Merced County Times Newspaper
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Five new things coming to Yosemite / Mariposa County


In a destination as timeless as Yosemite / Mariposa County, it may seem on the surface that there wouldn’t be too much new to expect for returning visitors in 2023. But just like the landscape, Yosemite is ever-changing and always provides something new to experience.

2023 will bring a new glamping location and an old meets new historic hotel that is being reinvented into something truly special to Mariposa County. Major Yosemite National Park infrastructure projects funded through the Great American Outdoors Act are set to be completed. There are also some big changes coming to how you’ll plan your trip to Yosemite this February and summer as well as a historic opportunity to provide input into how visitors will access Yosemite and how the park will potentially operate for decades to come.


Trips made easy

Temporary Vehicle Reservations WILL NOT be Required this Summer to Enter Yosemite National Park

The biggest change coming to Yosemite Mariposa County in 2023 will make trip planning simple and more streamlined. The Yosemite National Park Service announced in November that it would not continue the Temporary Vehicle Reservation System that has been in place for summer visits since 2020.

Instead, the NPS will spend two months between January and February 2023 conducting public in-person and virtual meetings for input, as well as accepting online comments to create a new Visitor Access Management Plan. This short public comment period will help decide how Yosemite will move forward to create a great visitor experience while protecting the park’s natural resources. The public comment period is open through Feb. 3. This is a historic opportunity to provide feedback on how one of America’s most beloved National Parks will operate for potentially decades to come. To submit your input, go online to:, and search for Visitor Access Management Plan – Yosemite.

While reservations will not be required this summer, those planning to visit on select weekends in February to view the Natural Firefall at Horsetail Fall will need to make a reservation online at: Passes will be available on Jan. 13.


New lodging options

Mariposa County will welcome two lodging businesses in 2023, one is a brand-new glamping experience and Mariposa County’s first new property in three years and the other is rehabilitated old-west meets new-west icon of the “Friendliest Town in America”.

Wildhaven Yosemite will be the second location opened by glamping operator Wildhaven which opened its first property in June 2020 in Sonoma County. The glamping tents will open on the former site of Yosemite Ziplines and Adventure Ranch just outside of the historic gold-rush town of Mariposa. The new grounds will expand the glamping options in Yosemite Mariposa County by as many as 80 glamping tents once it is fully completed over the coming three years.

Also, in 2023 the Hotel Bluey will open on the site of the historic Hotel Jeffery in 2022’s “Friendliest Town in America”, Coulterville, California.

The Hotel Bluey seeks to reimagine the Gold Rush era Historic Landmark Town of Coulterville by modernizing the Hotel Jeffery and Magnolia Saloon, two of the oldest of their kind in California. The completed project will bring to life a property that has played host to guests such as Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir with sustainable, eco-responsible and modern practices of design, construction and hotel operations.


New Welcome Center

Set to be completed and open to the public in late spring of 2023, the Yosemite Valley Welcome Center is a $10.4 million project that will transform Yosemite Village’s old “sport shop” into a 3,000-square-foot state-of-the-art space to welcome visitors to Yosemite.

The project creates a welcoming space near the recently expanded Yosemite Village Parking Area, newly constructed restrooms and the popular Village Store. Inside, park visitors will be able to speak directly with NPS rangers and Yosemite Conservancy volunteers to learn about safety and stewardship while also gathering info to plan their stay. Outside, a 20,000-square-foot plaza will provide ample seating, restrooms, interpretive materials and maps that will be available 24 hours a day.

This project will replace the current Valley Visitor Center which opened in 1967 and is a half-mile walk from the nearest parking.


Glacier Point Road

After a full year of being closed to vehicle traffic for road rehabilitation and improvements, the popular Glacier Point Road will reopen with some traffic controls and delays in summer of 2023 as work continues. The advancement of the project means that visitors will be able to reach popular viewpoints such as Glacier Point, Washburn Point and McGurk Meadow as well as popular trailheads such as Taft Point, Sentinel Dome and Panorama Trail from Glacier Point down to the Valley Floor.

Glacier Point Road’s open date is determined based on when snow is cleared from the road beyond Badger Pass Ski Area. This usually happens around May or June each year.

Note: Glacier Point Road will be open this winter to provide access to Badger Pass Ski Area, which is set to open this winter.


Bridalveil Fall

The popular trail to Bridalveil Fall, its parking area and its significantly larger and handicap-accessible viewing area will reopen in June 2023 after a multi-year closure.

The Bridalveil Fall Rehabilitation project’s completion will foster in a fully recreated arrival experience which will improve visitor services, protect natural and cultural resources and provide new facilities, such as flush sanitary bathrooms, for visitors.  Improved interpretation and wayfinding materials and improved accessibility for disabled visitors will also be features of the completed project.

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