Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile Recent Posts
Yosemite Valley

The Moon is Waxing Crescent (22% of Full)


Advanced

Traffic Advisory

All posts are those of the individual authors and the owner of this site does not endorse them. Content should be considered opinion and not fact until verified independently.

avatar Traffic Advisory
July 11, 2011 08:30PM
A record number of vehicles have been entering Yosemite National Park this summer. Traffic congestion may occur from noon until evening, with delays ranging between one and two hours long.

Travel recommendations:
  • Bring plenty of food and water for potential delays.
  • Park your vehicle for the duration of your stay. Driving from site to site increases traffic congestion.
  • Ride the free shuttle buses to enjoy Yosemite Valley most easily once parked.
  • Consider arriving early and staying late, or visiting Yosemite during the week.
  • Enjoy the entire Yosemite region - consider visiting the surrounding communities of Mariposa, Groveland, Lee Vining and Oakhurst.
  • Ride a YARTS bus to enter the park on Hwy 140 from El Portal or Hwy 120 from Lee Vining.
Please Be Aware:
  • Congestion is greatest in Yosemite Valley and at Glacier Point. It is especially heavy on weekends.
  • Parking lots are generally full by 12:00pm, and sometimes earlier.
  • Vehicles on roadsides must use designated turnouts and pull off the road completely. Do not park on vegetation.
  • After reaching the one-way road on the Yosemite Valley floor, the only route to avoid the areas of heaviest congestion is the left-hand turn labeled for Highways 140, 120 and 41.
We ask for patience and understanding as we work to help you enjoy and experience the Yosemite region.

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/traffic.htm
Re: Traffic Advisory
July 11, 2011 08:52PM
So if I arrive in the Valley this Sunday around Noon, is it going to take me two hours to reach Upper Pines?
avatar Re: Traffic Advisory
July 11, 2011 08:54PM
I know the Big Oak Flat Entrance station was handing out that as a flyer on Saturday. Maybe the others are too.
Re: Traffic Advisory
July 11, 2011 09:11PM
I can enter either via 41 or 140. So 140 is better? I have to go to the REI in Fresno on the way, so was gonna take 41, but I suppose I can cut across town to 99.
avatar Re: Traffic Advisory
July 11, 2011 09:27PM
That's a bit of a hard call to make. Overall, traffic flows better on Hwy 140 -- EXCEPT -- for the delay caused by the one-lane detour caused by that giant rockslide in the Merced River Canyon. If it wasn't for that one-lane detour, Hwy 140 would be better. But that detour is there and there's no way to avoid it on Hwy 140. So it might be just as well to take Hwy 41 into Yosemite.

If you do take Hwy 41, you might want to visit the Merced Grove of Giants Sequoias while you're at that end of the park, and maybe visit Sentinel Dome or Glacier Point before heading into the valley. Just a thought.
avatar Re: Traffic Advisory
July 11, 2011 10:16PM
Quote
hotrod4x5
I can enter either via 41 or 140. So 140 is better? I have to go to the REI in Fresno on the way, so was gonna take 41, but I suppose I can cut across town to 99.
Come up 41 and then cut over on 49, through Mariposa, to 140. The wait at Arch Rock shouldn't be very bad. That would get you to the Valley faster. If they have the bus lane on South Side Drive going from Sentinel Bridge to Curry, you can expect a long delay there. The delay caused by the slide detour is minimal, 15 minutes at most.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/12/2011 07:57AM by Dave.
Re: Traffic Advisory
July 12, 2011 06:33AM
I've seen other people say that taking the 49 to Mariposa is faster, but have never tried it myself. When I come from So Cal, I take either the 41 all the way to the valley or I stay on 99 to Minturn Rd, south of Merced, then cut over through Le Grande and catch the 140 well east of Merced. Honestly, I have never really paid a lot of attention to time, as I usually stop a couple times along the way. Only this last time, coming home did I really pay attention. From Glacier Point, took 6 hours and 40 minutes, with one 10 min stop at a gas station. I'm in Riverside, CA.
avatar Re: Traffic Advisory
July 12, 2011 09:36AM
If you're driving in from Riverside, wouldn't driving up US-395 be nearly as fast, maybe 30 minutes more of drive-time (but possibly less because of less traffic congestion), and a whole lot more scenic, than taking Hwy 99 through the Central Valley? Just a thought...
Re: Traffic Advisory
July 12, 2011 06:17PM
Quote
plawrence
If you're driving in from Riverside, wouldn't driving up US-395 be nearly as fast, maybe 30 minutes more of drive-time (but possibly less because of less traffic congestion), and a whole lot more scenic, than taking Hwy 99 through the Central Valley? Just a thought...
To get to the valley? I doubt it. It's what 60-80 mins from the eastern entrance to the valley? And from Riverside, its 6.5 hours to Lee Vining. So that would be about 8 -9 hours. We are going to the valley first, then the next day to TM.

