Image: Elias Funez (AP)
A perfect storm of pent up demand to “Get Outside” following to pandemic closings combined with a wet and snowy winter for most of California means there’s a ton of people who are anxious to see the beauty of Yosemite this year. It seems they all coordinated and picked the summer season to make the trip, because visitors have been facing miles-long lines and four-hour wait times just to get into the park, reports SFGATE.
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One family shared their attempt to visit over the Juneteenth weekend with the outlet:
It was stop and go, stop and go, stop and go,” Stone says of the wait at the Big Oak Flat entrance along Highway 120. “And finally, the cars coming back down the hill were waving at us, telling us that we had to turn around, that they were turning around people at the gate. So we didn’t stay in line any longer.
It’s a mess out there right now and park rangers and the surrounding area are bearing the brunt of it. Everything from illegal off-road parking to long wait times at shuttle stops meant some people might not even get in. Social media posts from around the web have been detailing just how quick the park has been filling up.
For example, on June 25, a park employee posted on the accounts that Curry Village parking was full by 8:46 a.m., Yosemite Village parking was full by 9:01 a.m., and all of Yosemite Valley’s parking was full by 9:30 a.m., with the east side of the valley open only to vehicles carrying guests with reservations for park lodgings or activities. Other vehicles would be turned around near El Capitan, the posts explained.
In a move that was a first for the park, a reservation system was implemented and it did help to limit the number of people getting into the park. But it turned out to be a headache: People were showing up trying to get in and arguing that they weren’t aware they needed a reservation; others went to local businesses to complain to them in hopes that those businesses could change something or help them get them in. Local businesses of course couldn’t help, and are certainly hurting as well, as guests who couldn’t get into the parks would simply cancel their stays.
Ultimately though it looks like all of these things are going to have to be dealt with for people that want to get into the park. It’s either that or wait for who knows how long until things die down again to try and visit.