Yosemite National Park (map) is an American national park in Northern California, surrounded on the southeast by Sierra National Forest (map) and on the northwest by Stanislaus National Forest (map).
Designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves. Yosemite now draws about four million visitors each year, and most visitors spend the majority of their time in the seven square miles (18 km2) of Yosemite Valley (map).
Yosemite Valley is open year-round and numerous activities are available through the National Park Service, Yosemite Conservancy, and Aramark at Yosemite.
+ More information > Wikipedia • Wikivoyage • UNESCO
A free shuttle bus system operates year-round in the valley, and park rangers encourage people to use this system since parking within the valley during the summer is often nearly impossible to find.
Yosemite is one of the world’s most spectacular hiking destinations, and all visitors should consider at least a short hike. Over 800 miles (1,300 km) of trails are available to hikers — everything from an easy stroll to a challenging mountain hike, or an overnight backpack trip.
If you only have a single day to visit the park, a drive around Yosemite Valley is probably the best option. Longer visits provide options for hiking, visiting sites outside the Valley, and getting a fuller experience of what the Sierra Nevadas have to offer.
The loop road through Yosemite Valley is now one-way. For many years this was a two-lane road, but motorists travelling slowly to admire the scenery often created a long backup of annoyed drivers, so the Park Service converted most of the roads in the valley into one-way roads to allow passing. As a result, when driving in the valley be aware that a wrong turn can send you on a one-way five-mile detour.
“I find that in contemplating the natural world my pleasure is greater if there are not too many others contemplating it with me, at the same time.” –Edward Abbey
Almost 95% of Yosemite is designated Wilderness, offering endless opportunities for adventure, solitude, and connection. In order to protect these wild places and provide an outstanding hiking experience, wilderness permits are required for all overnight trips.
Use the resources on this page to start planning your trip, find important information about safety and regulations, and learn how to apply for your wilderness permit.
yarts.com – buses to the park.
+ Getting to Yosemite (nps.gov)
ROADTRIPPERS – world’s #1 road trip planning platform. (*Driving in the United States)
BUS > GoToBus.com is the leading go-to website for booking inter-city bus ticket online. Intercity bus travel is widespread, but not available everywhere. Greyhound Bus Lines • Bolt Bus • Megabus • Chinatown buses. (*Long-distance bus travel in the United States)
RAIL > AMTRAK | eTicketing | Interactive Map. Some of the most scenic routes include the California Zephyr that runs between *Emeryville (map) in the San Francisco Bay Area of California to Chicago and the Empire Builder that goes from Chicago to Seattle or Portland. (*Rail travel in the United States)
AIRPORTS > The international airports in Atlanta (Hartsfield) • New York City (Newark Liberty and John F. Kennedy International Airport) • Los Angeles • Chicago (O’Hare IA) • San Francisco • Seattle (Seattle-Tacoma) • Miami • Houston (George Bush) are the main points of entry to the United States by plane. Flight Delay Information — Air Traffic Control System Command Center.
WATERWAYS > Washington State Ferries | Route Maps: Where we sail (PDF). Bluewater Ferry Inc. (USA – Canada). America has the largest system of inland waterways of any country in the world. It is entirely possible to navigate around within the United States by boat. The New York State Canal System • The St. Lawrence Seaway • *The Mississippi River.