Yosemite 2022: What to Expect

Last Updated: November 21, 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.

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. So far, the official line from NPS about whether that will continue into 2022 is:

Yosemite National Park has not determined if a day-use reservation system will be in place for 2022. The park will continue to work with public health officials and all decisions will be based on visitor and employee safety.

Anecdotally, it seems as if park management is planning for a ‘normal’ season next year – without day-use reservations. However, that could change if community transmission of COVID remains high or if new variants come into play.

The good news for our guests: Assuming the day-use reservation system would be similar to the past year – a day-use reservation system wouldn’t significantly impact people who rent our home.

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. In fact, having the day-use reservation in place made it much easier for us and our guests to get around the park without having to worry about multi-hour traffic jams that had become commonplace previously.

To be safe, refer to the official information on park operations. The people who update the Yosemite NPS website are meticulous and spend a lot of time trying to make the information as clear as possible.

That said, last year we wrote our own interpretation of why the lingering threat of a COVID outbreak continues to affect park operations. Things like employee housing availability will continue to impact decisions about operations next year as well.

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. Of course, November has been mostly warm and sunny, so it’s too early to tell what the winter will truly bring.

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 2021 – not in Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows, or the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. For Yosemite Valley, and Tuolumne this was due in large part to early-season decisions in staffing. For the Mariposa Grove, there was another consideration. On January 18, 2021, a devastating Mono Wind damaged infrastructure in the grove – including the new restroom facilities. This impacts 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 remaining facilities.

Since repairs to the restroom building are ongoing, the return of Mariposa Grove shuttles could be on shaky ground. However, it seems like both the concessioner and park service are planning for a return of shuttle buses next year – at least in Yosemite Valley. 

Now we all need to cross our fingers that they will be able to recruit enough shuttle bus drivers to make the system work. It was a challenge pre-pandemic and may be even more difficult with the current labor shortage.

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.