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There are a number of choices of accommodations in the Yosemite area; this page will discuss some of the most common ones. The focus is on hotel-type or building (condo, cabin) accommodations only. Camping requires a different type of reservation.
Here are some links that may help to orient you to the 1200 square mile National Park:
Basic Map (including campgrounds)
In general, it is best to start your search for a place to stay within the National Park boundaries. There are a few reasons for this: you will have the convenience of being close to the "action", which allows you to make the most of your time in the park (especially if your time is limited) and it is better for the "health" of the park itself. Day travel in and out of the park creates congestion and pollution, and the day may even come when personal vehicles will no longer be allowed in Yosemite Valley. Of course, perhaps the best reason to stay there is the special magic that happens when you wake up in the park to the sight of the rising sun reflected on the sheer granite cliffs all around you.
However, Yosemite is one of the most popular National Parks in the world, and you aren't the only one hoping to stay in the park. It's advisable to try to get your reservations as soon as possible, especially in the busiest months of May through September. Reservations for Aramark accomodations who can be made through www.travelyosemite.com or at (888) 413-8869. Aramark is the authorized concessioner of the park (contracted with the NPS to run all the in park official lodging). At the website you can get a virtual tour of most of the accommodations that are available, but the following is a brief description, starting at the priciest and most luxurious, and then working down the economic scale.
NOTE: If you can't reserve your first choice, then try, try again! People book their Yosemite vacation a year in advance, and the cancellation policy is quite generous. Reserve any kind of lodging available, then check back on the website after 7am PST or by phone. When you find something better, book it and cancel the previous reservations. Folks who are persistant often end up with reservations for their first choice lodging. On the Yosemite forum this is called "Musical Reservations."
0 minutes from Yosemite Valley
1) The Majestic Yosemite Lodge (formerly and always known as The Ahwahnee Hotel) This is an historic lodge built in the early 1900's so that royalty and the well-to-do would have a comfortable place to stay. (Indeed, the Queen of England did stay there in the 1980's.) The standard rooms are small as they were built before the time when hotel rooms were expected to have closets and restrooms. There are a number of luxury suites as well, and separate cottages on the grounds. The facilities include a heated swimming pool, beautifully appointed Dining Room (with dress code) and a pub, as well as a Great Room with a large fireplace. A once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience.
2) Yosemite Valley Lodge (AKA Yosemite Lodge at the Falls) This is more of a standard hotel experience, albeit with something no other hotel in the world has: a view of Yosemite Falls outside your window or deck (in many rooms.) The hotel is actually a cluster of 2 story buildings that are nicely appointed, although there is no AC or elevators. There are larger family rooms available as well. This is a comfortable place to stay, although you may be expecting more of a full-service, high end hotel for the price...but remember the old adage: location, location, location. And this place has the best location of all in Yosemite. Within the lodge's "campus" are a very nice restaurant (the Mountain Room), a bar, a cafeteria, a number of shops, bike rentals, a rather basic but large swimming pool, an ice cream vendor (in the summer), and the starting point for the tours of the park. There are also evening ranger programs in the center of the campus.
3) Half Dome Village (formerly and forever known as Curry Village) Half Dome Village / Curry Village is actually the only remaining guest facility with ties to the Curry Family who created the first accommodations in Yosemite Valley in the mid-1800's. There is still a gate there that says "Welcome" one side and "Farewell" on the other, that used to greet visitors 100 years ago. Curry has 3 levels of accommodations, each less expensive than the last: Hard-sided cabins with bath, cabins without bath, and tent cabins. The hard-sided cabins are rustic but very comfortable, with motel-like furnishings. The tent cabins are the most prolific type of accommodation within the valley, and are built on a raised wooden platform with a fully functioning and lockable front door, windows and electricity. Inside are twin beds with linens. While comfortable, they are situated close together so noise pollution can be an issue. Both the regular cabins without bath and the tent cabins are serviced by large, clean restroom and shower facitilities that are located throughout the village. Since they have canvas sides, no food is allowed in the tent cabins because of the possibilty of animal break-ins. The village itself is well equipped with many places to eat, bike rentals, a store, and a central "meeting house" with fireplace. There are ranger programs in the evening in the outdoor amphitheatre.
4) Housekeeping Camp: The accomodations at Housekeeping are one step above tent camping. You will have a 3- sided shelter made of concrete with a roof and a fourth wall with a curtain. Inside are beds with linens included. Outside you will have a deck area with a picnic table and an open BBQ pit. You will also have an adjacent food locker. Bathrooms and showers are in central buildings. This is the only non-camping facility in the park where you can do your own cooking.
