Travel Info

Getting Around Yosemite

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Caution using Online Maps and GPS units

Tips for Getting Around Yosemite Valley

Using the Turn-Outs

Near-by Gas Stations

Drive the Speed Limit

More Travel References

Public Transportation

Online Maps and GPS units?

We have, unfortunately, had a number of guests who have been misled by their GPS units, and ended up wandering around the Search and Rescue offices (ironically) instead of getting to their hotels.  We suspect that the online maps may be inaccurate.  Once inside the park, we recommend backing up GPS instructions with a good map and by following the posted road signs to your destination.

Also, beware of online map services that recommend Chowchilla Mountain road as a direct route into Yosemite.  Unless you are interested in 4-wheeling on this rutted dirt road, Highway 140 is a much faster option.

You can download official maps of the Park, and of Yosemite Valley from the National Park Service here.

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Tips for Getting Around Yosemite Valley

Biking in Yosemite Valley

Arrive early, leave late:  Even on the busiest driving days in Yosemite Valley, traffic doesn’t build up until around 9am or 10am and then subsides at 6pm or 7pm.  The same is true in the evening ~ those not fortunate enough to stay in the Valley typically begin their return drives home at 4pm or 5pm, depending on the day of the week and traffic patterns.  Take advantage of the quiet times to get into and out of the Valley, and take advantage of alternative transportation while you are here.

Ride the Shuttle Bus:  There are many different shuttle bus routes available to Yosemite Park visitors so that you can park your car in a large, day-use lot and commute easily without having to worry about traffic or multiple parking changes.  Free hybrid shuttles are available for getting around the Valley floor.  Other busses can take you to Tuolumne Meadows, or Glacier Point.  You can download a Valley shuttle bus map from the National Park Service that also includes the extended El Capitan loop, available June through September.  Call (209) 372-4FUN to get more information on other bus tours.

Ride a Bicycle:  Biking is one of the best and most fun means of getting around the Valley floor during the busier summer months.  Twelve miles of paved bike trails allow traffic-free travel to most places within the Eastern end of Yosemite Valley, including the loop to Happy Isles and the road to Mirror Lake which are closed to personal vehicles not bearing handicapped placards.  Not only is this a fun and healthy way to see the park, biking also makes it easy to stop and take pictures.  The pace is slow enough that you won’t miss out on the scenery, and there’s no annoying automobile roof over your head obstructing views of the high cliffs and waterfalls.  Bicycle rentals are available at the Curry Village Recreation Center and at the Yosemite Lodge Bike Stand, weather conditions permitting.

Walk: And of course the simplest thing method of transportation is to simply walk.  Bring your camera, spend a little extra time, and really stop to smell the wildflowers along the way.

Planning Guides for a Yosemite visit: Explore a few suggestions on how to take advantage of YARTs transportation into the Valley to help you plan a perfect day.

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Use The Turn Outs

Here’s an insider’s tip on mountain driving: Use those pull-outs or turn-outs along the side of the road.

Not only do they provide a safe place for you to stop the car to take a picture, consult a map, or simply pause and admire the scenery, they also allow drivers to pull over and let cars behind them pass. Because passing lanes are rare on winding mountain roads within Yosemite, traffic flow depends on the consideration of the driver in front.  Please take advantage of the turn-outs to allow others to pass.  Drivers often receive a grateful wave when they allow others to move at their own pace.

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Gas Stations in Yosemite

Gas stations in the Yosemite area are located in Wawona, Crane Flat, Tuolumne Meadows (seasonally) and El Portal.  These are all a substantial drive (30 – 60 minutes) from Yosemite Valley, so plan accordingly.  Diesel is available at all gas stations.


Crane Flat Gas Station is located in the park at the Crane Flat junction of Highway 120 East and West, 17 miles outside of Yosemite Valley. Gas is available 24 hours a day with a credit/debit card.

Wawona Gas Station is located inside the park in the Wawona area on Hwy 41 near the South Entrance. Gas is available 24 hours a day with a credit/debit card.

Tuolumne Gas Station  is located inside the park on Hwy 120 in Tuolumne Meadows next to the Tuolumne Meadows Store. Gas is available 24 hours a day with a credit/debit card.

El Portal Gas Station  is located outside the park on Hwy 140 in El Portal next to the El Portal Market. Gas is available 24 hours a day with a credit/debit card.

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Drive the Speed Limit

We have 3.5 million visitors to the park each year, many of whom are first-time visitors in awe of their natural surroundings.  Sometimes drivers do unpredictable things, like stopping in the middle of the road just past a blind corner to take a picture.  And our wildlife still hasn’t learned to use the cross-walks.  You might come around a corner and find yourself face to face with a 350-pound bear.  In 2007, 12 bears were hit by cars.  It’s bad for the automobiles and sad for the wildlife.  To some people, the 25 and 35-mile-per-hour speed limits may seem slow for the road conditions, but when wildlife dart out of the forest unexpectedly, slower speeds make the difference in saving their lives.

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Public Transportation

Taking public transportation into and around Yosemite is a great way to explore the area without the hassle of traffic and parking.  Public transit allows visitors to better enjoy Yosemite Valley by spending less time in the car and more time in nature.

Check out your public transportation options here.

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More Travel References

If you are visiting during the winter be sure to check out these winter driving tips.

Get directions for getting to Yosemite.

Check out the current weather in Yosemite.

Find out about current road & trail conditions on the NPS site.

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