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Are you thinking about visiting Yosemite National Park in September? You’re in luck! September is an ideal time to explore the park. In September, Yosemite combines the vast array of activities available during the summer months with comfortable cooler temperatures – perfect for hiking and other outdoor activities.

But what can you really expect?

Keep reading for a deep dive into everything that Yosemite has to offer, and what to expect.

Weather in September

Family taking a horse-drawn stagecoach ride at the Yosemite HIstory Center

It’s easy to imagine early Yosemite park visitors bumping down dirt roads on the way to visiting Yosemite after taking a horse-drawn stagecoach ride at the Yosemite History Center.

Choose Your Own Temperatures

There isn’t just one answer to what to expect for temperatures in September in Yosemite.

Because Yosemite spans sun-soaked foothill climates at 1,800 feet (549 m) to craggy alpine summits at 13,114 feet (3,997 m), you can find a range of temperatures in the park on any given day. This allows you to choose your own temperatures by choosing activities at lower or higher elevations.

If you’re exploring Yosemite Valley or Wawona, you’ll be at around 4000 feet (1,220 m). The average high temperature for September in Yosemite Valley or Wawona is 83℉ (28℃) and the lows are 51℉ (11℃) on average.

However, if there’s a heat wave during your visit, or you prefer cooler temps, consider visiting Tuolumne Meadows. At 8,600 ft (2,622 m), the high temps average a very comfortable 65℉ (18℃) while evenings drop to a brisk 32℉ (0℃).

Looking for something in between? Try hikes along Glacier Point Road that are around 7000 ft (2,134 m)

Precipitation in September

September is still comfortably within Yosemite’s “dry season”. However, we will occasionally see some afternoon thunderstorms that tend to build over the high country in Tuolumne and can spill down into the lower elevations as well.

Because September tends to be dry, there is also a possibility of smoke and fire throughout California between late June and the beginning of the wet season – usually in mid- or late-October. It’s a price we pay for so much glorious sunshine.

What to Pack to Wear in Yosemite in September

Fall view of Half Dome in Yosemite Valley

You may have noticed that Yosemite’s temperatures fluctuate a lot between day and night. Plus, since you’ll probably want to explore several different areas within Yosemite National Park, it’s important to arrive with a variety of layers of clothing.

This layering strategy allows you to start with a puffy jacket in the morning. Pull off that jacket and enjoy long sleeves as the day starts to warm up, and then shed even that layer to be comfortable in short sleeves for mid-day.

We recommend carrying a light rain jacket too. It can double as a wind-breaker, and adds a lot of warmth for the amount of space it takes in your pack. Plus, if you are treated to an afternoon thunderstorm, you’ll be glad you have it with you.

Similarly, you might want to trade a warm wool beanie for early morning outings for a sun hat later in the day.

Hiking or trail running shoes with good traction are ideal for walking Yosemite’s sometimes-polished granite.

September is often still warm enough to enjoy a refreshing swim in one of Yosemite’s rivers or lakes. If that sounds like the perfect end to a day of hiking and exploration, be sure to grab a suit and towel too.

How Busy is Yosemite in September?

By September, Yosemite National Park feels calmer, especially mid-week. Schools are back in session, so there are fewer families traveling. There are still plenty of people visiting, but it’s like the park has taken a nice deep breath.

Weekends are busier than weekdays. If you have flexibility in your travel plans, be sure to take advantage of quieter mid-week days in Yosemite.

Yosemite National Park Service has started a text messaging service with information about when parking fills in various parts of the park. We’d recommend signing up for that a few weeks before you plan to visit so you can get an idea of what areas fill (and which do not) and at what times. That will give you a rough sense of when you should plan to arrive in different locations.

Sign up for current traffic conditions by texting YNPTRAFFIC to 333111.

Where to Stay in Yosemite in September

Cabins at the Redwoods In Yosemite

Escape to a cabin in Yosemite. You’ll find a great selection (and deals) at The Redwoods In Yosemite.

