Is Yosemite National Park open to visitors?

Yosemite National Park is not only a shrine to human foresight but also home to wildlife. Many people visit the park regardless of the season. Enjoy the gushing waterfalls during spring and outdoor activities during summer.

Moreover, there are fewer crowds amidst colorful trees during fall and a snowy wonderland during winter. You also wouldn’t want to miss its giant sequoia trees, sheer granite cliffs, and more.

As California combats wildfires throughout the state, is Yosemite National Park open to visitors? Yes, Yosemite National Park is open! However, shuttle services are not operational. Additionally, there is a limit in services, so make a reservation before going. Of course, you must practice responsible recreation!

Is Yosemite closed due to fires in 2021?

There is an announcement from the United States Forest Service that it is closing California’s national forests to the public. It is effective starting August 31 at 11:59 P.M. to September 17 until further notice. However, this doesn’t affect Yosemite National Park.

The National Park Service assures the visitors that Yosemite is still open. They also shared that there will be a lot of new information on the website. There may be road closures or changes to some trails and entrance points, but the park will remain open.

Are California fires affecting Yosemite?

Wildfires are raging across the northern forests of California due to scorching heat and severe drought. In July, the River fire erupted 20 miles outside of Yosemite National Park. It covered the ground in just a few hours and spread over 9,000 acres by the next day.

Experts say that rather than stop all fires, we should manage fire risk and minimize property damage. Instead of ending the fire, we should embrace the knowledge that some fire is normal, healthy, and necessary.

We can reduce the risks of disasters if we direct more forest resource management funds in the Wildland-Urban Interface. Also, small-scale tweaks like clearing vegetation and strategically thinning some trees and brushes are beneficial.

Wilderness Permit Conditions

There may be some changes. However, all wilderness regulations and quotas are still in effect. Existing wilderness permit reservations for trips originating in Yosemite are still valid.

A valid wilderness permit does not include booking a reservation. You can pick up a wilderness permit on the same day or during open hours one day at Wilderness Centers. The person who issues the wilderness permit is responsible for knowing and obeying the conditions of your access. Make sure you have it with you at all times so you can follow the rules!

There are allowed containers you can bring for food storage. However, it’s ideal if you get bear canisters available for rent at the Valley Wilderness Center. You can also opt to rent from other centers once they open for the season. 

Additional Wilderness Permit Conditions 

Pets, strollers, bicycles, and any motor transport are forbidden

Fishing permits with a valid California fishing license 

No additional fire permit within wilderness areas

Fire Restrictions

For more than a decade, Yosemite has had fire restrictions in place. The park had seen many fires of various sizes and severity until management put the rules into effect. However, the administration lifted these restrictions due to the relatively wet winter. This mandate gives hope and renews optimism to those who frequent the area.

If conditions at Crane Flat continue to build up, the fire restrictions may go into effect. Moreover, if the fire at Crane Flat exceeds 70 for three consecutive days, stage 1 restrictions may go into effect. Lastly, if it exceeds 80 for three straight days, stage 2 restrictions may go into effect. Ensure that you know what stage of regulations is to prevent fires from getting out of control.

Stage One (Current) Fire Restrictions in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular parks in the country, with roughly ten million visitors per year. However, after a new fire restriction took effect immediately, it’s unclear when or if the park will lift these restrictions.

The management prohibits campfires and outdoor cooking devices above 8000 feet unless you’re in an open campground or picnic area. You can, however, use fire rings that are above 8000 feet. Make sure that you don’t leave fires unattended and use dead and downed wood only.

You can use a portable stove that doesn’t use wood. These include pressurized gas, liquid fuel, propane, or alcohol. Also, smoking is forbidden unless you’re in an enclosed vehicle, open areas, smoking areas, or picnic areas with wood fires. Fireworks are not okay to bring with you on your visit.

Stage Two Fire Restrictions in Yosemite National Park

Stage two fire restrictions are being implemented in Yosemite National Park, effective immediately. This rule means lighter loads are allowed in the park until further notice. Additionally, it will help reduce the risk of human-caused wildfires throughout the park.

With help from the Department of Parks and Recreation, it is easier to enjoy a wood or charcoal fire anywhere. You can now find open fire pits at all of our parks and recreational areas. Stoves that don’t use wood are good. They are environmentally friendly and safer to use. As always, fireworks are prohibited within Yosemite National Park.

Is Yosemite safe to visit now?

Yosemite National Park is still a safe place for visitors to explore even after the recent rockfall in Half Dome. The park has been open since summertime. Additionally, officials have been working on a plan to prevent another rockfall from happening again. In the meantime, Yosemite is still one of America’s most beautiful parks and outdoor destinations.

Yosemite National Park uses a mixture of strategies to suppress, monitor, or contain the 44 fires this year. Currently, there are four active fires. Fortunately, the fire is already under control with the use of control lines and natural barriers.

The fires burning in Yosemite National Park give you the insight to see the disaster happening in this place. You can check the weather and air quality before going. However, you can still visit the park for limited recreational activities and COVID-19 protocols. All must follow these regulations.

Is Yosemite national park open for camping?

You can enjoy camping only in designated campsites or areas but not between Yosemite Valley and Little Yosemite Valley. As a result, you can stay at least two miles beyond the Little Yosemite Valley campground. Camping beyond Moraine Dome or the Half Dome/John Muir Trail junction is okay.

The backpackers’ campgrounds can visit Glen Aulin, May Lake, Sunrise, Merced Lake, and Vogelsang High Sierra Camps. Each campground has a food locker and a group fire ring. Composting toilets and potable water are available in High Sierra Camps.

You should always check the map before you go camping in new areas. The Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, Hetch Hetchy, and Wawona map shows each trail’s minimum legal camping distances.

However, you can’t camp in the following areas:

The top of Half Dome

Lukens Lake

Parker Pass Creek watershed

Budd Creek watershed

Gaylor Creek watershed

Dana Fork of the Tuolumne River watershed

Below Lake Eleanor and Hetch Hetchy’s high water line

The management allows visitors to camp within 100 feet of a stream, trail, or body of water. There is a well-established campsite, and terrain permits with no other options available for visitors. Camping is okay within 25 feet of a stream, trail, or body of water.

Safe and Sound in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is one of the best destinations you must visit if you want to unwind, relax and chill. It helps if you never forget to be responsible for your actions while visiting the park. So, pack with your camping necessities along with your patience.

Stay connected not with your phones but with nature and the people you are with. Think about how much you love nature and how much you want to protect it.

Responsible recreation means taking the necessary precautions to stay safe while still enjoying your day. It would be best if you remember what to avoid in areas with high fire risks. Hence, if you are ready to visit Yosemite National Park, you educate yourself first.