Travel Suggestions

Top Accessible Activities in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is an incredible opportunity for people of all abilities to enjoy the magnificence and beauty of nature. There are many trails in Yosemite Park that are accessible to wheelchairs as well as unique scenic drives and opportunities to take your wheelchair-accessible rental van through various areas of the park. Yosemite also offers a wide variety of events and activities to attend throughout the year. Whatever you choose to experience, remember that spring and summer are ideal times to explore this vast park with a loved one.

Accessible Trails in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Valley Floor Trail

The Yosemite Valley Floor Trail is a great place for any visitor to start their journey. Most of the paved trail is flat for the first several miles. There are two trails you can take through the Yosemite Valley Floor. The trail on the right side is indicated as accessible. The trail on the left is not indicated as accessible, but can still be an option since it’s mostly flat until one short section just before the falls that has a 14% grade incline.

yosemite national park accessibility

Happy Isles

Accessible parking and restrooms can be found at the nature center in the Happy Isles area of the park. The Yosemite Nature Center hosts great exhibits geared toward children, which is perfect if you’re traveling with younger explorers. While you’re by the nature center, you can cross the bridge off to the right to see one-of-a-kind views of the Merced River.

Some areas of the path past the bridges may be difficult to traverse and may not be recommended for wheelchair users. However, Happy Isles has a paved nature trail that stretches quite a few miles. This is a wheelchair-friendly trail, but with an accessible parking permit placard, you will also be allowed to take your accessible van up the trail. Just make sure to abide by the rules by driving with your flashers on and keeping your speed under 15 mph. This road is closed to any public traffic, so it should provide a relaxing ride. 

Happy Isles - yosemite national park accessibility

Wawona Tunnel Overlook

If hiking isn’t your thing, there are plenty of outlooks accompanied by handicapped parking in Yosemite. The Wawona Tunnel Overlook has a paved viewing platform to give you the chance to see Yosemite from an exceptional height. Make sure to take your camera!

Wawona Tunnel Overlook

Glacier Point

The road to Glacier Point will give you the chance to experience the park from the comfort of your car. Renting a wheelchair-accessible van is a great way to experience this scenic drive. The drive to the point will take around 45 minutes. However, the road winds through the forest and past many cliffs, so we recommend letting an experienced driver take the wheel.

The effort pays off though, as there are two other outlooks on the way up to the point. From here you can take in the sights of the Wawona Tunnel View Vista and the Washburn Point Outlook. At the entrance of Glacier Point, you will find accessible parking and bathrooms. You will have the option of two paved hiking trails; one to the right, which has more incline, and one to the left, which is a little more gradual.

Glacier Point - yosemite national park accessibility

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Wheelchair Accessible Guided Bus and Tram Tours in Yosemite National Park

Since Yosemite National Park is such a large parcel of land, they provide alternatives to the traditional trails. You can learn more about the park by riding an enclosed bus (during the winter) or an open-air tram (during the summer), both of which are wheelchair accessible and offer guided narration. These tours are available for a fee and can take you from Yosemite Valley to Glacier Point, from Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows, or lead you on the Grand Tour, which takes you through the Valley, Glacier Point, and Mariposa Grove. Reservations can be made on the Yosemite National Park website.

Wheelchair Accessible Guided Bus and Tram Tours in Yosemite National Park

Wheelchair Accessible Activities and Events in Yosemite National Park

Depending on when you’re planning your trip, you may have the opportunity to see theatrical productions like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet at the Curry Village Amphitheater. There also may be festivals planned during your visit, like the annual Earth Day Festival held just outside of the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center. This festival presents a chance to celebrate the earth with art and an assortment of educational offerings and activities.

If you are artistically inclined, you can take an art class at the Happy Isles Art and Nature Center where you can try your hand with a variety of art mediums, such as mosaics, colored pencils, and watercolors. If you prefer to observe art, visit the Ansel Adams Gallery, which is open daily from 10 am to 3 pm to see handcrafted items and photography collections.

Finally, Yosemite releases a guide about every month that announces what events and activities are planned for the coming weeks.  

Wheelchair Accessible Activities and Events in Yosemite National Park

Wheelchair Accessible Lodging in Yosemite National Park

Since Yosemite is vast and there are many experiences to be had, you may want to plan for your visit to span at least a few days. A multitude of ADA lodging facilities are available inside the park for the duration of your stay. The Ahwahnee, Yosemite Valley Lodge, Curry Village, Housekeeping Camp, White Wolf Lodge, and Tuolumne Meadows Lodge all have accessible accommodations. Just make sure you reserve your ADA room in advance and contact the lodge if you have any additional requests or concerns.

Wheelchair Accessible Lodging in Yosemite National Park

Accessible Dining in Yosemite National Park

An extensive variety of dining locations within Yosemite are sure to satisfy different tastes and budget needs. You can choose from fast, casual, or fine dining for your breakfast, lunch, and dinner experiences. Many of the restaurants strive to provide locally sourced and organic ingredients, so you know you’re getting quality food. Outdoor seating is often available during the summer months for most of the restaurants on Yosemite’s list.

Accessible Dining in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park has a lot more to offer than just hiking, and renting a wheelchair van is a great way to make sure you get the most out of your adventure to Yosemite. Try some new food, meet new people, and see incredible sights—all while traveling comfortably in a van from one of our 200+ locations. Find the closest Wheelchair Getaways location to you to start planning your next wheelchair-accessible national parks trip!


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