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How to make Yosemite reservation?

Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the United States, attracting over 4 million visitors per year. With immense granite cliffs, stunning waterfalls, giant sequoia groves, and diverse wildlife, it’s easy to understand Yosemite’s appeal. However, this popularity also means that reservations are required for many activities and services in Yosemite, especially during the busy summer months. Proper planning and preparation will help ensure you secure the lodging, camping, tours, and other experiences you want for your Yosemite trip.

When to Visit Yosemite

Yosemite is open year-round, but the peak visitation season is from May through September. During this busy period, reservations for lodging, camping, and other park services are highly recommended.

Spring (May and June) and Fall (September and October) see fewer visitors, so you may have more flexibility for last minute trips. However, reservations are still a good idea, especially for camping.

Winter (November through April) is the quietest time in Yosemite. Park facilities and services are limited, but you can often make last minute lodging and dining reservations. There is limited camping available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Types of Reservations

Here are the main types of reservations to consider for a Yosemite trip:

Lodging Reservations

Yosemite has a variety of lodging options inside the park, including hotels, cabins, and tent cabins. The two main lodging areas are Yosemite Valley and Wawona. Advance reservations are strongly recommended, especially in summer. Reservations can be made up to 366 days in advance through

Campground Reservations

Most Yosemite campgrounds require reservations from May through September. This includes busy spots like Upper Pines, Lower Pines, and North Pines in Yosemite Valley. Campground reservations are available up to 5 months in advance, with some sites booked within minutes of the release dates. You can reserve sites through

Some campgrounds like Camp 4 and Hodgdon Meadow accept reservations for 7 days at a time, while others like Tamarack Flat are first-come, first-served. Backcountry wilderness permits are also required for overnight backpacking trips.

Tour and Activity Reservations

From guided hikes to bus tours to horseback rides, there are many ways to experience Yosemite with a professional guide. Reserving in advance ensures availability for popular tours, especially during peak season. Activity providers like,, and offer reservations.

Dining Reservations

During busy times, reservations are recommended for Yosemite’s in-park dining options like the Ahwahnee Hotel Dining Room and Mountain Room Lounge. You can reserve on Reservations are not accepted at most other dining facilities.

Transit Reservations

Yosemite’s free shuttle buses often fill up quickly, so reserving a spot in advance is a good idea. The Yosemite Valley shuttle requires reservations from May through September, which can be made at Reservations are recommended for other shuttle routes as well.

When to Make Reservations

Here are some tips on when to make reservations for your Yosemite trip:

  • Lodging – Book as early as possible, ideally 4-12 months in advance for peak season.
  • Campgrounds – Reservable campsites are released on a rolling basis up to 5 months in advance. Mark your calendar for the 15th of each month when more sites open up for reservations 5 months ahead.
  • Dining – Make reservations 1-2 months in advance for peak dining times like breakfast at the Ahwahnee Hotel.
  • Tours and Activities – Reserve 1-3 months in advance for busy guided hikes, bus tours, and other activities during peak season.
  • Transit – Valley shuttle reservations open up 2 days before the travel date. Reserve as soon as possible once the date is open.

Being flexible with your plans and travel dates will also increase your chances of successfully reserving your preferred Yosemite experiences. Weekdays and shoulder season months are generally easier to book.

Where to Make Reservations

Yosemite reservations can be made through a few different authorized sites, depending on what you want to book:

  • Lodging and Dining:
  • Campgrounds:
  • Tours and Activities: Provider websites like,
  • Transit: for Yosemite Valley shuttle

Reputable hotels near Yosemite like Tenaya Lodge also offer comprehensive reservation services for various Yosemite experiences.

Avoid third party sites, as they will not have access to all lodging and campsites. Always book through an authorized Yosemite partner to ensure your reservations are valid.

Reservation Tips and Tricks

Here are some expert tips for successfully securing your desired Yosemite reservations:

  • Plan your ideal itinerary first before making any reservations.
  • Be flexible with lodging – consider alternative locations like Wawona or Tuolumne Meadows if Yosemite Valley is full.
  • Think outside the tent – consider soft-sided tents, cabins, or nearby gateway cities when camping spots are full.
  • Make dining reservations for off-peak times like breakfast and lunch instead of dinner.
  • Try less popular hikes and tours during peak times instead of classics like Mist Trail.
  • Check reservation sites frequently leading up to your dates – cancellations do happen.
  • Consider winter trips – less crowds and easier last minute reservations.
  • Enlist friends and family to help book sites – 4 people can try for reservations instead of just you.