While Yosemite’s visitation is past-peak in September, we still recommend booking your lodging reservations early to get the best selection. Yosemite Valley lodging in particular can fill far in advance.

Check out booking a vacation rental cabin in Wawona instead. The Redwoods In Yosemite has the largest collection of cabins inside the park and plenty of filters that make finding the perfect place, and don’t forget to check out the special offers to get the best deal.

Best Hikes in Yosemite in September

September is a hiker’s paradise in Yosemite. The high country trails are open with many options for walking to an alpine lake or past soaring cliffs. Water flow has receded as the high-country snow melted away, so the waterfalls will be smaller (or gone) but you will be more likely to keep your feet dry by crossing on stones over small creeks rather than having to wade.

Mist Trail/John Muir Trail

Vernal Falls and The Mist TrailYosemite Valley lies at the heart of the national park, and there are many trail options ranging from short wheelchair and stroller-friendly walks through Cooks Meadow, to the steep trails that climb up from Yosemite Valley floor that provide birds-eye views.

However, with two big waterfalls that run year-round, the Mist Trail is the best, most popular, and most-scenic hike any time of year, and particularly in September. The trail is steep, but there are so many jaw-dropping destinations along the way it’s easy to customize to the hiking ability of your group. Whether you turn around at the Vernal Fall footbridge after getting that view of Vernal Fall (1.6 miles/2.6 km round-trip), the top of Vernal Fall (2.4 mi/3.9 km round trip) or make it all the way to the top of Nevada Fall (5.4 mi/ 8.7 km round trip), you’ll be in for a real treat.

Take the free shuttle in Yosemite Valley to Happy Isles (Shuttle Stop #16) or walk the extra 1.5 miles round trip from Curry Village.

Taft Point / Sentinel Dome

The trailhead for these two destinations starts at the same spot along Glacier Point Road. You can either do them one at a time or combine them into a longer loop with stunning views looking down into Yosemite Valley.

Taft Point is known for its striking fissures and the dizzying view from the guard rail down into the valley. Sentinel Dome provides an impressive 360 view of Yosemite’s high country as well as looking across at Half Dome and down into Yosemite Valley.

As separate hikes, each destination is 2.2 miles/ 3.5 km round trip with mostly rolling terrain – although the final climb to the top of Sentinel Dome is quite steep – take your time and enjoy the scenery.

As a loop, expect about 5 miles/ 8 km. The section of trail connecting the two destinations follows the valley rim and is a less-traveled treat.

As long as you’re driving out along Glacier Point Road, don’t forget to stop at Glacier Point too. It’s a particularly good destination for sunset.

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias – Grizzly Giant Loop

The Mariposa Grove is the largest of the three giant sequoia groves in Yosemite National Park and is located close to Wawona and the South Entrance Gate. A stroll among these ancient giants is always worth the time, especially if you haven’t had the chance to see a giant sequoia before.

In September, most people will park near the South Entrance and take the free shuttle bus to the Arrival Area at the Lower Grove, though you can also walk the Washburn Trail (2 miles/3.2 km) if you want to stretch your legs.

From there, the most popular hike is the Grizzly Giant Loop (2.0 mi/ 3.2 km round trip) which takes you past the Fallen Monarch, Bachelor and Three Graces, and up to the Grizzly Giant (one of the largest trees in the grove). Just past the Grizzly Giant, you can walk through a living sequoia, the California Tunnel Tree.

However, you could also simply follow the wheelchair-friendly boardwalks around the Big Trees Loop (0.3 mi/0.4 km) for a shorter walk. For more time among the giants, hike the Mariposa Grove Trail plus Guardians Loop (7 mi/ 11.3 km round trip) to take in the (quieter) Upper Grove trees as well.

