Yosemite expecting busy Memorial Day weekend | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Yosemite expecting busy Memorial Day weekend

Yosemite's falls have not raged full bore since 2011.

Yosemite National Park officials are anticipating an extremely busy Memorial Day weekend, and are encouraging visitors to arrive before 9 a.m. or after 4 p.m.

Once in the park, visitors are urged to park their vehicles at the Yosemite Village, Yosemite Falls, or Half Dome Village parking areas and tour Yosemite Valley by using the free shuttle bus service, bike paths, and hiking trails. Parking in Yosemite Valley is limited and parking is expected to fill early.

All campgrounds on the reservation system are completely sold out for the weekend. The park’s first-come, first-served campgrounds are anticipated to fill early. There are a large number of campground and lodging options in the gateway communities surrounding the park.

Additionally, the park is expecting a very busy summer season. Below are some tips to enjoy the park during the busy summer season.

Plan trips during the mid-week – Yosemite Valley is most popular on a weekends and holidays which can mean traffic congestion. Fewer visitors arrive Monday through Friday.

Arrive before 9 a.m. Most vehicle congestion occurs during the middle of the day. If you can’t arrive early, try after 4 p.m.

The Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (www.yarts.com) picks up passengers at multiple locations along Highway 140 (from Merced) and along Highway 120 (from Sonora and Mammoth Lakes), and along Highway 41 (beginning in Fresno). The buses provide multiple drop-off locations throughout the park and in Yosemite Valley. Once visitors are in Yosemite Valley, they can ride the free shuttle throughout the valley or walk.

Vistors should consider visiting areas outside of Yosemite Valley, such areas as Hetch Hetchy and Wawona.

Other general tips on visiting Yosemite include:

Hiking is a great way to explore the wonders of Yosemite National Park. All day hikers and backpackers should be aware that spring weather can be unpredictable and change without warming. Visitors are encouraged to plan and bring the necessary gear to have a safe and enjoyable trip.

Backpacking is a great way to experience the Yosemite wilderness. Overnight use permits are available through the Yosemite National Park Wilderness Center. For more information, visit http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildpermits.htm.

A high snow pack has led to cold water and swift-moving rivers in all of the rivers, lakes, and streams inside Yosemite and in the surrounding areas. Visitors are reminded to take special precautions around water, especially around stream-crossings. Even the best swimmers can find themselves in a difficult situation under the current water conditions.

The Half Dome Cables are still down due to snow and other hazardous conditions on the trail. Visitors will not be able to ascend Half Dome for at least another week or two. As soon as condition permit, the Half Dome Cables will be installed for the Summer season.

Tioga Road remains closed due to weather and snow conditions. The El Portal Road, the Wawona Road, and Big Oak Flat Road are open to all vehicular traffic to Yosemite Valley. Glacier Point Road is open for the season. Trails near Glacier Point remain snow-covered. Visitors are encouraged to be prepared for winter hiking conditions. The 4 Mile Trail is closed from Glacier Point to Union Point.

When driving in the park, motorists are urged to drive slowly as animals are active and may be present on the roadway.

For updated 24-hour road and weather conditions for Yosemite National Park, please call 209-372-0200 and press 1.