Bus offers alternative to sitting in Yosemite traffic

There isn't as much water in Yosemite Falls as in this file photo, it is flowing according to a web cam at the park.

There isn't as much water in Yosemite Falls as in this file photo, it is flowing according to a web cam at the park.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.


The eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park is open, but there might be an alternative to fighting the traffic that often plagues the park to experience one of the Eastern Sierra’s most spectacular attractions.

Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System is now running the Highway 120-95 route with service from Mono County all the way to Yosemite Valley.

A fare for the bus from Lee Vining to Yosemite Valley runs $38 for a round trip and could be less for people 62 or older and veterans. That compares with the $35 per car fee required to enter the park, which requires a reservation.

The fare includes park entry fee, and park reservation is not required. The route has stops in Mammoth Lakes, June Lake, and Lee Vining. Details can be accessed atwww.yarts.com.

Reaching 9,943 feet in elevation, Tioga Pass connects Mono County to Yosemite National Park’s only east entrance. Typically closed during the winter months, from roughly November through May each year, Mono County locals and visitors alike celebrate the reopening which provides access to Yosemite’s east side, including Tuolumne Meadows, Tenaya Lake, and Olmsted Point.

For those planning a visit, it’s important to note that Yosemite National Park has re-implemented their day-use reservation system to manage visitation levels and reduce risks associated with Coronavirus. Day-use reservations are required for all users, including annual and lifetime pass holders, and each reservation is valid for three days. Reservations are available here at www.recreation.gov.

The three mountain passes over the Eastern Sierra – Tioga Pass, Sonora Pass and Monitor Pass — have all opened.

“As the state reopens and travel resumes, we’re delighted to welcome tourists and responsible recreation enthusiasts back to Mono County,” said Mono County Supervisors Chairwoman Jennifer Kreitz. “We ask that everyone living in and visiting our great region be extra mindful of the fire dangers that exist today and will be with us until the snow flies.”

Kreitz thanked roads crews from Caltrans, Yosemite National Park, and Mono County for their coordinated effort to clear the roads of snow and debris.


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