Yosemite is Open but A Few Things Travelers Must Know

Yes, Yosemite National Park is open, or most of it is – despite a raging wildfire that officials say is roughly the size of Chicago. And growing.

Listen to travel expert Rick Seaney on wildfire country:

What’s Closed in Yosemite

However, there are some closures which may affect which park entrance you use. This is important because the park is huge and access routes are far apart. Here is the latest from the National Park Service (as of this writing, Aug. 29):

  • Closed entrance: “Big Oak Flat Road at Hwy 120 entrance from the west is closed.” This closure can affect visitors from the Bay Area in particular.
  • Open entrances: “Entrances to Yosemite via Highways 41 and 140 are open.”
  • Interior road closure: “Tioga Road (Hwy 120 through the park) is closed from Crane Flat to Yosemite Creek Picnic Area.”
  • Additional closures: Several campgrounds and trails, along with two landmark groves of giant sequoia trees, also are closed to the public.
  • Future closures, re-openings: The National Park Service provides updated information and maps here (or just keep up with the news).

What’s Open in Yosemite

Not surprisingly, the fire is keeping a lot of visitors away, but again – most of the park remains open – so you can still visit Yosemite’s signature attractions including Half Dome, El Capitan and Glacier Point. And you can still get there from wherever you’re coming from.

How to Get to Yosemite

We found a handy site with information from surrounding airports plus drive times. Note: You can find some kind of public transportation to Yosemite from most of the major airports, and what with all the changes taking place due to the fire, this might be the perfect time to leave the driving to someone else.

Click the city name to find cheap flights.

From Fresno airport (FAT): It is roughly a one-hour drive to the park’s southern entrance via Highway 41

From San Francisco (SFO) or Oakland (OAK) airports: Normally it would take about two-and-a-half hours to the Big Oak Flat entrance via Highway 120, but since this is closed, add more time to get to a southern entrance

From Los Angeles airport (LAX): Figure on a six-hour drive to the Yosemite Valley via Interstate 5 to Highway 99 to Highway 41

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Published: August 29, 2013