I was the one who mentioned Merced. But I said I get off the 99 at LaGrande and cut over to the 140. (never going through Merced) I have never gone to Oakhurst then to Mariposa, perhaps that is shorter. Might just try that this time.
avatar Re: Traffic Advisory
July 13, 2011 01:00AM
Quote
hotrod4x5
Quote
plawrence
If you're driving in from Riverside, wouldn't driving up US-395 be nearly as fast, maybe 30 minutes more of drive-time (but possibly less because of less traffic congestion), and a whole lot more scenic, than taking Hwy 99 through the Central Valley? Just a thought...

To get to the valley? I doubt it. It's what 60-80 mins from the eastern entrance to the valley?


From Lee Vining, it's about a 90 minute drive to the junction of Hwy 140 & Hwy 41 (by the Bridalveil Fall parking lot) under normal summer traffic conditions.


Quote
hotrod4x5


And from Riverside, its 6.5 hours to Lee Vining. So that would be about 8 -9 hours.

If it takes you 6.5 hours to get to Lee Vining from Riverside, then it should take you about 8 hours to reach the western end of Yosemite Valley (where Hwy 140 meets with Hwy 41).

I'll be curious to know how long it takes you to get to Yosemite Valley from Riverside via Hwy 99. My concern is not just with the traffic congestion on Hwy 41 (or Hwy 140) but more with the traffic congestion in the L.A. basin from Riverside up to Santa Clarita. Traffic can be pretty heavy through the Pomona, San Gabriel, and San Fernando Valleys, even on weekends.
Re: Traffic Advisory
July 13, 2011 09:15AM
Quote
plawrence


I'll be curious to know how long it takes you to get to Yosemite Valley from Riverside via Hwy 99. My concern is not just with the traffic congestion on Hwy 41 (or Hwy 140) but more with the traffic congestion in the L.A. basin from Riverside up to Santa Clarita. Traffic can be pretty heavy through the Pomona, San Gabriel, and San Fernando Valleys, even on weekends.

We came home last time on a Friday, leaving Glacier Point at 2:30 PM. Stopped once north of Fresno for gas and then did not stop again. We got to Riverside at 8:45. When we hit the normal bad traffic spots, we were at a time of day (7:30 ish) that we had no problems. The GP road seemed to take about 30 mins to get back to the Chinquapin junction, so I guess you might add 15 mins if we had come from the valley.

To get there, on that trip, we left Riverside at 6 am on a Tues, so decided to take the 15 north, over Cajon pass and across the desert on 138. I know how the traffic is on the 210 trying to get through Duarte, etc, and even though it was further, and hell, maybe took as long, at least we were moving the entire time instead of sitting in stop and go traffic.

As far as traffic in the areas you mentioned. I have never encountered traffic during non peak times. And typically, once past the 134/210 junction, where I go north on the 210 to meet the 5 later, there is never a problem. Sometimes it slows when you get on the 5 from the 210, but not often.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/13/2011 09:17AM by hotrod4x5.
avatar Re: Traffic Advisory
July 11, 2011 09:07PM
Quote
hotrod4x5

So if I arrive in the Valley this Sunday around Noon, is it going to take me two hours to reach Upper Pines?

