EV Charging at Yosemite National Park – Tips and Guides (Updated for 2022)

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Visiting Yosemite park in your EV?  Read below for charging tips.

Yosemite – Popularity can be a Curse

Yosemite traffic (Credit NPS.org)

Yosemite National Park is a very popular park – 4 million visitors per year.  Unfortunately its popularity also means lots of traffic (and crowds) during the peak season (usually Apr – Oct).

The Yosemite Park tries to balance the vehicle traffic and pollution – it is an unenviable task ; they don’t want to discourage people from visiting, but at the same time, they like to minimize the pollution.

One possible solution to help with the pollution is Electric Vehicles – and increasingly more and more people are using EVs to visit Yosemite.

Status of EV Charging inside Yosemite Park

Here is  map of chargers in and around Yosemite (Image credit from Plugshare)

yosemite charging (image from plugshare.org)

As you can see:

  • There are NO fast chargers (L3)  inside the park (yet).  All fast chargers are located outside the park
  • Park has a few L2 chargers (see below for details)

Improvements are underway

In 2022, Rivian, Adopt a Charger  and Yosemite Conservancy are teaming up to install free charger around Yosemite. This is great news and I am hoping for more chargers to come online.

I am also hoping for more fast chargers within the park. There is a great renewable energy source right near Yosemite – Hetch Hetchy Hydroelectric power plant. It generates 385 MW clean energy from the Hetch Hetchy dam. This can be a wonderful combination – EV chargers using renewable energy!

Can you do without charging within the park?

Short answer: YES

If you are staying around for 1-2 days, and mostly driving around the Yosemite Valley you will be fine.

If you are venturing outside the valley, be mindful of elevation changes.

Yosemite valley is at 4000 ft

If you drive to Sentinel Dome on Glacier Point Road that is 7200 ft – a 3000 ft elevation gain.

Climbing will zap the battery.  But you will gain a lot of spent power on the way down using regenerative braking.  But you never get back 100% 🙂 

Also you can be mindful of your climate controls and save some battery.

Beware, Summer in Yosemite will get pretty hot, so you may want to run AC.

Also Winter in Yosemite is pretty cold, so you may be running the heater.

Both of these will use energy.

Remember, cold temperatures will zap the battery range

Winter in Yosemite gets pretty cold (below freezing!).  And cold will adversely affect the battery range.  For example it is not uncommon to hear range is reduced by 30-40%.

Tips for Visiting Yosemite National Park in EV

Top-up outside the park

Since charging infrastructure is not all that great INSIDE the Yosemite valley, you want to enter the park at near full charge.

Luckily there are lots of charging options available outside the park.  See below for options.

There are NO fast chargers (L3) inside the park

So do not plan on quick charging.

Charging inside the park

(see section below)

Use Shuttle busses if possible to get around the valley

This is true whether you are visiting in an EV or a regular car.  Leave your car in the parking lot.  The shuttle system covers the valley pretty well.  And it is a stress free way to see the valley.  Remember you don’t have to worry about finding parking ..etc.  It is hop-on and hop-off.

Use AirBnb Stays with EV Charging

If you are staying for a few days, one of the best options is to stay at a place with an EV charger and charge overnight.

There are some vacation rental communities inside the park that offer EV charging.  For example Yosemite West.

How do you find these?  Best bet is AIRBNB or VRBO.

AirBnb has a filter to select EV Chargers.  VRBO doesn’t have an option for this yet.

Here is how to find places with EV Charging on AirBnB

Use the search feature.

And then click on FILTERS and select ‘EV Charger’

See screenshots below

Charging Inside Park

There are a few L2 chargers you can use. Here is an overview of chargers in the valley

Yosemite valley charging (image credit: plugshare)

Yosemite Valley Lodge parking lot

There are 8 L2 chargers in Yosemite Lodge parking lot.  These are free to use by anyone.  Max charge speed 6-11 KWh.

Charger Types: J-1772 and Tesla

Beware, there could be a lot of competition for these chargers. 

What to do while charging:

As these chargers will take a few hours to add any significant amount of charging, here are some things you can do while charging.

Yosemite Valley Lodge is pretty centrally located in the valley.  There are a lot of activities you can do.

  • This is probably one of the scenic charger locations 🙂  Take a walk around.  Yosemite falls is about a 20 minute walk.
  • Get something to eat at various restaurants at Yosemite Lodge.
  • Get your Yosemite gifts and memorabilias at the Valley Lodge gift shop
  • Take the valley shuttle to see valley attractions.  This is really a stress free way to see the valley.  No driving, no stressing about parking, just enjoy the sights

Yosemite Village Store

One L2 charger (6 kw) in VIllage store – free to use by anyone

Ahwahnee Hotel

Two L2 chargers at Ahwahnee hotel – for hotel guests only

What can you do while charging:

  • Dine at Ahwahnee restaurant – a very unique experience
  • Get a drink at the bar – a nice way to enjoy this majestic hotel without shelling out too much for fancy food 🙂 

Charging Etiquette

Please be considerate of others.  For example if you are at 70% full, don’t keep it plugged in till you get a full charge.  Keep it free for someone who may need to charge urgently.

Places to Charge Outside Yosemite Park

You will find fast chargers outside the park.  It is highly recommended to charge at these and enter the park near full charge.

Here is an overview of chargers around Yosemite (Image from : Plugshare)

yosemite charging (image from plugshare.org)

Along highway 120

Yosemite charging along hwy 120 (image credit: plugshare)
Yosemite elevation profile

Groveland

Groveland is a great place to charge before heading into the park.  Because hwy 120 climbs rapidly up to Groveland.  There are plenty of fast chargers and things to do while charging.

For Teslas:

Groveland Supercharger   (mapplugshare)

Plenty of superchargers available (150kw)


What to do while charging:

Other EVs

Groveland Visitor Center  (map  |  plugshare)

Couple of Chargepoint chargers at 50kw.

What to do while charging:

  • Plenty of things.  See above.

Buck Meadows

This is actually my favorite place to charge before going into Yosemite.

There are a few  Electrify America charging stations (150 kw).  (map  |  plugshare)

What to do while charging:

  • Get something to eat at Lucky Buck Cafe (websitemap)
  • Nearby Yosemite Westgate Lodge is a pretty decent place to stay  (websitemap)

Rush Creek Lodge

Has one fast charger and a couple of L2 chargers.

Plugshare

What do while charging:

  • Rush Creek Lodge has a nice restaurant (website,   map)
  • Get pampered at fabulous spa at Rushcreek (website)
Rush creek spa (Image credit: rush creek lodge)

Along Hwy 41

Yosemite charging, along hwy 41 (Image credit: plugshare)

Oakhurst

Oakhurst is a pretty good size town.  

For Teslas, there is Oakhurst Supercharger  (websitemap,   plugshare)

For other EVs, there are couple of fast chargers around town

What to do while charging:

  • Plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby

Fish Camp

For Teslas, FishCamp Super Charger (websitemap,   plugshare)

Other EVs, no fast chargers here, sorry.

Summary

Hope you found this article useful. And happy travels!

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