Getting Groceries

We strongly recommend stocking up on on groceries before coming to our house, especially if you’ll be staying longer. In any case, remember that the nearest restaurants are 30 minutes away and, though quite good, it’s not a simple matter to step out for food. So as a minimum, you should arrive with enough food for your first dinner and breakfast (we do try to keep the place stocked with coffee and tea).

Also two “eco” requests:

  • Please try to avoid buying a disposable styrofoam ice chest. There is nothing we can do with those except dispose of them. We tend to use reusable, but compressable freezer bags on our supply trips into town and these pack reasonably well so you could take it home with you (or better yet, use one to hold some of your luggage)
  • The drinking water here is generally quite good. We never drink bottled water and encourage people to bring reusable drinking bottles with them for their trip. The Sierra Nevada has some of the purest water in a America and is quite likely better than what’s in those bottles anyway.

We’ve divided this into sections in this order:

  • Yosemite Valley Groceries
  • Groceries for those entering Yosemite from the South (Hwy 41 corridor, Fresno and Oakhurst)
  • Groceries for those entering Yosemite from the North (Hwy 120 corridor, Bay Area, Sacramento)
  • Groceries for those entering Yosemite from the East (Hwy 395 corridor, Mammoth Lakes, Tahoe)
  • Miscellaneous smaller stores in the park

Yosemite Valley Groceries

Given its size, the Village Store in Yosemite Valley is an amazing little store. It’s easy to buy staple foods there, and the store contains many vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, as well as more standard fare. They also have a contract with a local CSA to bring a small selection of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables into the store as they come into season. The Village Store is approximately 17 miles from our house in Yosemite West, in the same general area as the Visitor Center, so if you are planning a trip into or through Yosemite Valley, then it is relatively easy to swing through and get some last minute supplies.

Outside the Park coming from the South

Your last outpost of 21st-century American civilization, using that term loosely, would be Fresno where you have access to various alternative grocery stores such as Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Sprouts. Fresno also has wide range of restaurants. For healthy cheap eats, we tend to go to Sweet Tomatoes.

Your next stop is Oakhurst which has dueling grocery stores on opposite sides of Highway 49 and both within sight of Highway 41 as you drive through town. We are generally fans of Raley’s, which seems to have a slightly better “natural” foods selection, but we know plenty of people who prefer Von’s. For foreign visitors they are probably close to indistinguishable. Oakhurst also has a selection of fastfood restaurants, some local restaurants (Greek, Mexican, Japanese, New Orleans cuisine) and the famous, elegant and expensive Erna’s Elderberry House.

Outside the Park coming from the North

If you’re coming from the Bay Area or Sacramento, you’ll have all the choices of Fresno (see above) and more. If you have specialty needs hard to fulfill in a typical grocery store, you should shop there. You’ll also find a Costco in Manteca and, if you go the southern route and come in via Highway 140, you’ll find a Trader Joes in Modesto.

Normally, though, we recommend shopping at the Raley’s in Oakdale. That’s about two hours before you get here and shortly before you start climbing out of the sweltering Central Valley (what John Muir called “the Greater Yosemite”, the famous valley being the “lesser”). There is also another grocery store in Oakdale, but we don’t know it. Like Oakhurst, Oakdale has a variety of fast food restaurants, pizzeria, Olive Garden and a few local restaurants, none of which we know well enough to recommend.

Outside the Park coming from the East

In the summer, when Tioga Pass is open, you’ll be passing close to Mammoth Lakes, which is where to stock up. If you’re coming from the North on Hwy 395, there is a Trader Joe’s, Costco and standard grocery stores in Carson City. We usually find ourselves coming from the South and do our shopping at Von’s in Mammoth.

Other in and Around the Park

There are also much smaller convenience stores in various places within the park for quick snacks and some basic supplies. If you leave from our house heading toward the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias (toward Oakhurst, not toward the city of Mariposa), you’ll pass one of these stores in Wawona, just before you get to the gas station.

Tuolumne Meadows Store, located in along Tioga Road for people coming in from the East Side on Hwy 120, also carries a selection of grocery items, mostly aimed at food that a backpacker might want to carry, along with other hiking and camping supplies.

If you are not planning to stop in Yosemite Village, you can also pick up groceries at the Curry Village Gift Shop, located in Curry Village on the deck to the right of the Mountain Shop and Grill, or at the Yosemite Lodge Gift Shop, which has a small number of food items in addition to souvenir gifts.