I'm planning an RV trip from San Diego and we have RV Site reservations on the western Sierra, near Oakhurst.

There are many attractions we'd like to see on the Eastern side of the Sierra Nevada, so I'm considering taking an extra day and going "the long way" up Highway 395, instead of straight-shooting through Bakersfield and Fresno.

The website says that even entering Yosemite for day-use requires a reservation (we are in June 2020, "phased reopening" stage of the coronavirus pandemic).

My point of confusion is this: Does traveling through the Tioga Pass along Highway 120, and then south on Highway 41, require actually entering and traversing Yosemite National Park, and hence requiring a reservation that I don't have and is very hard to get? Or can we just stay on the public highway and never enter the park?

  • @DavidSupportsMonica: The answer is actually explicit on that page, see "I am just driving through the park and not planning to recreate. Do I need a day-use reservation?" The answer is yes. Would you like to post it? – Nate Eldredge Jun 21 at 1:30
  • @NateEldredge Thanks! That's embarassing that I didn't read far enough down the page to find it. I'll be happy (if abashed) to post it. – DavidSupportsMonica Jun 21 at 1:32
  • Hey, you were 99% of the way there :-) Incidentally, it's an interesting factoid that CA 120 has a gap and Tioga Road isn't officially part of it. I've traveled that route several times and never knew that. – Nate Eldredge Jun 21 at 1:35
  • @NateEldredge I saw that too, and also never noticed it and I've been going back and forth fairly regularly since the early 70s, when my family owned a vacation home in the Eastern Sierra. Tioga Road may not be a state highway in the classic sense — the CHP doesn't patrol and the State doesn't maintain it — but it's certainly listed as CA120 on every map I've ever seen, including those published by the state. – DavidSupportsMonica Jun 21 at 1:38

Yes, you will need a day-use reservation to drive through the Park.

The NPS's Yosemite page contains this FAQ:

I am just driving through the park and not planning to recreate. Do I need a day-use reservation? How can you limit access to a state highway?

Yes, you still need a day-use reservation. Tioga Road, which connects with Highway 120 at the park boundaries near Big Oak Flat and Tioga Pass, is not and has never been a state highway. Originally a private mining road, private citizens purchased the road and donated it to the National Park Service, which has improved and maintained the road ever since. The National Park Service is solely responsible for providing road maintenance, as well as law enforcement and emergency services, along all roads within Yosemite National Park.

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