Yosemite Fire Update – Should You Cancel Your Visit?

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UPDATE – August 12, 2018 – The Mariposa Grove and Wawona are expected to reopen on Monday August 13. Yosemite Valley is expected to reopen on Tuesday August 14. Highway 140 (through Arch Rock) and Highway 120 (through Big Oak Flats) will be the only roads that lead to the valley. There will be no access to Yosemite Valley from the South Entrance due to firefighting activity just west of Tunnel View. Conversely, the only way to access Wawona and the Mariposa Grove is from the South Entrance. Services in the park will be limited, and it’s still smoky.

UPDATE 8-7-18 –  Yosemite Valley is still closed and there is no date set for it to reopen. Wawona, Mariposa Grove, Glacier Point, Crane Flat, Big Oak Flat and Hetch Hetchy are also closed When these areas of park do reopen it’s expected that visitor services will be extremely limited there. The main objective now is firefighter safety.

The only park entrance that is open is the East Entrance. There is no access to the park from the west

Highway 140 to the Arch Rock entrance is now open (the entrance is closed).

Highway 120 from Groveland to Crane Flat should be open soon (they are doing a safety check and hope for it to open by noon today) but there will be no access to Yosemite Valley; however there will be access to Tioga Road.

The South Entrance will most likely be the last entrance to open.

UPDATE – 8/3/18: The ONLY park entrance open now is the East entrance off of Highway 395, north of Mammoth Lakes. I have had e-mails from many folks who had alternatively planned to stay on the west side near the park and then were going to try to enter the park at Big Oak Flats. THIS IS NO LONGER POSSIBLE. I strongly suggest basing yourself on the east side, (Mammoth Lakes) and enjoy Mono Lake, Bodie & Devils Postpile, and then check out Tenaya Lake (inside the park) on Tioga Pass Road. 

 

UPDATE – 7/24/18: Highway 41, Wawona and Yosemite Valley will be closed as of 8-25-18 at noon. Visitors will be asked to leave the park. This is being done in hopes of setting up a firebreak to stop the spread of the Ferguson Fire.

Since I live near Yosemite and write about the park often, I’ve gotten a lot of inquires lately about the Ferguson Fire, which is burning nearby. And the main question seems to be – “Should I cancel my Yosemite visit”? Continue reading

Great Winter Deals at Lake Quinault Lodge

Lake Quinault Lodge

Lake Quinault Lodge

If you’re looking for a heck of a winter hotel deal, then look no further than Lake Quinault Lodge. Located just outside of Olympic National Park on the south shore of Lake Quinault, this Northwestern Washington lodge is offering rates that start at a very affordable $87, from now until April 30, 2018. Continue reading

Catch These Grand Canyon Winter Deals

You just can't beat the views from the rim

You just can’t beat the views from the rim

When I was researching my Barrier-Free Grand Canyon book, I remember the front desk supervisor at El Tovar telling me that winter was the best time to visit the park, as not only are their fewer people there at that time, but you can also snag some pretty good deals if you shop around. And you know what — she’s right! With that in mind, here are a few money saving deals in one of my favorite national parks. Continue reading

Soaking Up Some Wild West History in Southern Wyoming

Rock Springs Historical Museum

Rock Springs Historical Museum

Sometimes road trips don’t go exactly as planned, but that’s all part of the adventure. Lets’ just say that’s how we ended up in Rock Springs, WY. To be honest, before our visit I gave very little thought to this Southern Wyoming town. but after a “less-than-accurate” weather forecast, Rock Springs became our unexpected home for the night. Continue reading

Five Fun Accessible National Park Finds

Accessible trail to the base of Lower Yosemite Falls

OK, I admit it, I’m a national park junkie. I love visiting them and writing about them; in fact, I’m currently working on my third national park title. One of the great things about our national parks is that even though many of them are rugged, they still offer accessible options for wheelchair-users and slow walkers. And so with the 99th anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS) coming up on August 25, I thought I’d share some of my favorite accessible sites in America’s national parks Continue reading

A Piece of the Rock in the SF Financial District

Up-close-and-personal at "Alcatraz; Life on the Rock".OK, I admit it, I’m a huge Alcatraz fan. I’ve seen every movie made about the island (the Birdman was the best), I love reading historical accounts about prison life, and I’m simply enthralled by the audio tour whenever I visit the old cell block. And on one visit to the Rock, I even got to chat with a former Alcatraz guard. Boy did he ever have some stories to tell. Continue reading

Five Free Wheelchair-Accessible Glass Installations in Tacoma

Chihuly at Tacoma’s Union Station

When you go to Tacoma, you have to visit the Museum of Glass. That’s a given. But that’s not the only glass in the city. It’s time to think outside the box a bit and take a little walking tour to explore some of the hidden glass treasures of Tacoma. The good news is, all these sites are free; and the even better news is that they are all wheelchair-accessible. Continue reading

Free Admission to Florida Aviation Museum

Those of you who know me know that I’m a absolute aircraft junkie. I grew up in a flying family, and air shows and fly-ins were standard fare at our house. I’ve been to many aircraft museums over my career, and to be honest I never tire of them. Continue reading

Free Alcatraz Exhibit Coming to San Francisco

Alcatraz Lighthouse, in front of the cell blockI’ve always been fascinated with the history of Alcatraz. I remember watching The Birdman of Alcatraz when I was young, and of course I totally loved Escape from Alcatraz and The Rock. And I was totally wowed when I visited the one-time prison and got to talk to a former guard. Wow, did he ever have some stories to tell. Continue reading

Great Article on Accessible Parks in Sonoma County

I give a lot of interviews and resources to my fellow writers. Some folks come to me because an editor wants them to cover access, but others seek me out because they see a genuine need for access information.

Suzie Rodriguez is one of those writers who sees a genuine need. Continue reading