Last Updated: January 17, 2022
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 and as NPS issues press releases.
The key thing for our guests: you do not need to apply for a day-use reservation. Your overnight reservation includes and entry reservation to the park. You do still have to pay the entrance fee.
Here are a few things that are on our radar:
- Yosemite Peak-Hour Vehicle Reservation System
- Glacier Point Road Closed for Renovation
- Winter Snowpack and Water
- Shuttle Buses Running Again
- Tuolumne Campground Closed 2022-2023
Yosemite Peak-Hour Vehicle Reservation System
The 2022 peak-hour reservation system is a bit different than in the past couple of years. It’s purpose is to alleviate traffic jams and peak-hour congestion. Between the hours of 6am and 4pm, you will need a reservation to drive your vehicle through the gate. For our guests, your overnight reservation is your park-entry reservation. You do not need any additional reservation. We are still waiting on the details, but in 2021 we simply entered your information in a database that was available at all entrance gates.
For the most accurate and up-to-date information, always refer not to this page, but to the official park service pages:
Glacier Point Road Closed for Renovation
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 late 2021 with record December snowfalls, followed by a warm and dry January. The February 1 snowpack was still over 90% of average, but with very little snow after that promising start, the all-important April 1 snow survey weighed in at 41% of normal.
That has several implications. Of course, it means the skiing was not what we would have liked. More importantly, it likely means a return to high tree mortality with two dry winters in a row and hardships for California farmers who will be forced to leave large amounts of land fallow. And, from the visitor perspective, it means an early peak and an early drying of the waterfalls. In dry years, the falls typically peak in early May, as opposed to late May or even early June in a very wet year (the median peak is May 26). In a “normal” year, Yosemite Falls usually goes dry sometime in late August or September. In a dry year, that will happen somewhat earlier.
We created a gallery with some photos of the Winter 2021-2022 in Yosemite snow (and one photo of the Winter 2021-2022 no-snow for good measure).
Shuttle Buses Running Again
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 as well as the “hikers’ bus” that runs once daily between Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows.
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.