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Insider’s Guide: Yosemite National Park

With these top day, weekend, and week-long hikes, you'll see more than your fair share of Yosemite's wonders.
Yosemite Half DomeYosemite's Half Dome (Kelly Bastone)

Pete Devine commutes to work in Yosemite Village every day. His advice for avoiding Valley traffic:

Shop beforehand "The Village Store is one of those places where people circle around endlessly, looking for a parking spot," says Devine. Stock up on food, batteries, and everything else you’ll need before entering the park to avoid bottlenecks near Valley cash registers.

Ride a bike Take your cue from park residents and employees, who generally ride bikes rather than drive cars or take shuttles: Biking is faster and more direct than buses, and abundant bike racks make parking easy. Bring your own rig, or rent at Curry Village (209-372-8319) or Yosemite Lodge (209-372-1208), and don’t forget to lock it up.

Go midweek Spring through fall, weekdays see relatively few park visitors, so traffic is light on Valley roads and trails.

Book campsites ahead of time "Try to reserve something for your first night in the park," advises Devine. Campgrounds and lodges fill quickly, and without an advance booking, you’re likely to waste hours circling the Valley, looking for last-minute openings. Campgrounds just outside the Valley (on Glacier Point Road and Tioga Road) have spots even in the high season.

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