Yosemite Cars & Traffic – Editorial Photo Gallery

There’s nothing like a drive to visit one of the most beautiful national parks in the world. However, as the summer begins to progress, having a car in the Yosemite actually starts to become a liability. The crowded roads begin to clog up, and the valley can essentially turn into a giant parking lot. Here is my editorial album of Yosemite cars & traffic photos.

Vehicles parked at Valley View Yosemite, with Bridalveil Fall view
Vehicles parked at Bridalveil Fall view

The image above was captured at Valley View Yosemite in spring, before the waiting cars pile up. Parking can take quite some time during the summer.

Cars Parked on the Roadside, with Waterfall View - Yosemite cars & traffic
Cars on the Roadside, with Yosemite Falls View

Also shot in spring (May), the roads are still quite clear. The green meadows and heavy flowing waterfalls at this time are a joy to witness.

Yosemite falls scene with cars parked below - May
Spots filling up quickly

These parking spots on the sides of Northside Drive tend to fill up quickly in the summertime. Mostly because of the lower Yosemite Falls trailhead, which is located close by.

Line of Recreational Vehicles parked roadside on Northside Drive
A Line of Weekend Warriors

Here are a group of RVs parked on the roadside near an El Capitan viewpoint. If you’re going to drive a large vehicle like this in the summer, I recommend bringing bicycles with you. That way you can park in the first available spot, and avoid traffic jams while you bike around. Biking really is the best way to experience much of the valley with limited time.

Yellow utility truck covered in thick winter snow
Utility truck covered in thick snow

Here is a forest service truck that I came across on Highway 41 near Glacier Point Road. While the road passing by here was still open, it’s easy to see why higher elevation routes close each winter.

Tioga Road – Yosemite Cars & Traffic

I notice a lot of foreign tourists like to rent convertible Mustangs and take joy rides through the park. This bright orange sports car was spotted at Olmsted Point.

Orange mustang Convertible at Olmsted Point - Yosemite cars & traffic

Further east, I came across a line of cars parked at lush Tuolumne Meadows. For the record, Tioga Road is a much, much better way to experience Yosemite’s natural beauty during summertime.

Cars parked in lot at Tuolumne Meadows, Tioga Road
Less crowded (but very scenic) Tioga Rd

Of course, you miss the famous icons the valley has to offer, but the high country has its own unique appeal. Avoiding backed up traffic and waiting in lines is certainly nice, too.

Tioga Entrance (SR120) with backed up car traffic - Yosemite cars & traffic

Speaking of which, here is a shot of vehicles waiting to enter the park at Tioga’s east gate. I made the mistake of trying to visit Yosemite on July 1st weekend, right when they opened Tioga Pass. At 10AM on a Saturday, I waited in line for an hour – and I still hadn’t even made it to the entrance.

Something to keep in mind if you’re planning on making a car trip this summer. For some related photos, check out my Yosemite Road Trip album, and the main editorial gallery. That one features an overview of my “newsworthy” park photography.

Looking for lodging? Check out my Yosemite Hotels page.

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About My Photos

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– Nathan Allen

About Me

Photographer Nathan Allen

I’m Nathan Allen, photographer / creator of YosemiteParkPhotos.com (Yosemite Photos) and international travel site I Dreamed Of This. In truth, I lived in San Francisco, New York, & Singapore…but nothing compares to life in the mountains. I share my experiences HERE.