Cathedral Lakes Trail

Like Yosemite Valley, it’s hard to choose just one best hike in the Tuolumne region, but the Cathedral Lakes Trail is certainly a strong candidate. On this trail, you combine the serene beauty of Lower Cathedral Lake with the striking summits of Cathedral, Echo, and Tressider Peaks rising all around. The round-trip is 7-8 mi (11.2-12.8 km) depending on whether you want to see Lower Cathedral Lake, Upper Cathedral Lake, or both of them.

What to Do in Yosemite in September

Yosemite’s hiking is spectacular, but September offers much more than just hiking. If you’re ready to give your legs a break check out some of these other options.

Come join us for the biggest Yosemite Clean Up event of the year with Yosemite Facelift!

All participants should register and you can do so here: https://www.yosemiteclimbing.org/yosemitefacelift2023

There are great prizes (including a chance to win a two night stay at The Redwoods), fun activities, and above all, one great goal of collecting as much trash as we possibly can! Event begins September 20, 2023 through September 24, 2023.  Please register before September 11, 2023!!!! 

Horseback Riding

Swing into the saddle for a horseback riding experience. Ride a Quarter Horse with family-owned and operated Yosemite Trails, or take a 2-hour ride along the Wawona Meadow Loop at the Wawona Stables.

Museums and the Yosemite History Center

Wawona’s Yosemite History Center takes you back in time to the era of horse-drawn wagons. A collection of historically significant buildings from around the park sheds light into a part of Yosemite’s history.

Stop by the Wawona Visitor Center at Hill’s Studio to see an exhibit of paintings by Yosemite artist Thomas Hill, and chat with friendly rangers there.

Biking

Mountain bike in the snow

There are many options for biking in the Yosemite area. Photo: Yuli Gotsev

Biking is a fun way to see Yosemite Valley. Plus, mountain bikers will love the nearby trails in the Sierra National Forest.

Fishing

Cast a line into one of Yosemite’s creeks, rivers or lakes. The region around Wawona is known for brookies, browns, and rainbows. The guides at Yosemite Sierra Fly Fisher have all the details.

Ride a Historic Steam Train

Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad

Take a ride on a historic steam train at Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad!

Get a chance to climb aboard an authentic steam train at Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad. They have 1-hour tours during the day or spend a magical 3-hour evening that includes dinner, a train ride, and live music around the campfire.

Junior Ranger / Ranger Programs

Learn more about what you’re seeing in Yosemite from one of the park rangers. The Junior Ranger program is appropriate for children and appreciated by people of all ages as a way to experience the park more deeply. See the Yosemite Guide to learn what programs are happening during your stay.

Sightseeing / Wildlife Viewing in Yosemite

So much of Yosemite’s beauty can be appreciated from roadside stops. Take a scenic tour up toward Glacier Point or out along Tioga Road as well as through Yosemite Valley.

Be sure to keep your speed down and your eyes open for some of Yosemite’s magnificent wildlife as you go. If you’re lucky, you may see one of Yosemite’s black bears (they can be brown or even blonde), mule deer, bobcats, coyotes, and so many more.

Photography

It may be hard to take a bad picture in this amazing place, but if you’re interested in coming away with the best photos possible, also consider joining The Ansel Adams Gallery for one of their photography walks.

Fall foliage in Yosemite Valley and Wawona usually peaks in mid-October, but keep your eyes open for small pops of color starting in September.

Rock Climbing

Go Climb a Rock. Yosemite is world-famous for amazing rock climbing. You’ll love the unique experiences and views from high atop Yosemite’s cliffs. Yosemite Mountaineering School offers beginner classes all the way up to multi-day ascents of El Capitan, and the Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides can introduce you to climbing just south of the park.

Swimming

Friends enjoying the river on innertubes near Wawona

There is a splashing good time to be had on the rivers in Wawona.

The days are still warm enough in September to enjoy a refreshing swim in Yosemite’s rivers or lakes. Wawona is particularly known for its delightful swimming holes. You might also enjoy swimming in the Merced River in Yosemite Valley or the sandy beach at Tenaya Lake along Tioga Road.

