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Happy 4th of July – What you need to know this holiday weekend

| June 29, 2010

Celebrating Freedom by Tim Hamilton

Fourth of July is by far my favorite holiday. Good food, family and lots of fireworks. There’s a few things you need to know before heading to the park this holiday weekend.

  1. Book early. Hotel rooms and campgrounds for the 4th of July holiday book up months in advance. If you’re going to try to get a spot this weekend in the park you’re going to be in for a lot of disappointment. Maybe try one of the many National Forest Campgrounds outside the park.
  2. No fireworks. Because July is one of the most dangerous months for fire in the Sierra fireworks aren’t allowed in Yosemite or the surrounding communities.
  3. Drink lots of water. The 4th of July holiday is usually hot. Drink a lot of water before and while you hike. If you’re not peeing frequently you’re not drinking enough.
  4. Sunblock. It’s a must. Don’t ruin your weekend having to hide inside your tent or RV because you’re so sunburned it hurts to go outside.
  5. Use caution around rivers and streams. Yeah, it’s hot. It’s 90 degrees outside but the rivers are a chilly 42 degrees. What’s that mean? Hypothermia. Hypothermia can strike in a few minutes for adults and seconds for kids. Read our page on hypothermia. It just might save your life.
  6. Only have a campfire at night. July 4th is notoriously crowded in Yosemite and the air can get bad very quickly because of all the cars and campfires. Plan on making your campfire only at night. During the day high pressure can trap the smoke in the Valley adding to the smog. Only make a campfire at night when nighttime breezes will help blow the smoke from campfires out of the Valley.
  7. Hike early when it’s cooler. Common sense here people. You don’t want Search and Rescue to have to pull you off a trail because you’re overheated and have heat stroke.
  8. Give bears a chance, drive the speed limit.
  9. Watch your food. Make sure it’s put away. Bears are a serious problem and you will be cited for not properly storing your food.
  10. Don’t drink and drive. Mountain roads are not place to meet a drunk driver or be one. More people are killed in Yosemite each year in automobile accidents. Don’t be a statistic.

Photo by Tim Hamilton.


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Category: Camping, Tips, Travel


About Loyd: For over 30 years I've enjoyed hiking, backpacking, fishing, photographing and exploring Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada. More About the Author. View author profile.

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