Booking Lodging Reservations

Here are step-by-step instructions for booking lodging reservations in Yosemite:

1. Browse accommodation options on to select your preferred dates, room type, and lodge.

2. Create an account on if you don’t already have one. This allows you to save payment information for faster checkout.

3. On your selected hotel page, click “Check Rates” and enter your arrival and departure dates.

4. Select the room type you want, then click “Check Availability.”

5. If your dates and room type show available inventory, select “Reserve” to begin the booking process.

6. Enter details for each guest staying in the room. The name of each guest will appear on the reservation.

7. Provide your contact information including name, address, phone number, and email.

8. Enter your payment information including credit card details. All reservations require a deposit equal to one night’s stay.

9. Carefully review all details, terms and conditions, and cancellation policies before completing the reservation.

10. Receive a booking confirmation via email with details of your Yosemite hotel reservation.

Booking Campground Reservations

Follow these steps to reserve a campsite at one of Yosemite’s reservable campgrounds:

1. Browse campground options and identify your top choices on Consider location, amenities, and open dates.

2. Determine your ideal reservation dates. You can book single nights or longer stays at most campgrounds.

3. Log into your account or create a new account if needed. Save payment information for faster checkout.

4. Search for your desired campground and click “Check Availability.”

5. Select your date range and campsite type (RV, tent, etc) and click “Search.”

6. Click “Select” on your preferred available site for the dates you want.

7. Enter your contact information and details for each member of your party staying at the site.

8. Carefully review reservation details before clicking “Continue to Payment.”

9. Enter payment information including credit card details. Camping fees must be paid in full at booking.

10. Review the reservation summary, then read and accept the cancellation policy before completing the reservation.

11. Receive a reservation confirmation email with your campsite details and reservation number. Print or save this – it is required to check in.

Dining Reservations

Follow these tips for reserving meals at popular Yosemite restaurants:

– Browse restaurant options and menus on to choose your spot.

– For the Ahwahnee dining room, book breakfast or lunch instead of dinner for better availability.

– Make reservations at least 1-2 months in advance for peak season dining.

– Provide the date, time, number of guests, and contact information when booking.

– Receive an email confirmation with details of your dining reservation.

– Arrive on time for your reservation or call if running late – otherwise you may lose your table.

– Understand cancellation policies – cancellations for the Ahwahnee dining room typically require 48 hours notice.

– Enjoy your meal! Gratuity is typically not included so plan to tip your server.

Guided Hike Reservations

Follow these steps to reserve spots on popular guided hikes like Mist Trail to Vernal Fall:

– Browse hike options offered by authorized providers like and

– Select your preferred hike and dates. Spots book quickly so have back-up date options.

– Create an account and save your payment information to expedite checkout.

– Carefully follow provided instructions to search availability and reserve spots. Availability is limited.

– Provide accurate number of hikers, contact details, and any other requested info.

– Read and accept the cancellation policy, liability waiver, and other provided information before booking.

– Receive a reservation confirmation via email with meet-up time, location, and other important details.

– Arrive 15 minutes early for your hike, protect your receipt, and follow all provided safety guidelines.

– Bring water, snacks, proper shoes, sun protection, and other recommended gear for an enjoyable hike!

Yosemite Valley Shuttle Reservations

Here is how to reserve a spot on Yosemite’s popular free shuttle serving Yosemite Valley:

– Determine your Yosemite Valley shuttle date. Reservations are required from May through September.

– Visit 2 days before your date (i.e. reserve Monday for Wednesday travel).

– Click “Make Reservation” and select “Yosemite Valley Shuttle” for the route.

– Choose your desired boarding location and travel time. Times are assigned in 15 minute increments.

– Enter your name, phone number, email, number of passengers, and accessible seating needs if any.

– Read and accept the provided terms and conditions to complete reservation.

– Receive a confirmation email with your assigned shuttle boarding time and other details. Save this!

