Yosemite plans to reopen south entrance Saturday morning. Here’s what to know before you visit

Yosemite Falls, seen in April 2020.
Despite one fire in the park and one to the west, rangers said Yosemite Valley is operating as usual. The park’s south entrance, Highway 41, is expected to reopen Saturday morning. Above, a look at Yosemite Falls in April 2020.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Yosemite National Park officials plan to reopen the park’s south entrance at 6 a.m. Saturday.

That entrance via Highway 41 — the most popular way in for visitors from Southern California — has been closed for several days as firefighters struggle to subdue to Washburn fire in the park’s southern Wawona and Mariposa Grove areas.

The park announced its tentative plans, “conditions permitting,” on its website Friday. The park’s other entrances have remained open.


As firefighters seem to gain the upper hand on Washburn blaze, another fire is burning west of the park near the town of Mariposa. Here’s how that might affect your visit.

The National Park Service said Friday morning that the Washburn fire was 79% contained at 4,856 acres. The fire, whose origins are under investigation, began July 7. It threatened the ancient sequoias of the park’s Mariposa Grove, but has not damaged any.

Park officials said the Mariposa Grove, Wawona Hotel, Wawona rental cabins and Wawona Campground remained closed Friday, their status under review day by day. Park concessionaire Aramark, which operates the Wawona Hotel, said on its website that reservations at the hotel have been canceled through July 24. Yosemite’s other lodgings never closed and visitors had unimpeded access to the familiar attractions of Yosemite Valley.

Meanwhile, Cal Fire authorities said Friday morning that the Agua fire, about 30 miles west of the park near the town of Mariposa, had been 89% contained. That fire blackened about 421 acres and destroyed three structures.

For most visitors who enter the park without an overnight booking, advance reservations are still required. The park’s summertime reservation requirement, which covers day-trip visitors who arrive between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m., remains in place through Sept. 30.