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Park Entrance Fees and Reservations - Help Needed

Frederick, Maryland
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48 posts
72 reviews
36 helpful votes
Park Entrance Fees and Reservations - Help Needed
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Coming to visit Yosemite for the first time from the East Coast. Arriving at our lodging outside Yosemite around 4:00 pm on Wednesday, May 19 and checking out Sunday, May 23.

I don't have an annual park pass (yet) and I know that for entry starting on the 21st must have a Day Pass but I'm confused about the best way to handle this as our first day entering the park will likely be 5/20. Would I have to pay $35 for a pass on the 20th when I enter the park but also pay another $35 to reserve the 3-day Day Pass for the rest of my time?

Or could I buy an Annual National Parks Pass for $80 and just pay $2 to reserve the 3 day pass? Even though that's a little extra, at least I'd have the annual pass.

Or should we just use the YARTS bus system? There's 2 of us and I'll have a rental car and my preference is probably to drive but as I said this is my first visit.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!!!

4 replies to this topic
Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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89,426 posts
188 reviews
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1. Re: Park Entrance Fees and Reservations - Help Needed
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My suggestion is to purchase the America the Beautiful pass at the entrance gate on your first day. When you join the Mad Scramble for Day Use Entry permits at 8 am on April 21st, tick the box that says you have an America the Beautiful annual pass; your permit will only be $2.

I think driving is "better."

If possible, avoid going into Yosemite Valley on Saturday. Or go in really really early & park for the day.

Frederick, Maryland
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48 posts
72 reviews
36 helpful votes
2. Re: Park Entrance Fees and Reservations - Help Needed
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Thanks for the quick response, PacificNWFamily, - very helpful! I will do exactly that. It will give me an excuse to travel to more NP over then next year!

I think we would try to do the most popular/crowded areas on Thursday and Friday. Any suggested alternatives to Yosemite Valley for Saturday? I'm 54 traveling with my 18 year old son and both of us are in good health and pretty active. Fine with heights...just nothing too dangerous like scaling sheer cliffs or anything!

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
89,426 posts
188 reviews
151 helpful votes
3. Re: Park Entrance Fees and Reservations - Help Needed
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I think that Glacier Point Road will be open by then. Active folks with good shoes might be able to enjoy one of the hikes "over" the snow or amidst the slush. (My guess is based on the fact that the NPS is already able to access the road for plowing, that the NPS will not do major road repairs this spring, that the snowpack is low, and that the concessionaire is planning to open the Glacier Point Store on May 7th.)

Are you also going to Mariposa Grove? It should reopen this "spring", but I don't know what that will actually be.

Frederick, Maryland
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48 posts
72 reviews
36 helpful votes
4. Re: Park Entrance Fees and Reservations - Help Needed
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Thanks! We have good waterproof hiking boots so we will definitely check that out if it's open. Yes, we definitely want to go to Mariposa Grove if it's feasible. I've been checking the weather and it looks like it's been fairly warm out there so hoping we can see and do a lot.

Thanks a lot for the great advice!

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