The National Park Service is ready to reopen Yosemite as early as next week, however they are still working with state health officials to grant approval for campsites and hotels to reopen in the surrounding communities. If these don't reopen when the Park does, there will be a significant problem with overnight visitors being without lodging.
The first steps to reopening starts on Friday, when people with overnight wilderness backpacking permits and permits to climb Half Dome, will be allowed to enter the park. Hotels, restaurants and other facilities will not be open Friday. There will be no commercial services open and visitors will have to bring their own food and beverages, as well as a full tank of gas.
Information about obtaining permits for overnight backpacking in Yosemite's wilderness back country or for day-hiking Half Dome are available at the park's website. Anyone arriving at the park without a wilderness permitor Half dome permit in the next few days will not be allowed to enter.
Meanwhile, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are scheduled to open Thursday, although campgrounds and the visitor center there will be closed.
Back at Yosemite, Park's officials have drawn up a plan that will require all day-use visitors to obtain reservations online first, with the number of visitors limited to 50% of the park's usual capacity to help social distancing. That plan means shuttle buses will not be running in Yosemite Valley. the Ahwahnee Hotel and Yosemite Valley Lodge should be open along with two campgrounds, North Pines and Upper Pines. Trails along the parking lots will also be open.
Still, the exact opening date has been unclear for weeks. It's worth noting that roughly 70% of the Park's overnight visitors stay outside the Park, so it will be interesting to see if local business can open in time to handle the influx of visitors, even if capacity is limited to to 50%.
The good news is there are many hidden and remote primitive campsites just outside of Yosemite, one or two of which require four wheel drive to access. With this in mind, if you are planning a trip to Yosemite this summer, contact us and we will share whatever up to date information we have.
Our vehicles enable you to access the primitive campsites, which regular campers and RVs simply cannot reach ... so peace, quiet and nature wont have to be shared with crowds of people!
If you want to know if you should visit a National Park when they reopen, take a look at our recent blog post: Should you consider visiting a National Park when they reopen?
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