Yosemite tourism officials offer advice for park reservations

OAKHURST — California’s tourism sector is roaring back to life, and although the rest of the state is easing restrictions, Yosemite National Park has not announced changes to the temporary day-use reservation system. Yosemite seekers in 2021 must get savvy to the ways in which they can gain access to Yosemite National Park.


At the time of this news release, less than 50 days of August and September are available to book. Additionally, every day this summer, more than 1,000 passes are available for those that can plan seven days ahead.


“About 90 percent of people coming into our Oakhurst Visitor Center are unaware of the need for a day-use reservation,” said Brooke Smith, spokesperson for Visit Yosemite | Madera County. “If these travelers had only known to look one week in advance, they would have discovered more than 1,000 tickets available per day. The system is frustrating and leaves visitors and locals feeling locked out of their public lands. Everyone on our team is looking forward to doing away with the new policy on September 30, 2021, or as soon as possible.”


“For those that arrive without a reservation, the visitor center can provide direction and some hope. Travelers can book a guided tour, art or photography classes, a guided hike, or use public transportation to get into the park this summer,” explained Smith. “There are ways to sit back and relax and there are adventures for every skill level. This is when a good resource article is helpful. And so, we wrote one!”


Local tour operators have safely guided travelers to Yosemite for decades, and now they are ready to step in and meet the demand. Discover group tours, private tours, jeep tours, caravan tours, horseback excursions, new heights of aviation, climbing adventures and so much more. With spectacular views of El Capitan and Half Dome, this summer’s skies and family fun times are limitless.


The tour companies listed can provide access to Yosemite National Park: Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides, Discover Yosemite Tours, Crossroad Tours, Photo Safari Yosemite, Lasting Adventures, Inc., Yosemite Family Adventures, Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System and Yosemite Trails Horseback Adventures.


The following organizations offer classes for photography, art, and naturalist studies that include park entry for the day of the class: Ansel Adams Gallery and Yosemite Conservancy.


These tour companies do not enter the Yosemite National Park boundary (at least not on the ground) but are the perfect alternative for adventurous couples, friends, and families: O.A.R.S. - Whitewater Rafting, Sierra Fly Fisher Guide, Zephyr Whitewater Expeditions, Yosemite Adventure Company, Airborrn Aviation Services, Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad.


Tourism officials want to be clear; Yosemite National Park is not off-limits this summer. Day-use reservations are available in August and September, and seven days in advance. When reservations fill, local businesses can save the day and help make memories to last a lifetime.

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