The park, located in Sierra Nevada mountains, is a Unesco World Heritage site, and it normally welcomes over four million visitors annually. After its closure in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a phased reopening requiring permits began in June for day visitors. It was designed to cope with guest numbers as the park reopened, but that was lifted in November.
Although the permit system resulted in Yosemite’s visitation rates dropping by half, the system will now be implemented again this year for day visitors during the peak summer season. By limiting the number of visitors, the aim is to facilitate social distancing and curb the spread of the virus. The numbers permitted to enter will also depend on the tier that the county is in at the time. Once they are there, visitors can marvel at the granite monster of El Capitan, the precipitous drop of Bridalveil Fall, and the green, often-wildflower-strewn Half Dome.
Park shuttle buses will not run this summer, and each day-use reservation is valid for one vehicle for three days. Around the US, the National Park Service is using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis. Guests at Yosemite are still urged to follow CDC guidance by maintaining a safe distance between groups, wearing a cloth face covering when social distancing cannot be maintained, and staying home if feeling ill or experiencing symptoms.
Reservations for the day tickets can be made here.
This article was originally published on 5 June 2020 and updated on 14 April 2021.