Here's How Yosemite's Upcoming Construction Could Make Your Trip More Difficult

Be prepared for some major headaches

Sentinel Meadow boardwalk and view of Yosemite Falls
jesselindemann / Getty Images

Planning a trip to Yosemite National Park this summer? Be prepared for some major headaches.

According to San Jose news outlet The Mercury News, over the next few months, the California park intends to take on more than a half dozen construction projects, ranging from significant road repairs to extensive campground renovations. Such projects have been on the agenda for years. However, funding has only just now been made available thanks to the Great American Outdoors Act of 2020, which was created to provide billions of dollars to national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges needing to repair and upgrade critical infrastructure.

Among the closures expected for the 2022 season is Glacier Point Road, a scenic route that will be repaved as part of a $42 million project that includes updates to its trailhead parking, culverts, and retaining walls. Tioga Pass Road, too, will see road work, and travelers coming into the park via the Tioga Pass Entrance Station should prepare for traffic delays.

Plans for a $10-million welcome center are also in the works. Though the 3,000-square-foot building—which will come with information kiosks, interactive touchscreens, and an adjoining outdoor plaza—is a much-desired addition to the park, Yosemite Valley will temporarily have 300 fewer parking spaces throughout the center's construction. Meanwhile, campgrounds including Crane Flat, Tuolumne Meadows, and Bridalveil Creek, will be shut down as crews update decades-old facilities such as water systems and restrooms.

Adding to that, the trails and facilities surrounding Yosemite Valley's Bridalveil Fall are in the final stages of a $15 million upgrade, and Mariposa Grove—which is currently closed due to reparations being made to its boardwalks and main restroom—is slated to reopen by Memorial Day.

"This summer is going to be a crazy construction season in Yosemite like you have never seen before," Yosemite Superintendent Cicely Muldoon told local elected officials and tourism leaders at a meeting earlier this month. "Bring your hard hats."

To head off potential traffic jams and overcrowding in Yosemite Valley, the park is considering instituting a cap on the number of visitors per day, with a new reservation system currently being worked out. More details will be revealed in the coming weeks, said Muldoon: "What we want to do is accommodate as many people as we can without causing any gridlock in the valley and other places in the park."

Yosemite National Park is no stranger to reservation systems. In 2020 and 2021, the park required online reservations out of health and safety precautions; although the system has been done away with since last October, it appears as if it's only a matter of time before a new one is in place.

Despite the closures and extra noise, Yosemite is still eager to welcome back tourists this year, even if it will take additional planning on their part.

Visitors "should try to avoid weekends and holidays if they can," said Frank Dean, president of the Yosemite Conservancy. "Plan ahead. Go to a less-used part of the park. It's beautiful to get on a trail away from the crowds."

Those hoping to see Glacier Point—a popular overlook that offers impressive views of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls—may still access it by hiking the Four Mile, Panorama, or Pohono trails. While several campgrounds are closed for the 2022 season, travelers wishing to stay overnight may camp at Camp 4, Hodgdon Meadow, Lower Pines, North Pines, and Upper Pines; however, some sites are available via lottery only so plan accordingly.

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