Probably not. Which entrance will you be driving through?

Expect possibly a 15 to 20 minute delay at any of the Entrance Stations, with the South Entrance (Hwy 41) probably being the worst, followed by the El Portal entrance being the next most congested.

On Big Oak Flat Road, expect maybe a 5 minute delay around Crane Flat due to a possible bear jam and a 10 minute delay at the junction with Hwy 140 (due to heavy traffic at the stop sign).

But within the valley itself, inbound, possibly a 10 minute delay at the stop sign on Southside Drive at Sentinel Drive, and a other 5 minute delay at the stop sign on Southside Drive at the junction of Northside Drive. Otherwise getting to Upper Pines shouldn't be THAT bad.

On the other had, trying to LEAVE Yosemite Valley anytime after 12 Noon on Sunday, don't be surprised if you spend 3+ hours sitting in traffic.
Re: Traffic Advisory
July 12, 2011 07:18AM
Plawrence said:

On Big Oak Flat Road, expect maybe a 5 minute delay around Crane Flat due to a possible bear jam and a 10 minute delay at the junction with Hwy 140 (due to heavy traffic at the stop sign).

hahahah Plawrence, maybe it should read: "possible beer jam" !!!


I know it's off topic but I laughed the moment I read that thinking of an incident 3 years ago, gearing up at the Hetch-Hetchy backpackers campground for my week b'packing ... and there was a group a few cars away, also getting ready .. about 6 guys ... and they were loading their packs on and chugging can after can of Budweiser!!!

Swear to dog! never seen folks chugging beer right before muscle-ing out a backpack trip! And it was a very hot morning already I remember .... sheesh! Is that the new electrolyte??? beer!!!

Crominy! I could never tough that out ... that'd kill me!
avatar Re: Traffic Advisory
July 12, 2011 09:30AM
Quote
Anvanho
I know it's off topic but I laughed the moment I read that thinking of an incident 3 years ago, gearing up at the Hetch-Hetchy backpackers campground for my week b'packing ... and there was a group a few cars away, also getting ready .. about 6 guys ... and they were loading their packs on and chugging can after can of Budweiser!!!

Swear to dog! never seen folks chugging beer right before muscle-ing out a backpack trip! And it was a very hot morning already I remember .... sheesh! Is that the new electrolyte??? beer!!!

Crominy! I could never tough that out ... that'd kill me!

What? You never heard of Carb-Loading?

Marathoners do it all the time before the big race. And there's probably not a better, tastier liquid carb to consume than great tasting, ice cold beer! wink
avatar Re: Traffic Advisory
July 12, 2011 12:53PM
Quote
hotrod4x5
So if I arrive in the Valley this Sunday around Noon, is it going to take me two hours to reach Upper Pines?

Probably not. But it make take two hours to get past the lodge on your way out.
Re: Traffic Advisory
July 12, 2011 06:14PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
hotrod4x5
So if I arrive in the Valley this Sunday around Noon, is it going to take me two hours to reach Upper Pines?

Probably not. But it make take two hours to get past the lodge on your way out.
On a Monday morning around 7:30?
avatar Re: Traffic Advisory
July 12, 2011 06:31PM
Quote
hotrod4x5
Quote
eeek
Quote
hotrod4x5
So if I arrive in the Valley this Sunday around Noon, is it going to take me two hours to reach Upper Pines?

Probably not. But it make take two hours to get past the lodge on your way out.
On a Monday morning around 7:30?

That early in the day you'll see very little traffic in the Valley.
avatar Re: Traffic Advisory
July 11, 2011 08:55PM
Quote
eeek
A record number of vehicles have been entering Yosemite National Park this summer. Traffic congestion may occur from noon until evening, with delays ranging between one and two hours long.

