We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

One Day Navigation Questions

Cary, North Carolina
3 posts
Save Topic
One Day Navigation Questions

We will be going to Yosemite on a Monday in August. We are staying in Groveland and have one day in the park. We are planning on driving in early and we want to hit Yosemite Valley and Glacier Point. I have read that parking is a nightmare and was wondering what the best itinerary should be that day. Not sure what to do first.....Glacier Point or the Valley. The 4 hour bus tour is sold out that day, which would have been ideal. It sounds like if we get there early in either place we will be fine to park, its just the second spot will be difficult to find parking. Any advice? Are there any secrets to finding parking in the Valley during a crowded summer day? Thank you.

Edited: 29 July 2017, 00:20
5 replies to this topic
Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
64,482 posts
114 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: One Day Navigation Questions

Yes.

The secret is to get into your chosen parking lot by 8 am or maybe 8:30 am. Yes, that means you need to leave Groveland incredibly early, but with only one day and two distant destinations on your wish list, that's what you need to do.

My suggestion:

When you drive over the Merced River & across the Valley, make the short detour to Tunnel View and Bridalveil Fall now, before those parking lots are stuffed full. Then drive down to the Yosemite Falls parking lot west of Yosemite Valley Lodge. Use the free shuttle to go to your chosen destinations in the Valley. Before you leave, you can purchase a picnic dinner.

Leave the parking lot around 4:30 pm. Maybe stop at Valley View for a river-level view. Then drive on to Glacier Point. If you like fabulous views, stop at the Sentinel Dome shortcut parking and hike to the top of this dome. Then continue to Glacier Point, use the outhouses at the far end of the parking lot, get your picnic dinner, and walk out to your chosen viewpoint. Enjoy.

Drive down to Groveland... maybe 2 hours away. (Google Maps will be fairly accurate at this time of day if you use exact locations.

.

If you prefer to get back to Groveland at an earlier time, then you'll head up to Glacier Point earlier and will be on the shuttle after Badger Pass ski area. Add time for shuttling.

Maps and tips are in the Top Questions on the right, full TripAdvisor website (not the app!)

Cary, North Carolina
3 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: One Day Navigation Questions

Thank you very much for this info. So parking should not be an issue at GP if we make it there at 5:30pm? I heard the parking lot is small and by that time of day there will not be a shuttle.

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
64,482 posts
114 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: One Day Navigation Questions

Well, parking is always an issue at Glacier Point, even when half the parking spots are vacant. Someone will stop near the entrance to the parking lot, waiting for someone else to leave so that they snag the closest possible parking spot. (But they'll be walking all around Glacier Point, so this just doesn't make sense.)

Here is a good map of the parking lot. It's really not that small, but it does fill up.

wikimapia.org/…2

I'd guess the Glacier Point shuttles will be running till 6 pm, but I don't know. If you're staying past that time, the ranger should let you drive up.

Stopping at the Sentinel Dome shortcut parking and then hiking 1.5 miles round trip would be less than an hour, so a 4:30 departure from Yosemite Valley plus the hike would put you at Glacier Point parking shortly after 6 pm, assuming no major traffic delays.

Cary, North Carolina
3 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: One Day Navigation Questions

When the shuttles are working and the lot is full, rangers won't let you up to GP. If there are no shuttles running anymore, do they still let you up to GP? I just don't want to risk not being able to see GP. Thank you for your help. I really appreciate it.

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
64,482 posts
114 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: One Day Navigation Questions

I generally avoid Glacier Point during the heat of the afternoon, so I don't have first hand knowledge. But based on research (reading, listening, asking, etc), here is how I think it goes.

Shuttles run up & down Glacier Point Road until the last shuttle leaves Glacier Point, probably around 6 pm.

During the day, folks drive up the first 4+ miles of Glacier Point Road till they get to Badger Pass. The ranger (or the road cones) funnel you into the huge parking lot at Badger Pass. Visitors ride the free shuttle up the road; the shuttle stops several times for hikes, the campground, etc.) Visitors ride back down.

Folks who are camping, folks with a disabled placard, folks with special need, folks with a Wilderness Permit, and lucky folks drive past the ranger and continue driving up to Glacier Point.

In the late late afternoon, folks who are headed up to Glacier Point won't stop at the Badger Pass parking lot as there won't be a shuttle available to bring them back down. So they drive past Badger Pass. They stop at their chosen trailheads or at Glacier Point.

I don't know what would happen if there are more folks who want to park at Glacier Point for sunset viewing than actually fit in the GP lot. I guess folks (illegally) park along the road and hope for the best.

.

>>When the shuttles are working and the lot is full, rangers won't let you up to GP.<<

Rangers won't let you *drive* up to Glacier Point.

>>If there are no shuttles running anymore, do they still let you up to GP?<<

Yes.

>>I just don't want to risk not being able to see GP.<<

You'll be able to see views from Glacier Point. If it's a highlight for you, go there first thing in the morning and then suffer the consequences with no parking in Yosemite Valley between 10 am and 3 pm (my guess for timing.) It's your day and you get to do it the way you want. As long as you enjoy your Yosemite Experience, then you're doing it right! :)

Reply to: One Day Navigation Questions
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted