel plans. travelers can help make Yosemite national park or any destination a healthier and more sustainable location with a little forethought and concern on their trip.
Tips for traveling in an eco-friendly sustainable manner with your family
- Eliminate Plastic Water Bottles or Soda Containers – When traveling specifically, think aboutNEW! Refill for Good Hydro Flask Limited Edition bottles! Free Shipping Today!” data-wplink-url-error=”true”> investing in a Hydro flask type water bottle system so that you can carry liquids on your travels with out the need for plastic water bottles.
- Pack Picnic from home using re-usable containers
- Purchase fruit from Fruit Stands on your way to the park. On the West side specifically as you travel through the Valley before reaching the foot hills of Yosemite, you will travel through robust farm country with roadside stands for cherry’s, plums, peaches, apples etc.. great travel snacks for the car on your trip and it supports local farming community.
- Consider using Eco Friendly solutions for backpacking meals, or using companies and brands that help support leave no trace with their styles and core product offerings. such as Right on Trek food solutions.
- Walk the extra mile – one way to help with sustainable future of Yosemite is to walk every where and stay on the provided paths. Park the car once you get off your shuttle, plan walking trips and activities for the family so and take int he 360 views of Yosemite Valley.
This might seem a little extreme, but with reservations systems filling quickly for summer and the increased cost of travel, maybe the most sustainable and eco friendly solution is to do a virtual event with the Yosemite Conservancy group
oin one of our experienced naturalists for a live-streamed, interactive guided tour of Yosemite Valley, and enjoy your favorite sites — or explore somewhere new — without leaving your living room. You’ll see jaw-dropping landmarks and waterfalls, discover the natural forces that shaped this iconic place, and learn about the people and wildlife that call it home.
- Yosemite Valley: You’ll see Half Dome, Sentinel Rock, Yosemite Falls, the Merced River and more.
- Foresta: A small community within Yosemite National Park, Foresta is an alternate location with a rich history and views of El Capitan and Half Dome.
- Bird walks: Our naturalists can spend your virtual walking tour observing and identifying Yosemite’s year-round avian residents.
- Art classes: Our talented instructors will design a stationary virtual program and walk you through the basics of painting or sketching a beautiful Yosemite scene.
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