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

National Park Service Announces Modest Fee Increases

The accessible Trail of the Cedars in Glacier National Park

The accessible Trail of the Cedars in Glacier National Park

In response to a massive influx of complaints, the National Park Service announced yesterday that it will drastically scale back their original plan to raise entrance fees in some of the nation’s most popular national parks. The original proposal called for nearly doubling the entrance fees during the peak season at 17 national parks. Continue reading

Deal Directly with National Park Concessionaires for Best Access

Lake Yellowstone Hotel

Lake Yellowstone Hotel

Researching national park access can be tedious, especially where lodging is concerned. National park lodges are operated by concessionaires, who operate under strict guidelines, and are responsible for the repair, improvement and daily operation of the facilities. Continue reading

Proposed National Park Fee Increases

archesUnless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve most likely heard about the proposed peak season fee increase for 17 US National Parks. The National Park Service recently announced this increase, and cited that the additional funds are needed for repair, upkeep and improvements to the national parks. That said, it’s still a proposed increase, and if adopted it will only be effective during the peak seasons of these parks. The peak season fee at the following parks will increase to $70 under his proposal. Continue reading

Hot off the Press – My New Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon Book!

Yosemite-cover-400x600I’m thrilled to announce the release of my latest accessible travel title – “Barrier-Free Travel; Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks for Wheelers and Slow Walkers”. I had a great time researching this book – partly because I grew up in the area and I have fond memories of exploring Yosemite with my dad, but also because I now live close to the parks. And after 40 years of writing travel I’ve finally penned a book about my home turf! It’s about time. Continue reading

Historic Yosemite Railroad Boasts Excellent Access

I’ve visited a wide variety of rail attractions over the past 20 years on my accessible travel beat, and I have to say that the folks at the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad (www.YMSPRR.com) really wowed me the other day. Continue reading

Spooktacular Halloween Program at Yosemite Cemetery

Headstone in Yosemite Cemetery

Headstone in Yosemite Cemetery

If your Halloween travels include a stop in Yosemite National Park, then don’t miss the spooktacular ranger program at Yosemite Cemetery on October 30 and 31, 2016. The hour-long walking tour includes historical – and sometimes creepy – stories about some of the people buried in the cemetery, which dates back to the 1870s. After the tour, more stories will be shared by the campfire at the Yosemite Valley Indian Cultural Museum.

The Yosemite Cemetery is located across the street from the Yosemite Valley Indian Cultural Museum. Accessible street parking is located nearby. Alternatively, the lift-equipped park shuttle stops at the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center, which is just a short level walk from the museum. The hard-packed dirt paths through the cemetery are level, and although there are a few bumps near the entrance, they are navigable for most wheelchair-users and slow walkers. There are also benches to sit and rest along the way.

Two programs are held each night – one begins at 8:00, and the other begins at 9:00. Both sessions are appropriate for children, and they begin at the campfire at the Yosemite Valley Indian Cultural Museum. Participants are reminded to dress warm and bring a flashlight. For more information, call (209) 372-1153.

Have a great Halloween at the Yosemite Cemetery!I

New Yosemite Property Gets A+ For Access

Accessible pool area at Ruch Creek Lodge

Accessible pool area at Rush Creek Lodge

Although I travel the world in search of cool accessible travel finds, I’m just as excited to discover one right in my own backyard. Such was the case last week, when I went over to check out the new Rush Creek Lodge, just outside the Big Oak Flat entrance to Yosemite National Park. 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