Yosemite National Park has maintained its status as one of the most popular destinations in the United States. The National Park Service (NPS) announced that in the summer of 2023, the park will no longer require a Temporary Peak Hours vehicle reservation.
The reservation system has been in place for three years and was originally implemented to prevent the spread of COVID. The lift, however, makes planning a trip to Yosemite much easier.
“This decision will help our visitors, especially those from other states and countries who tend to plan their once-in-a-lifetime vacations to Yosemite about a year in advance,” Jonathan Farrington, CEO and Executive Director of the Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau (YMTCB), said in a press release.
He also noted that locals can be more spontaneous in their plans to visit, as well.
A Change to Tourism in California
The world crumbled during COVID, but the tourism industry in California is back on the rise. With nearly 50% of all Mariposa County employment relying on tourism, returning to pre-pandemic levels remains a top priority.
The county saw a dip in sales from 2019 to 2020, moving from $476.1 million down to $255.3 million. 2021 saw a rise back up to $361.6 million. The suspension of the vehicle registration system hopes to aid in some recovery in regard to occupancy during peak season.
Some Recommendations For Your Yosemite National Park Trip
No matter what, you should always plan out your Yosemite trip in advance. Peak season especially gets incredibly crowded, and once things return to pre-pandemic levels, reservations go quick.
The YMCTB offers a few tips for your visit:
- Arrive early to avoid the line at the gate
- Use YARTS or the Yosemite Valley Shuttle System to help you move around
- Break your stay up to explore the different regions instead of trying to see it all at once
- Be aware that peak traffic times fall between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Fall, winter and spring have a more serene (and quiet) experience in Yosemite National Park.
“Yosemite is a four-season destination, and each season is spectacular and worth experiencing,” said Farrington. “If you’ve visited in the summer, you’ll love the beauty and cooler temperatures of the fall, tranquility of winter and the waterfalls and wildflowers of spring.”