Go Stargazing

There’s nothing quite like finding a quiet spot away from the bright lights of the city to appreciate the beauty of the night sky. In September, you might even see a shooting star. The September Epsilon Perseids (not to be confused with the August Perseids from the Swift-Tuttle comet) add an extra spark of celestial excitement to the experience.

More Things to Do in Yosemite

This is a long list, but there are even more things to do in Yosemite. It’s truly a destination with something for everyone.

See You in Yosemite in September!

It’s easy to see that September in Yosemite is an idyllic time to explore the park in more ways than one. We hope to see you soon!

When you visit Yosemite in August, you find the park at its peak season. Everything is open so you’ll find the biggest selection for shopping, dining, and activities. Families are enjoying the last bit of summer travel time before school starts again with plenty of hiking options as well as refreshing trips to local swimming holes.

Pro tip: If you can, take advantage of the lull in late August. Because schools start earlier than they used to, kids often end up back in school by the middle of the month. Meanwhile, those without children often wait until after Labor Day to plan their fall trips, leaving a quiet period at the end of August when you can enjoy summer conditions with fewer people around. In fact, starting in mid-August you will also often find better discounts on Yosemite lodging.

August Weather in Yosemite

Kid on an intertube in the river

Wawona is well-known for its refreshing, and not too crowded swimming holes.

In Yosemite, August is the warmest and sunniest month of the year. High temperatures in Wawona or Yosemite Valley are often around 89°F (32°C), but mornings and evenings are cooler, averaging a delightful 57°F (14°C), perfect for hiking or other active pursuits. And when the sun is at its highest, delightful swimming holes with refreshingly cool waters invite wading, swimming, or floating.

Another popular option is to travel to higher elevations in the summer for hiking or exploration. For example, at 8,000 feet (2,622 m), in Tuolumne Meadows, the average high temperature is only 70°F (21°C). Just be sure you bring some warm layers if you want to visit the high country early or stay late because evening temperatures average just 37°F (3°C).

The month of August also has the lowest precipitation of any month, with only 0.2 inches (4 mm) of rain on average, making beautiful cloudless blue skies the August norm. The downside of California’s warm and dry August weather is the possibility for wildfire. Fire is a natural and essential part of this region’s ecosystem, but it can lead to smoky conditions if there are large fires in the area.

What Clothes to Pack for Yosemite in August

With such a big temperature range, it can be hard to decide what to pack without bringing the entire closet. The first step is to figure out where you plan to spend the most time, and then bring a variety of layers that can be added or shed depending on the day’s conditions. For example, wearing a tank top plus sun shirt plus sweater plus a puffy jacket can provide plenty of warmth for cool mornings at altitude, and you can slowly shed those layers as the day warms up. If you plan to sleep in, explore Wawona or Yosemite Valley, and then retire to your cabin for a relaxing dinner, you won’t need as many warm layers. But if you’re planning to stay up until late for astrophotography or a stargazing program, you’ll be grateful for some extra clothes.

Because the sun is so powerful in the Sierra Nevada, many people find that clothing that provides shade can be as cool or cooler than a t-shirt or tank top. Consider a wide-brimmed sun hat or a lightweight, light-colored, long sleeve sun shirt to stay cool and protect yourself from the sun’s powerful UV rays.

And don’t forget a swimming suit to take the plunge at one of Wawona’s popular swim spots.

Things to Do in Yosemite in August

You won’t lack things to do in Yosemite in August. This is the height of the summer season, so whether you’re planning to hike through the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, enjoy a horseback riding trip with Yosemite Trails, or gaze up at the starry skies with a park naturalist, you’ll find plenty of memorable activities for your visit. Here are a few highlighted suggestions to make the most of your August visit.

