Fee-Free – Get Outdoors Day

You can get into Yosemite National Park free on Saturday, June, 9, 2012. The National Park Service is celebrating National Get Outdoors Day, with this opportunity for people to get out and visit Yosemite (and other public lands) without having to pay the regular entrance fees.

National Get Outdoors Day began in 2008 to encourage the American people to get out and visit parks and especially to reconnect young people with the wonder and excitement of nature. Dedicating this specific day to being outdoors and experiencing nature, encourages people to spend more time outdoors through-out the year.

Fee-free days are a great way to introduce someone to the beauty of Yosemite National Park, and save a little money in the process. Other upcoming fee-free dates in 2012 include:

National Public Lands Day (September 29)
Veterans Day Weekend (November 10-12).

Here are some tips to have a better park experience:
Arrive early, use public transportation and the free shuttle buses in the park, stay hydrated and above all make sure you have fun!

What’s With Yosemite Valley Traffic?

As the number of visitors increase during the summer months, the National Park Service is experimenting with different ways to control traffic in the east end of Yosemite Valley. We’d all like to see less congestion, more efficient traffic flow, and a system that allows emergency vehicles to respond to incidents effectively. But what exactly does that mean?

Here is the latest from NPS on what changes to expect when you drive into Yosemite Valley starting May 21, 2012.
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A New Yosemite Falls Webcam

View from the Yosemite Falls Webcam on May 14, 2012

What does Yosemite Falls look like right now? Now, you can find out in a few clicks by visiting the new webcam on the Yosemite Conservancy website. The view is taken from Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, and shows Upper Yosemite Fall in all its glory. In this screen capture, taken this morning you can also see in the lower center part of the image, the top of a flowering dogwood tree, a favorite springtime subject for many Yosemite photographers.

Because it is fed with snow-melt from the previous winter, the amount of water in upper and lower Yosemite Falls changes dramatically depending on the temperature and how much snow is left at higher elevations. So, the view from this webcam will range from revealing thundering falls in the spring months, to barely a trickle in fall. In the winter, freezing temperatures leave a delicate tracery of ice along the edges of the fall.

You can also enjoy other webcam images from Yosemite on Yosemite Conservancy’s website, including views of El Capitan, Half Dome and the High Sierra beyond Half Dome. The Yosemite Conservancy is a non-profit organization that supports the park on many fronts including providing funding for important park projects, publications, webcams and a video series on the park called Yosemite Nature Notes.

Tioga Road Opening May 7

The National Park Service made the announcement that we all wait for every spring. Tioga Road is officially scheduled to open to the public at noon on Monday, May 7! The less-than-average winter snowpack (~50% of normal) has melted quickly with the warmer temperatures allowing a relatively early opening. (You can read the official NPS release below)

Just don’t expect all of the facilities and services that Tuolumne has to offer quite yet. Vault toilets will be available in a few places along the road, but electric lines have been damaged over the winter. These will need to be repaired before electricity or other visitor services that you might expect to see during the summer months are available. We will let you know as soon as we find out when facilities like the Tuolumne Meadows Store, Grill, gas station etc. will open.

For so many, the opening of Tioga Road opens a route from the popular western regions of the park to the east side of the Sierra, and signals the beginning of easy access to the high country that has been buried under snow all winter. Suddenly we have access to miles of pristine trail for hikers and backpackers, sunny granite domes for rock climbers, many scenic vistas for photographers and a myriad of alpine lakes and rivers for fishermen (fisherpeople?). Do you have a favorite activity or particular reason to be excited about the road opening? Leave a comment below to share with us all what it is.

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