Travel recommendations:
  • Bring plenty of food and water for potential delays.

Plenty of water: Yes.

Plenty of food: Huh???

With the U.S. in the midst of an unprecedented obesity epidemic, I doubt anyone will go starving if they end up two extra hours without any food while sitting in the car. And what are the park visitors suposed to do with the EXTRA food once they find a place to park? Leave it in the vehicle and risk the vehicle being broken into by a black bear? Lug it around the park and on the crowded shuttle bus? This extra food recommendation is plain silly. It's not like Yosemite Valley is out in the middle of the Sahara (or even the Mojave) Desert.
avatar Re: Traffic Advisory
July 11, 2011 09:23PM
Quote
eeek

[*]Vehicles on roadsides must use designated turnouts and pull off the road completely.

Wait, we're not allowed to just stop in the middle of the road like that other thread said?
Re: Traffic Advisory
July 11, 2011 09:37PM
Thanks Plaw. We were just there in June, went to the top of Sentinel and gawked with the tourists at GP. Only going to the valley Sunday so we can get up to TM early for a first come first served site on Monday morning. Plan to get to the campground, set up the tent, then take our raft for a leisurely float. May end up walking to the launch point, luckily we are in the first loop.
Re: Traffic Advisory
July 11, 2011 11:00PM
Dave, I am confused because I have never seen a hwy 40 in the Yosemite area. I think that you meant to say take the 49 in Oakhurst to Mariposa and then the 140 to the park. I am wondering if it is worth the extra time to go that way and not straight on the 41 even though the S. entrance might be busier. We always take the 41 to get to the 99 south to get home. The few times that we went out the 140 and cut over on the 49 to the 41 it took much longer. Mile wise it does shorten it up a bit if you use Carleton and Triangle roads to get between the 140 and the 49 but it has been a long time since we did that so I can't remember if it took longer that way than to go through Mariposa and be on the 49 longer. We have never taken the 99 past Fresno to get to the 140 so I don't know how much time that takes.
avatar Re: Traffic Advisory
July 12, 2011 08:03AM
Quote
parklover
Dave, I am confused because I have never seen a hwy 40 in the Yosemite area. I think that you meant to say take the 49 in Oakhurst to Mariposa and then the 140 to the park.
No confusion here, just a typo. I fixed it.
Quote

I am wondering if it is worth the extra time to go that way and not straight on the 41 even though the S. entrance might be busier.
Taking 41 from Oakhurst to the Valley, in my experience, takes longer. The road is slower and windier. You can get up to 55 mph on 49 with fewer motor homes and buses in your way.

Quote

We always take the 41 to get to the 99 south to get home. The few times that we went out the 140 and cut over on the 49 to the 41 it took much longer. Mile wise it does shorten it up a bit if you use Carleton and Triangle roads to get between the 140 and the 49 but it has been a long time since we did that so I can't remember if it took longer that way than to go through Mariposa and be on the 49 longer. We have never taken the 99 past Fresno to get to the 140 so I don't know how much time that takes.
Carleton does shave off some time, but in my experience 49/140, instead of 41, is faster. I may have misread the post I was replying to but it sounded like someone was going to go from Fresno to Merced on 99 and then up to the park. That would not be a very good way to go.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/12/2011 09:32AM by Dave.
Re: Traffic Advisory
July 12, 2011 01:57PM
It certainly sounded like they were thinking of going up the 99 to Merced. I have never gone that way so I have no idea what it is like. We did the Carleton/Triangle way because we have never been down those roads and were curious to see what they were like. Since we live down south the majority of our experience is going on the 41. I have friends in both Wawona and Yosemite West and they said that it is really nuts this year with the waterfalls going like they are. They tend not to go down to the Valley in the summer unless they go very early in the morning. When we were there June 24th - 26th we made a mistake of going into the valley at 7 pm one night and still got stuck in traffic. At least it was not as bad as it is during Memorial Day Weekend.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login