1) Big Trees Lodge (formerly and always known as The Wawona Hotel) This is the most historic lodging facility in the park. The original hotel building dates back to the late 1800's. It is located close to the Southern Entrance to the park on Wawona Road / Highway 41, and close to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. It now includes a cluster of buildings, all with an historic feel. Some rooms have baths, some do not. The rooms in the main building tend to be smaller and have shared bathrooms. The rooms are decorated in a Victorian style and the experience of staying here is very similar to staying in a bed and breakfast. There is a parlor in the main building which often has live entertainment in the evenings, and an excellent dining room. There is also an outdoor swimming pool / tank open in the summer, and for golfers, Wawona has the only golf course within a National Park. Plan on about a 45- 60 minute drive from Wawona to Yosemite Valley. 45+ minutes from Yosemite Valley
2) Tuolumne Meadows: in the summer when Tioga Pass is open, there are tent cabin facilities similar to those at Curry VIllage available at Tuolumne Meadows on Tiooga Road / Hwy 120, close to the eastern entrance to the park. There are bathroom facilites, a store, and food vendors available. TM is the starting point for many high country/ backcountry hikes, including the High Sierra Loop. 90 minutes from Yosemite Valley
3) White Wolf: This is a smaller cluster of tent cabins located on the Tioga Road / Hwy 120, but at a lower elevation and closer to Big Oak Flat Road. There is a small store and a dining facility there. This is a good choice for anyone seeking a more isolated, less crowded stay. White Wolf is about midway between Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows; 60 minutes from Yosemite Valley
4) High Sierra Camps: Overnight accommodations in Yosemite at the High Sierra Camps includes full dinner and breakfast, served up family-style in cozy dining tents. Box lunches for the next day on the trail are available at an additional cost and may be ordered the night before departure. All lodging is in shared canvas tent cabins with dormitory-style steel frame beds with mattresses, pillows, woolen blankets or comforters.
Condo and house rentals: These are the only accommodations within the park that are not handled by the official concessionaire. There are clusters of homes and condos for rent at three locations within the park: Wawona ( near the South Entrance on Wawona Road / Hwy 41, 28 miles from Yosemite Valley), near the intersection of Glacier Point Road and Wawona Road / Hwy 41 at Yosemite West (about 25-30 minutes from the valley and close to Badger Pass & Glacier Point) and in Foresta (east of the Big Oak Flat Entrance on Hwy 120 and 10 miles from Yosemite Valley.) These are good choices for longer stays or those with a large family or group and offer more privacy and options. Each facility is unique, so if you are interested in this kind of stay it would be wise to check the TripAdvisor reviews and forum for ratings and descriptions of individual units.
1) Wawona is located just north of the Southern Entrance on Wawona Road / Hwy 41. This is a community with full time residents, a school, a county library, two small stores, and the Pioneer History Center. Plan on about a 45 - 55 minute drive from Wawona to Yosemite Valley. These sites offer lodging in Wawona: Redwoods, Yosemite Vacation Rentals
2) Yosemite West is also on Wawona Road / Hwy41 and about 16 miles from Yosemite Valley. This area offers nice homes and condos in a forest setting at 6,000' and only 7 miles from Badger Pass Ski Area. Some good bets are Scenic Wonders, Yosemite West.Com, Yosemite Sunset House , YosemiteWestReservations, Enchanted Yosemite, and Yosemite Lodging. Additional information on this community and additional lodging is in this traveler article on Yosemite West. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g6... Yosemite West is about 25-30 minutes from the Valley, 25-35 minutes from Glacier Point, and 30-35 minutes from Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.
3) Foresta offers vacation homes in a quiet setting; several homes have views of Half Dome and El Capitan. Located on Big Oak Flat Road / and about 10 miles from Yosemite Valley. Yosemite Vacation Homes offers homes in Foresta. Additional information on this community and additional lodging is in this traveler article on Foresta. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g6...
Each of the routes to the main entrances to the park have areas where there are hotels and lodges; some are closer to the valley than others. The following list will offer some places and recommendations for each of the main roads into the park; accommodations are listed from those that are closest to those that are farthest from the gate.
Hint: many of these accommodations can be found in websites such as www.staynearyosemite.com, www.yosemite.com, www.yosemiteexperience.com and www.aboutyosemite.com. The website www.yosemitefun.com, has lots of information about the park and nearby lodging. However, the site has outdated information in regards to several specific facilities, so it appears that accurate lodging info isn't the sites focus, or updates don't happen often.
Highway 140 is considered one of the All Weather Routes to Yosemite National Park as this road is the lowest elevation choice (about 3,000 ft elevation near Midpines.)
El Portal: The closest accommodations to Yosemite Valley that are not within park boundaries are in a small hamlet known as El Portal. There are a few lodging options there, right along the highway: the Yosemite View Lodge and Yosemite Blue Butterfly Inn (bed and breakfast). These are located alongside the Merced River and about 5-10 minutes from the Arch Rock entry station. About 8 miles further down river toward Mariposa is Cedar Lodge and the affiliated Red Bud Lodge. The Indian Flat RV Park has a few tent cabins and cottages. There are restaurants and a grocery store in El Portal, and there is a (very expensive) gas station located there as well. 20-35 minutes from Yosemite Valley
Midpines: Farther away is a rustic lodge called the Yosemite Bug located in Midpines; the Bug also offers hostel accommodations. 60 minutes from Yosemite Valley
Mariposa: The nearest large town to Yosemite on Hwy 140 is the gold rush era town of Mariposa. There are a number of chain motels, bed and breakfasts and restaurants in the Mariposa area. Count on about a 45 minute drive from Mariposa to the Arch Rock entrance or 65-80 minutes to the Valley. http://www.yosemiteexperience.com/ is the website of the Mariposa County Visitor's Bureau for more detailed hotel information. A listing of Bed and Breakfasts can be found at http://www.yosemitebnbs.com/.