Hiking in August

Grandfather and boy admire Giant Sequoias together

A stroll through the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias is an absolute must for your Yosemite Visit. Photo: Nancy Robbins

With warmer temperatures, it’s time to think about high-elevation and shadier hikes. In Yosemite Valley, trails that face north, like the Four Mile Trail, will tend to be cooler than the Upper Yosemite Fall trail which faces south and can become a giant solar oven – amazing in January, but less welcome in August. The water in Yosemite Fall is usually minimal by this time of year anyway. The Mist Trail is a good selection because it’s in a relatively cool canyon, and the waterfalls along this trail flow year-round. The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias tends to have excellent shade from surrounding trees, so that is another good option.

Choosing hikes at higher elevations can also make a big difference in terms of temperature. Hikes along the Glacier Point Road (when it re-opens in 2023) or over in the Tuolumne Meadows area are significantly cooler than those that start at lower elevations.

An alternative strategy for finding cooler hiking conditions is to start hiking early when it is still fairly cool out and then plan more relaxed activities during the warmer part of the day. Spend the middle part of the day with a siesta in your cabin, relaxing by the water, or simply find a shady spot for a picnic. Then you can rally for more hiking as the day cools off again in the evening.

By choosing a local trail, like the one to Wawona’s Swinging Bridge, you can combine some trail time with a refreshing dip in the river.

Stargazing

Easily reached from the Bay Area, Fresno and Los Angeles alike, Yosemite and the surrounding area is the perfect getaway.  A place to distance yourself from the crowds, from the noise, and from the city lights.  Whether you’re hiking solo on a backcountry trail, or parked with the family on a turnout along one of Mariposa County’s many country roads, whether you’re using the naked eye, a pair of trusty binoculars, or that brand new telescope, the night sky seems to go on forever prompting visitors to scan the heavens, take a deep breath of fresh air and announce…wow, I’ve never seen so many stars.

For this month’s meteor showers, one can visit this calendar, and for all other astronomic opportunities, there is a great source of information on Yosemite.com.

In August, it is not uncommon to spot amateur astronomers setting up telescopes at Glacier Point on Saturdays. The Yosemite Conservancy offers a few Stargazing events in Yosemite Valley as well, and we highly recommend them!

Biking

When you’re ready to give your hiking boots a break, consider exploring Yosemite Valley by bicycle. There are two bike rental stands – one at Curry Village and another at Yosemite Valley Lodge – that rent cruiser bikes for commuting around the valley. Pedal Forward bikes in Oakhurst also rents mountain bikes (and bike racks) if you’re more excited about descents and single-track options in the Sierra National Forest.

Ranger-led Programs and Guided Activities

Rangers and other guides offer many opportunities to learn about Yosemite from local experts. There is everything from art classes, to astronomy programs, rock climbing lessons, train rides, horseback riding and so much more.

Consult the Yosemite Guide for more information on ranger-led programs during your stay, and see this list of things to do near Wawona for even more ideas close to the Redwoods In Yosemite cabins.

Connect with Yosemite’s History

The Yosemite History Center, located right in Wawona, offers a tour of significant historic structures in Yosemite. These buildings tell the story of settlers, artists, and laborers that have helped make Yosemite what it is now.

Chat with Yosemite rangers, and peek into the studio of a locally famous 19th-century artist at the Thomas Hill studio. This small building close to Wawona Hotel is now part visitor center and part free museum.

Hop aboard a historic steam train at Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad and then pan for gold, and visit their museum.

The Yosemite Museum in Yosemite Valley is another wonderful history-filled stop. Displays illustrate the cultural history of the Miwok and Paiute people from 1850 until now. Discover what they used to eat, see demonstrations of basket weaving, beadwork, and learn about traditional games. Be sure to wander through a reconstructed village behind the museum to see some of the plants that they used, and the buildings they used to live in.

Staying at the Redwoods In Yosemite in August

When you’re planning your August trip, be sure to consider getting a vacation rental cabin reservation in Wawona with The Redwoods In Yosemite. Wawona’s location inside the park gates makes it easy to explore the park. And the convenient filters on the Redwoods In Yosemite site make it easy to find just the home you’re looking for, plus you’ll save money by booking direct.

