If you’ve ever been you know the Horsetail Fall event, commonly known as the firefall, is one of the most overhyped, overcrowded, overly annoying, events ever to take place in a national park. Traffic congestion, lack of parking, too many people crammed into small areas trampling natural beauty in the hopes of getting the best shot. It’s horrible!
In an effort to make the situation a little better for everyone the National Park Service has started a new pilot program designed to help alleviate the traffic and overcrowding headaches caused by the flood of visitors for the Horsetail Fall event.
During the event, Yosemite National Park is creating an event zone inside Yosemite Valley, from the Yosemite Valley Lodge to El Capitan Crossover. Visitors will be able to enter the event zone and view Horsetail Fall by walking from El Capitan Meadow or the Yosemite Falls Parking Area, taking a naturalist-guided tour, or picking up a permit to park inside the event zone. Within the event zone, the right-hand lane of the road will be converted to event parking for 300 vehicles. To park within the event zone, free parking permits will be required. 250 free permits will be available through online reservations and 50 permits will be issued on a first come, first served basis each day.
Free parking reservations for each day of the event will be available online, beginning on Saturday February 3, 2018 at 9:00 am PST. To book a parking reservation, visit https://2018horsetailfall.eventbrite.com/. 250 parking reservations (a parking reservation is good for a carload of passengers) will be available for each day of the event through EventBrite. 50 first come, first served permits will be available each day from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at The Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Village.
All online reservation holders will need to bring a printed copy of their reservation confirmation in person to The Ansel Adams Gallery between 9:00 am to 3:00 pm to pick up their vehicle Parking Permit for the event on the day of the reservation. Any permits not picked up by 3:00 pm will be forfeited.
Important Tips for Planning Your Visit to the Horsetail Fall Event:
- Visitors interested in walking to the event site are encouraged to park in the Yosemite Falls Day Parking Area, park at El Capitan Meadow, or ride the free park shuttle to Shuttle Stop #7 and walk into the event site approximately 1.2 miles one way.
- Yosemite Hospitality, Inc., the park’s primary concessioner, will be offering naturalist-guided tours each day for a fee to the Horsetail Fall Event. To learn more please visit https://www.travelyosemite.com/.
- To reduce traffic congestion in the event zone and to ensure easy visitor access to Yosemite Valley, the park will convert Southside Drive to two-way traffic from El Capitan Crossover to Sentinel Bridge. No roadside parking will be permitted while two-way traffic is in place for the safety of both pedestrians and motorists.
- On Northside Drive, the left-hand traffic lane in the event zone will remain open as an exit route for YARTS buses, commercial buses, and other vehicles exceeding 25’ in length.
- Visitors who plan to get to Yosemite Valley using the Yosemite Area Regional Transit System (YARTS) should review the YARTS schedule at www.yarts.com to make sure that you do not miss the last bus of the day. The closest YARTS stop to the event is located at Yosemite Valley Lodge. YARTS buses will not be picking up visitors in the event zone.