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5 Reasons to Avoid Yosemite National Park in 2021

5 Reasons to Avoid Yosemite National Park in 2021

5 Reasons to Avoid Yosemite National Park in 2021

Renowned landscape photographer Ansel Adams can’t be wrong.  Yosemite National Park is a treasure unlike any other. Capturing every alluring landscape on film was his passion. 

These days hundreds of thousands of photographers, hikers, and nature lovers pour into the park to follow in his footsteps. 

But the scenery has changed, as so many pilgrims make it virtually impossible to document Mother Nature without the sign of mankind in the way. 

Maybe it’s time to consider passing by Yosemite, in favor of other less populated destinations?

The Deets on Yosemite National Park

The views throughout the park are absolutely amazing. The main visitor center is full of history and geological info. And, the lodging accommodations onsite are awesome. Yosemite offers tent & RV sites, glamping yurts, cabins, and backcountry camping.

The key points of interest include Half Dome, El Capitan, Tuolumne Grove, Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Fall.

It’s easy to see why so many are attracted to this picture-perfect destination.

But with such popularity, many visitors can’t get “off the beaten path” to explore the backcountry here. Everything seems to be on a “beaten path” these days. 

So, if you are thinking about skipping this national park, we’ve got 5 reasons to avoid Yosemite that might sway your decision. 


More than 5 million people visit Yosemite National Park each year.  That is 20% more than the entire population of Los Angeles, the second-largest city in the US! 

If you are planning a vacation filled with solitude and seclusion, you may be hard-pressed to find it at Yosemite. 

The park staff makes a valiant effort to cut down on car traffic by instituting shuttle busses to many destinations, but popular locations are still overrun with that unique species, the homo sapien.

Bear Activity

Get used to wearing a bell or singing as you hike through the Yosemite Valley. Black bears abound here. 

The ‘native’ population has become less fearful of people, and therefore, more inquisitive and brazen about approaching them.  The park has a strict policy regarding food storage in hopes of keeping bears out of trouble.

If you plan to eat while you are in the park, you will be required to place your food in a food storage locker, located at every campsite.  Failure to do so could result in impoundment of your food and/or vehicle and a fine of up to $5,000.

Expensive Gas

Be sure to fill up your tank before you arrive at Yosemite because there are not many options for fuel. When it can be found, it is expensive. 

Most gas stations lie several miles outside of the park and they are few and far between. 

Mix in a trip from Yosemite back to Modesto or east over the mountains, and you will be burning gas around winding mountain roads.

Congested Park Traffic

Even shuttle bus additions can’t alleviate the horrendous traffic problem in Yosemite.  That can only be remedied by fewer people visiting the park. 

There is basically one road in and out. Count on sitting in rush hour traffic at any hour of the day. You’ll also be dealing with a great number of people at each viewpoint, popular trailhead, concessionaire, or restroom along the way. 

You might be best outfitted for your adventure through Yosemite National Park by bringing your patience along for the ride!

Park Dangers

National parks are not theme parks.  The adventure they offer is real, unmitigated exploration through natural landscapes, not log flume rides over engineer-designed tracks. 

The beauty they showcase is authentic. But it may come with its share of dangers. You should be prepared for wildlife that may not want you in their backyard.

Rocky slopes in the real world tend to erode, creating all kinds of havoc as gravity and the elements overtake them. Wildfires can start anywhere there is timber and a match or lightning strike. 

And please don’t trade your life for a moment’s jubilation over a selfie captured at a dangerous vantage point. 

Most dangers can be avoided by using common sense and a little self-awareness. But they do exist.

Is Yosemite National Park Worth It? 

When you consider all of the pluses a trip into Yosemite National Park might add to your getaway versus the things you may want to avoid, it’s clear that only you can decide if a trek around this spectacular location in the Sierra Mountains is worth the effort. 

Can you overlook the frustrations of crowds and traffic to find the true heart of the park?  If I were answering that question, it would be a resounding, “You bet!”

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Rigo Rangel

Thursday 11th of November 2021

Bunch of Bull, I was there last week and it was practically empty. I got to see various waterfalls, hiked around, had lunch there. And I even went two days in a row. The gas was cheaper near Yosemite than the near town of Mariposa where I got a hotel had amazing dinner and walked around visiting the various stores that are available.

Mike Benbrook

Saturday 27th of March 2021

I live near Yosemite. Been hiking and camping in Yosemite for over 20 years Never seen a bear or lots of any type of wildlife. True in the summer Yosemite is a mess. Pick and choose your times for being in the park There are times early spring and late winter I have been in the park with less than 100 tourists. Magical. I have been to many national parks. Nothing beats the wow factor of Yosemite is Yosemite dangerous. Yes if you are a moron who steps into fast running streams above water falls or takes selfies at the edges of cliffs, Darwin is coming for you. There is no place on earth that has the views and wonder of Yosemite. Most people get hung up in the valley. Easy to get to and developed. The park is 2000 square miles. Out of valley some of the finest camping, fishing and hidden eating spots in the world. If there is only one national park you ever visit , go to Yosemite. It is the crown jewel in the nation park system, just be smart about time of year when you visit. Go early, go often Spring is raging waterfalls, winter is quiet and cold, but the snow covered valley is awesome , fall beautiful colors. Summer can be a bitch, but swimming and floating in chilled waters of the Merced renews the soul. Gas is expensive in the Valley. Be smart about your visit and the memories will be exceptional Eat at the Awanhee. Food is meh, but it is a once in a life time experience, stand in the raging wind and mist of Yosemite Falls. Look over the edge at Glacier Point, go to Omstead Point and marvel at the geology of surrounding mountains. Go to the lodge at Tuolume Meadows and get dinner. Hike to big trees at Wawonna and marvel at the giants. These trees were saplings when Caesar Walked the earth and they were already giants when Columbus showed up. Be smart, pick and choose. The memories of your visit will make you smile the rest of your life. Also too the beauty of the Sierras doesn’t stop at the park boundaries. The Sierras are some of the wildest places on earth.

Barbara Youders

Wednesday 2nd of December 2020

Why do you say there is "virtually" only one road into the park? There are three good state highways: Highway 41 from Fresno, Highway 140 from Merced, and Highway 120 from Modesto. I have only traveled 120 as that is closest to where I live and I admit that the Priests grade into the town of Groveland can be frightening to some. All of the roads have steep areas so one must make choices. It can also be accessed from the east via highway 120 from Lee Vining.

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