Wind the clock back.

Travel back in your mind to a time long before paved roads and the cars that travel them; before the buildings now preserved in the Yosemite History Center were built in the early 1900s; and before Yosemite was designated as a National Park in 1890. Let’s go back to the edges of the times we know about today – to stories of people who lived here for generations, the people whose ancestors lived here when the ancient sequoias we admire today were still saplings.

Imagine a rich landscape, sparkling, clear rivers filled with sweet Sierra water, and beautiful open meadows teeming with wildlife. Does the scene make you want to stop and stay a while? It certainly seemed that way to the people that lived here then.

One name for this place was Pallachun, meaning “a good place to stop.” And it’s still a good place to linger today, to appreciate all of the quiet and beauty nearby, even though we now call it Wawona.

(The new name was given in 1882 after what is believed to be the Mono Indian name for giant sequoias – Wah Who Nau. It is thought to come from the sound of the hoot of the great horned owl that was the guardian spirit for these ancient trees.)

The Earliest Residents

Ta-buce collecting acorns in Yosemite Valley

Ta-buce, or Maggie Howard, collecting acorns in Yosemite Valley. Photo taken in 1936.

Archaeological evidence suggests that people lived in the Yosemite area as long as 8000 years ago. In the old Miwuk stories, people were created by Ah-ha’le (Coyote) to have the best characteristics of the animals, and the cleverness of the coyote himself to gather and use the richness of the plants and animals there. Today, we have evidence that these earliest known residents crushed seeds on flat rocks, and hunted using spears and atlatls.

The most current understanding is that by the late 18th century, most of Yosemite was populated by the Southern Miwok people, with some Central Miwok people in the northern reaches of what is now Yosemite National Park.

However, the history of precisely which tribes and sub-tribes lived in Wawona is complex and hard to define. Currently, seven tribes are recognized as having ties to areas inside Yosemite National Park. These include the Bridgeport Indian Colony, Tuolumne Band of Me-wuk Indians, Mono Lake Kootzaduka’a, Bishop Paiute Tribe, Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians, and the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California, as well as the Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation.

Finding Signs of Early Native Civilization Today

Pounding Rocks

Lucy Brown pounding acorns

Large mortar rocks were used to process foods, like these acorns. When we find these special places, we can imagine people here preparing food for their families.

If you know where to look along the South Fork of the Merced River and along the Wawona Loop Trail along the edges of the meadow, you can find mortar rocks that were used to process food. Look for circular depressions in the tops of boulders, often in a place where a person preparing food would have easy access to water. These places now often provide a good view of a nearby meadow or river.

These were used like we might use a mortar and pestle now, except on a much grander scale. Each pestle weighed from 5 – 12 pounds and could be used to pound a gallon of acorns at a time. The resulting acorn flour would be sifted, and then the coarser pieces pounded again until the fine flour could be rinsed free of the bitter tannins and used to make dough.

If you look carefully, you’ll see many sizes and depths of the mortar holes. Each mortar was designed for a specific use. For example, shallow mortars were better for pounding acorns, while deeper mortars were preferred for preparing manzanita berries.

Arrowheads and Spear Tips

obsidian knives excavated in Yosemite

Obsidian knives have been discovered throughout Yosemite, leaving important traces of native culture.

If you look carefully you might also spot obsidian arrowheads and spear points in Wawona and throughout the region. Be sure to leave these where you found them! These important archeological artifacts provide important information about where native people lived and traveled. Removing these artifacts erases an important piece of tribal history.

While the shafts of arrows are made from local mock orange or spicebush shoots, and the feathers came from local birds, you can’t find the obsidian needed for arrows and other tools in this area.

To get these, you would need to get them from the east side of the Sierra.