Highway 120 is another one of the highways that is open year round. It is the closest entrance to San Francisco Airport. Most of the places to stay along this stretch of Hwy 120 can be found at www.StayNearYosemite.com . Note that this route goes up to 6,192 ft in elevation at Crane Flat inside Yosemite National Park.
The closest accommodation to this end of the park is the Sunset Inn cabins which are actually just off Hwy 120 on Hardin Flat Road. There are also a few private cabins at The Spinning Wheel. The Evergreen Lodge is a lodge and camping facility that caters to families. Evergreen has a restaurant on the premises and is located on Evergreen Road, six miles from the gate to Hetch Hetchy. It offers a more rustic experience with evening programs offered in lieu of television or cable entertainment. They also offer a nightly bar-b-que around the pool. Note that the Evergreen Lodge is not inside the Park. The brand new Rush Creek Lodge opened in June 2016 and offers visitors more luxurious accommodations.
Buck Meadows: The next settlement along Hwy 120 is Buck Meadows, although any place in the greater area will have a Groveland address. Buck Meadows is located 12 miles from the gate to the park. It has a selection of lodging facilities including a B & B, cabins, an RV park with full hookups, and a motel. There is also a restaurant, a small store and gas station. The Yosemite Westgate Lodge, the Yosemite Ridge Resort and the Blackberry Inn Bed and Breakfast are located in the general area.
Groveland: Groveland is located 23 miles from the Hwy 120 park entrance. It is also a gold-rush era town and boasts one of the oldest continuously operating bars in the state, the Iron Door Saloon (now also a family friendly restaurant.) This area does not have larger chain motels. However, there are a large number of B&B's and historic hotels including the Groveland Hotel and Hotel Charlotte, as well as vacation rentals and RV facilties. Budget travelers might like the Oso Hostel's dorm rooms or private rooms. The Yosemite Lakes compound has campsites, RV sites, yurts, and cabins.
Count on about a 30 minute drive from Groveland itself to the Big Oak Flat entrance, then another 45 minutes to the valley floor or 1½ hours to Tuolumne Meadows. Since many accommodations are listed as "Groveland", check to see if they are closer or farther to the National Park entrance than the town of Groveland itself.
This route is also open year round, but has more elevation changes and curves on the road. Hwy 41 / Wawona Road is 5,000' at the South Entrance, down to 4,000' at Wawona, up to 6,039' at Chinquapin, and finally down to 4,000' at Yosemite Valley.
Fish Camp: The small community of Fish Camp is just minutes away from the South Entrance gate, and a few more minutes to either the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias or to Wawona. Count on another 50-60 minutes to reach the valley from the South Entrance. Fish Camp offers the largest full service hotel near the park: The Tenaya Lodge. There are restaurants, a pool and all amenities available here year round. In the winter there is also a snow park nearby. Other facilities in Fish Camp include three bed and breakfasts, Big Creek Inn Tin Lizzie Inn and Little Ahwahnee Inn, as well as the Narrow Gauge Inn hotel. The White Chief Mountain Lodge is another basic option.
Oakhurst /Bass Lake: About 1/2 hour from the southern gate and 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hrs from the Valley is the town of Oakhurst. There are many hotels, chain motels, and B&B's in this area, as well as a full range of restaurants from fine dining to fast food. The Bass Lake area, about 10 minutes out of town, has vacation rental homes and a small village with restaurants, a market, and boat rentals.
Note that this route is closed in winter and goes as high as 9.945'.
This small town is about 12 miles from the Tioga Pass entrance. It’s ideally located for exploring the eastern Sierra and Yosemite’s Tuolumne Meadows. Read the TripAdvisor reviews for specific information. Options include the basic Murphey’s Motel, the nearby rustic Tioga Pass Resort (closed in winter, no phones, some rustic cabins, TiogaPassResortLLC@gmail.com), Best Western Lake View Lodge (motel rooms & cottages), El Mono Motel, Lee Vining Motel (TA reviews only), Tioga Lodge at Mono Lake (some rustic cabins), and Yosemite Gateway Motel. 120 minutes from Yosemite Valley
June Lake Loop which is a short drive from Tioga Pass where there is such places as Gull Lake Lodge (a quick 5 minute walk to 2 lakes - Gull Lake is nearby and has a playground and tennis courts for the kids. If you are into fishing, you can also fish at one of 4 lakes there (June, Gull, Silver or Lake or fish in Rush Creek.). Each of the lakes in the summer has boat rentals and Gull Lake has paddle boats that families seem to enjoy. There is also horse back riding in the summer. There are a variety of hiking trails to such places as Parker Lake.
Lodging ranges from such places as Gull Lake Lodge to Double Eagle Resort, and there is a vareity of basic motels, cabins, and deluxe ski condos. For more information on the many lodging choices see the June Lake Visitor Guide.
150 minutes / 2.5 hours from Yosemite Valley