Yosemite 2022: What to Expect

Last Updated: January 17, 2022

Ready for a few 2022 predictions? Of course, it’s still too early to have much to say about what the weather is going to bring us, and so much of what happens with an outdoor destination like Yosemite depends on the weather. Still, as we begin to approach 2022, we thought we would share a few things that are becoming clearer as we gaze into the crystal ball.

As the park ramps up for 2020, I suggest also checking the official park service page on how Covid-19 will affect your visit. Where these two pages disagree, trust the NPS page.

Here are a few things that are on our radar:

Yosemite Day Use Reservations for 2022?

In 2020 and 2021 the National Park Service limited the number of people entering the park each day through a day-use reservation system. In January, 2022, the Yosemite superintendent said during a Gateway Partners meeting that the park would not require day-use reservations due to Covid, but might limit park entry in order to avoid gridlock. Gridlock is not only unpleasant for visitors, but creates safety issues. A key consideration in the decision to implement limits in 2021 was that over Easter weekend, the park experienced response times of over an hour for an ambulance to get to Curry Village, a distance of less than a mile.

Due to our location inside the park gates, our guests have been exempt from the day-use reservation system. So regardless of what happens in 2022, we should be fine.

Refer to the official information on park operations. Last year we wrote our own interpretation of why the lingering threat of a COVID outbreak continues to affect park operations.

Glacier Point Road Renovation Project

A rehabilitation project for the Glacier Point Road has been in the works for several years, and it looks like this year they are finally going to get started on it. The project is planned to span all of 2022 and extend into 2023. That means that the road will be closed throughout the 2022 summer season, and we’ll expect delays in 2023. (Biking will not be allowed on the road during the construction project closure.)

On the bright side, the trails to Glacier Point – the 4-Mile Trail, Panorama Trail, and the Pohono Trail will all remain open. Although these are strenuous/steep trails, those who are able to make the hike will get to enjoy some extra solitude at the top.

Winter Snowpack and Water

The winter season got off to an early start in 2021. On the other side of the mountains, Mammoth Ski Area managed its earliest opening date ever, and Yosemite Falls returned to life in late October. November was mostly warm and sunny, but December brought a fair bit of snow. As of the end of 2021, we have about four feet (1.2m) of snow in the yard and more over the higher elevations. We have had more than average precipitation, but we still have a lot of winter left.

The amount of snow we get in the winter not only affects skiing and other winter activities, it also cascades, literally, into the amount of water in the waterfalls over the course of the summer. The Sierra snowpack acts as a high-altitude reservoir that helps feed thirsty plants (and people) year-round.

In addition to hoping that we can break the drought that we have been in, on a personal note, we have new Alpine Touring Ski Boots this year, so naturally, we have our fingers crossed for a big snow year. We’ll keep you posted over the course of the winter.

Shuttle Buses Hopefully Returning

Shuttle buses didn’t run in the summers of 2020 or 2021 – not in Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows, or the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. The Yosemite Valley shuttle restarted in December 2021 and the plan is to keep it running from now on, as usual, but Covid outbreaks continue to make staffing difficult in many units in the park. The plan is to run shuttles within Tuolumne Meadows, between Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne (the so-called “hikers’ bus” that runs once per day).

Mariposa Grove Shuttle Restarting

For the Mariposa Grove, there was more to the decision than Covid and staffing. On January 18, 2021, a devastating Mono Wind damaged infrastructure in the grove – including the new restroom facilities. This impacted the visitor capacity of the grove, and park managers were afraid that the number of visitors that could ride the shuttle buses would overwhelm the portable toilet facilities.

The current schedule is to complete repairs on the bathrooms and restart the shuttle service for Memorial Day Weekend (also based on the January Gateway Partners meeting). Of course, constructions schedules can slide, but that is the current goal.

Tuolumne Campground Closed 2022-2023

The Tuolumne Campground is also beginning an extensive restoration project that is expected to take two years. While this is unlikely to have a direct effect on people renting our home in Yosemite West, we may also see reduced services along that corridor that would normally have been supported by the campground visitors.

On the bright side, Tuolumne Rangers say that they notice a significant increase in visitation when the campground opens, so if you decide to make the trip you may have more of the place to yourself.