YOSEMITE — After an 83-day complete shutdown, Yosemite National Park officially reopened to the public on Thursday, June 11. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the park had been temporarily closed.
On Friday morning, the park opened it’s south entrance gates at 5 a.m. and was greeted by a line of cars. National parks across America, Yosemite included, are taking a phased-in approach to gradually reopening for full capacity. New rules and guidelines are being set along with protocols designed to keep visitors and employees safe. Visitors will need day permits and an overnight reservation or wilderness permit. As part of the first phase, only one campground is currently open.
“There is no place like Yosemite, and we can’t wait to welcome visitors back,” park supervisor Cicely Muldoon said in a statement. “It’s going to be a different kind of summer.”
In the parks 130-year history, closure was unprecedented. Landmarks like Mariposa Grove, Glacier Point, and Tuolumne Meadows are open along with all trails. Visitor centers and Museums will remain closed, along with park shuttles not being operated this summer. The park will let in just 1,700 vehicles per day while in the first phase of reopening. On average about 488,000 people visit Yosemite in June, and almost 4.5 million tourists per year. Visitors will pay $35 for an entry pass and vehicle permit.
Yosemite Valley Lodge, Curry Village and the Ahwahnee will reopen Saturday. Upper Pines Campground, the only campground open, is limited to 50% capacity. Others campgrounds remain closed due to the park understaffing. Visitors are asked to continue the following of the CDC’s guidelines and practice social distancing when possible.