– Arrive at the stop early on your day of travel. Show your confirmation to board.

– Masks are required on the shuttle. Be courteous and enjoy the ride!

Reservation Confirmations

For every Yosemite reservation, be sure to carefully review the confirmation details for important information including:

– Confirmation number – this unique code proves your reservation is valid

– Names of all guests on the reservation

– Specific reserved dates and length of stay

– Location information like hotel name, campground, etc.

– Check-in and check-out times

– Cancellation policy with deadlines and penalties

– Payment details including total paid and balance due, if any

– Additional instructions for your stay like pet policies

– Contact information for reservation provider

Save your confirmation emails until after your trip or print paper copies as back-up. You may need to show confirmation details when you arrive, so be sure you have access to them.

Contact the reservation provider immediately if any details look incorrect on your confirmation. For lodging and dining, call (801) 559-4884. For camping, call (877) 444-6777.

Cancellations and Changes

Review cancellation policies carefully before booking. Each Yosemite reservation will have its own cancellation details, with stricter policies generally for peak times.

Lodging cancellations made at least 48 hours before your check-in time typically get a full refund minus a processing fee. Inside 7 days, you will be charged for 1 night stay.

Camping cancellations with at least 1 day notice get a refund minus the $10 processing fee. Same day cancellations are non-refundable.

Dining and tour cancellations typically require 2 days advance notice to avoid penalties.

To request a cancellation, contact the booking provider directly by phone. For lodging or dining, call (801) 559-4884. For camping, call (877) 444-6777. Email cancellations are sometimes accepted.

Request date or accommodation changes through the same contact channels. Changes are subject to availability and may incur fees.

Day-Of Arrival

On the day your Yosemite reservation begins:

– Have your reservation confirmation on hand to verify details like confirmation number and check-in location. Printed or phone copies are recommended.

– Know check-in and check-out times. Arriving early risks rooms not being ready yet.

– For lodging, go straight to the hotel front desk to check-in. Government issued photo ID is required.

– For camping, proceed directly to the campground entrance kiosk. Provide your name and confirmation number.

– Study provided park maps to understand shuttle routes, dining options, and activity locations. Ask the front desk for recommendations.

– Inquire about good hikes or other activities suited for your interests, dates, and current park conditions.

– Enjoy your Yosemite adventure! Be sure to make any needed reservations for upcoming dates during your trip.


If your plans change and you cannot make your Yosemite reservation dates after all:

– Contact the booking provider immediately to explain the no-show situation. This is better than simply not showing up.

– Understand that you will be charged a no-show fee as penalty, typically 1 night’s stay for lodging and full stay camping fees.

– Request a refund of any additional paid nights beyond the no-show penalty. Refund eligibility depends on policy.

– Know that unused dining and activity reservations are typically non-refundable if you no-show.

– Request a new reservation for future dates as needed – but no-shows may impact ability to re-book.

Communicating promptly can sometimes result in reduced cancellation/change penalties, especially due to COVID or weather events. But in general, no-shows lose most if not all payments already made.

Reservation Tips Summary

Here are some key tips for a successful Yosemite reservation experience:

  • Book lodging 4-12 months in advance for peak demand times
  • Make dining reservations 1-2 months out, aiming for off-peak meal times
  • Reserve campsites exactly 5 months before your dates to get the best pick
  • Sign up for activity/tour emails so you know when to book each season’s offerings
  • Save confirmation details for all reservations to your phone or as printouts
  • Read all reservation policies carefully, especially around changes, cancellations, no-shows
  • Call reservation provider with issues – don’t just not show up
  • Enjoy your Yosemite trip after all the effort to properly plan and reserve!


Visiting Yosemite is an incredible experience, but making the required reservations takes effort and advance planning. Start booking your preferred lodging, dining, and activity options 4-12 months ahead of time for peak season dates. Carefully review all reservation policies and confirmation details. With a spirit of flexibility and personal responsibility, you’re sure to have a memorable time in one of America’s most stunning national parks. Remember that reservations are not required for simply entering Yosemite and enjoying the amazing scenery. So if some sought-after spots don’t work out, you can still have an amazing DIY adventure with a more spontaneous mindset. Happy planning and enjoy the magic of Yosemite!