Obsidian caches found along known trade routes and other archaeological findings demonstrate that the people living in Wawona before the mid-19th century had a robust and well-established network of trade and commerce that extended from beyond the Sierra Nevada mountains to the east and all the way out to the west coast.

In fact, when Stephen Powers travels through the region in 1877, he’s struck by how easy it is to communicate. While there are, of course, many different dialects, often the root remained close enough that many people could communicate effectively. He wrote, “An Indian may start from the upper end of Yosemite and travel with the sun 150 miles… without encountering a new tongue, and on the San Joaquin make himself understood with little difficulty.”

Trade included obsidian from the eastern Sierra to sea shells from the coast, as well as finely crafted baskets with a wide range of uses. In the mid-19th century, the Miwuk were renowned for their brilliantly crafted arrows, made from local plants such as Mock Orange or Spicebush.

Disruption and Devastation in the 19th Century

woman standing with acorn granaries called chuckas

People built acorn granaries to preserve this important food resource.

It’s hard to pin precise dates on how far back the many generations of people followed the natural rhythms of the year. They followed animal migrations and harvested many plants and mushrooms as they came into season. In late summer or early fall, the people would set fires to promote the growth of plants that were useful to them and clear the ground to make gathering food easier. In the fall, they collected acorns for food and stored them in granaries called “chuckahs”. Dried meat and dried mushrooms were prepared for the long winter months. Some people would move to lower elevations for the winter, returning again in spring.

However, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, their lives changed dramatically. California’s Gold Rush of 1849 brought thousands of non-Indian miners to the region in search of gold and began to “lay claims” to pieces of land. In 1850, volunteer militias like the Mariposa Battalion were formed to “protect” the newcomers by forcing the native residents out.

Thousands of native people were killed or died of starvation following this disruption. By 1910, only 1 in 10 of the original Ahwahneeches (the people who lived in Yosemite Valley) were alive and accounted for.

Many tribes signed treaties with the new government, moving to the Fresno Indian River Reservation as agreed. But like so many similar treaties of the time, these were only honored when it was convenient. Soon enough the reservation was overgrazed by the herds of white cattle ranchers, treaties were ignored, and less than 10 years later, in 1860, the failed Fresno reservation closed. Now landless and without legal status, the people were forced to move again.

Return

indian cultural demonstrator

As they returned to the area, some found work demonstrating their cultural practices, as well as other jobs in the community. Photo Grace Anchor making manzanita cider as visitors watch.

Having nowhere else to go, many of the people moved back to their traditional homelands. They resettled in Yosemite Valley, Wawona, El Portal, and other areas, and adapted to lives with the newcomers in order to survive. By the time President Lincoln was presented with the Yosemite Grant in 1864, protecting vast stretches of land as part of “America’s Best Idea”, native people were once again living year-round in places like Yosemite Valley. In addition to their traditional practices, they also worked with and for their new neighbors, including providing services to early hotels. But it still wasn’t easy.

Although archaeologists have identified over 30 different historic villages in Yosemite Valley, by the early 1930s, they had been consolidated into one “old Indian village” that was located near the site where the medical clinic is now.

To make room for the hospital, the people were relocated to the “new Indian village” (Wahoga) just west of Camp 4, which was in place from 1931 to 1969.

Unfortunately, at that point, the housing policies changed, and the residents of Wahoga were once again asked to leave, just as their ancestors had been, and their cabins were removed from the site.

Fortunately, the Wahoga area has recently been set aside again for the preservation of Indian cultural heritage. Tribal elders have envisioned a sixty-foot Hangngi’ (traditional round house) and other structures built in the old ways as much as possible, and including a community building and cultural center. You can see them under construction now in Yosemite Valley.

Learn More

baskets on display at the Yosemite Museum in Yosemite Valley

Learn more about Yosemite’s history at a local museum. (Photo: displays at the Yosemite Museum in Yosemite Valley)

For more information on Native History, be sure to stop in at a local museum. The exhibits and knowledgeable staff there can bring the cultural history of indigenous people to life.

