Yosemite Road changes

Yosemite traffic July 2, 2011

On your next trip to the park, you’ll see some new road changes. The logic escapes me. First, Westbound traffic on North Side Drive that intend to go beyond the El Cap Crossover will have to merge prior to getting to the intersection. The left lane will be a left turn only lane. OK, that isn’t a big deal. But get ready for this, when you come into the main valley and get onto Southside Drive, effective today it’s still 2 lanes one-way but one is reserved for Valley Floor Tour trams, YARTS, commercial tour buses and emergency vehicles.

Holy cow. You think back ups were bad? Now we’ll have one lane to drive the 7-miles to Curry. NPS employees driving a government vehicle will not be able to use the bus lane unless on an emergency response mission. Concession employees and vendors will also not be able to use the bus lane except for DNC security vehicles responding to emergencies … no “fast trak” for worker bees. And how about the pull-offs to snap shots or El Cap, Bridalveil, Yosemite Falls and the Meadows. Think Bumper Cars. And what about the good-citizens who won’t go  more than 20 mph?  No passing. Park management is going to “test” this in summer. Sigh.

The stated goal is to “attain free flowing traffic conditions in the East Valley. A debrief will occur in June. I was at the park last July 2 and it took 2 hours to get to Curry. I am betting on backups to El Portal now. I’m not a traffic planner (although I have played one on TV), but this seems like a baaaad idea. What do you think?


Unrelated thought worth quoting: Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother, you’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.  Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’ and we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.”   – R.I.P. Robin Gibb, BeeGees

MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome


About Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch

Mr Half Dome. Has written the only half dome hiking guide, One Best Hike: Yosemite's Half Dome. Has hiked it 31 times to day. Lives in San Jose, CA Available for presentations. Carpe Diem Experience, LLC
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3 Responses to Yosemite Road changes

  1. Mark says:

    I have long though that during the peak months, the main part of Yosemite Valley should be like Zion. You park and get on a shuttle. No cars allowed at all, unless they have a permit for a camping spot.

    Of course you have to deal with the problem of where to park the cars, and I do not have a good answer for that. Maybe completely outside the park. But the traffic in Yosemite Valley gets worse every single time I go, and I don’t foresee it getting better.

    • Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch says:


      You have good points. Yosemite draws 4M a year, Zion only a fracton of that. I hope you wrote those comments to the park during the Merced River Plan draft review of alternatives. If not, send your thoughts to

      Don Neubacher, Superintendent
      Yosemite National Park
      Attn: MRP comment
      P.O. Box 577
      Yosemite, CA 95389

  2. Phil Stevens says:

    Great incentive to use YARTS. Great incentive to spend time in the Gateway communities.

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