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No Reservations For Yosemite’s Horsetail Fall, But Possibly In Summer

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Yosemite, CA – The illusion of fire cascading over Horsetail Fall at sunset is quite a sight and no reservations will be needed for that event this month, but that could change for visitors come summer.

While the coronavirus and current surge from the Omicron variant remains a concern, it is not the driving factor in the park possibly reinstating reservations this summer, major construction is. As earlier reported here, Glacier Point Road will be closed all this year due to repairs and there are six other scheduled construction closures at various times. These include Tioga Road, Tuolumne Meadows and Crane Flat, and Bridalveil campgrounds, rehabilitation projects at Bridalveil Fall and the Mariposa Grove along with the building of a new Welcome Center. The majority of the funding, billions for repairs and upgrades, is coming from the federal Great American Outdoors Act passed in 2020. Park officials are trying to determine with all that congestion whether to limit visitors in order to provide for the public’s safety and protection of park resources.

“We are trying to be flexible. We’re looking at all the factors of traffic patterns, the Merced River Plan, the impacts of the closures. So, how we manage that visitation is yet to be determined, but we’re doing a lot of planning,” relayed park spokesperson Ranger Scott Gediman.

Horsetail Fall Restrictions map provided by Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park map

One upcoming event that will not need reservations is the popular Horsetail Fall that attracts people from around the world. This year it is tentatively slated to begin next week on Thursday (Feb. 10) and last through the end of the month, click here for more details. With the use of designated parking lots, Gediman details, “We feel really good about the way it has worked the past several years. It’s provided for safety. It’s protected the park resources, the river, and we’ve been able to accommodate hundreds and some nights literally thousands of people.”

The day-use reservations were first implemented in the summer of 2020 due to COVID cutting the number of visitors by about half and ending in the fall. The restrictions were put in place again in February of last year and then off and on throughout the year ending in September, as detailed here. Gediman noted the reservation system received some good and bad feedback from visitors and both are helping to shape this latest plan.

“We’re looking at what worked well and what didn’t and we’re consulting with local officials and people out in the community. We’re trying to find the best system. We can’t say whether it will be different or the same. We’re coming up with different scenarios. Something will be announced soon on how we are going to manage visitation in 2022.”