The Sierra Mono Museum and Cultural Center is worth a side trip to North Fork (about an hour from Wawona). The center is dedicated to sharing a wide variety of artifacts that have been important for the Mono tribe’s cultural history, including the largest Mono Basket collection in the state, and over 100 animal exhibits.

The Yosemite Museum in Yosemite Valley is another delightful place to get information on the cultural history of indigenous people as well as other exhibits. Talk to the Indian Cultural Demonstrators who work there, and admire the beautiful basketry on display. Behind the museum, you’ll also find a reconstructed Indian village with examples of different kinds of structures, as well as information on some of the traditional uses of local plants.

The Smithsonian Institute calls The Mariposa Museum and History Center in downtown Mariposa, CA “The Best Little Museum of its Size West of the Mississippi”. There, among stories of the gold rush and pioneer history, you’ll also find an exhibit with native plants, mortar rocks, baskets, and photographs that tell the story of local Miwuk heritage and culture.

The Redwoods In Yosemite Year-Round Vacation Home Rentals, Wedding and Event Center Reopening News Release

Wawona, CA – We are excited to confirm that as of July 28, 2022, visitors of Yosemite National Park are able to stay in our vacation home rental accommodations at The Redwoods In Yosemite.

A reminder, Yosemite National Park day-use reservations are not required for Redwoods guests. As usual you can make a cabin or vacation home reservation online at www.redwoodsinyosemite.com.

Our wedding and event center has resumed operations as well and you can find out more about the current wedding/group size requirements by calling our Events Coordinator at 877-496-3052 or visiting our website.

As you may know, on July 8, 2022 we had to close our Redwoods facility on Chilnualna Falls Road and evacuate due to the Washburn Fire burning near Wawona and The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. All of our Wawona employees were evacuated for a 14 day period and we thank everyone who helped with housing our staff during this time! Simultaneously, The Redwoods team worked closely with our Wawona Rangers and first responders on evacuating over 70 vacation homes that day, ensuring all of our in-house visitors have left the area safely and quickly. Over 470 reservations made by visitors from all over the world had to be canceled by our front desk team. More importantly though, we are so relieved that the preservation of Mariposa Grove and Wawona was successful, without loss of human life, and we are back in Wawona to serve guests, homeowners, and the Wawona community to the best of our abilities. Thank you once more, Yosemite Fire and Aviation + NPS, Incident Teams 6 + 15 and all first responders, hot shot crews and fire fighting vendors and personnel for saving historic Wawona and The Big Trees!

These days the saddest news however, come from Mariposa, where currently the Oak Fire is still burning with 45% containment. The blaze, although more than 10 miles away from Wawona, feels very close to the soul and is burning a scar into our #MariposaStrong hearts. With over 100 single-home residences now destroyed in the Jerseydale/Midpines area of the Oak Fire, we would like to focus on finding ways to help the victims in any way possible in these harsh times.

To anyone able to help, please consider the following:

Make monetary donations to the Mariposa Community Foundation

https://www.mariposacommunity.foundation/

Make monetary donations to the Alliance for Community Transformations

https://givebutter.com/Oakfire

Make clothing and shoe donations to the American Red Cross at the below locations:

Mariposa Elementary School

Stage Stop Gas Station

Mariposa Disposal

Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) is accepting any person or group wishing to volunteer

Call: (209) 966-5911 or (559) 683-4911

To our incoming guests, please visit https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/conditions.htm for the most current conditions and information in the park. The smoke impact of the Oak Fire has significantly reduced in the last few days and we recommend for you to keep your reservation and not lose your place in line for the home rental of your choosing at The Redwoods. Although Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias remains closed at this time for post-firefighting cleanup and debris removal, Nelder Grove, Merced Grove and Tuolumne Grove are open for visitors.

Thank you!

Warm regards,

The Redwoods In Yosemite Mariposa Strong Team