Yosemite National Park
Your visit to Yosemite National Park will provide you with life long memories and the desire to return year after year. There is never the perfect time to visit Yosemite, every month mother nature offers renewing and exciting wonders. Our National Parks Service has done a fantastic job throughout the park opening accessibility to those of us with physical challenges. In entering Yosemite ask the Park Ranger for a copy of the Yosemite Accessibility Guide, or you can download it through this link. This guide will give you information to the parks accessibility, parking, camping and lodging. If you haven’t applied and received your National Parks Access Pass you need to do so. Not only will it save you the park admission fee of $25.00, it will also provide you discounts on camping. Your Access Pass is good for life and will get you into all of our National Parks without paying the entrance fee. In this reading my intention is to provide you with a greater detail of information as to where you and your wheelchair or scooter can go and what you can experience.
Whether you enter Yosemite from the North across Hwy 120, or, the West across Hwy 140 along El Portal Road, or, from the South up Wawona Road via Hwy 41 once you reach the valley you will find yourself on Southside Drive and looping around the valley floor onto Northside Drive. The best map of Yosemite National Park is on the nps.gov site, you can also download it or just print it for your use. This is the same map that is included in the brochure you receive when entering the park. If you will be entering the park from El Portal Road you will cross Pohono Bridge and begin following the Merced River to your left. If you want to make your first stop Tunnel View Vista you will need to turn to the right at hwy. 41 towards Fresno, it’s a short drive up hill, you can’t miss it. Our National Park Services did a wonderful job ensuring unlimited accessibility from the parking lot to the vista viewing area making the experience equal for all.
As you drive back down the mountain towards the valley your next stop is Bridalveil Fall. Depending on the time of year you are visiting and the snow fall in the eastern sierras, Bridalveil Fall may or may not be flowing much water. You will find the parking area mostly dirt with a couple of ADA parking spaces in the front of the parking area near the restrooms. They are not well marked and everybody seems to just park where they want. I will rate the path up to the falls as moderate to difficult. Most of the path is a moderate slope, easy for manual and electric wheelchairs and scooters, even those with plastic wheels. The last part of the path however is quite steep and can be slippery if the falls are flowing strong. This part of the path will be challenging for manual wheelchair users without assistance, especially going back down. It is worth the effort to reach the top as you will find yourself at the base of the falls, that’s right, you are at the base of the falls. If the falls are full expect to get wet, a plastic bag for your camera is advised. Also from the parking area there is a nice pathway that is easily traveled that follows along Southside Drive which goes all the way to the Chapel. When we took this path during our latest visit we could only go about a half of a mile before we ran into in-passable obsticals.