Updated September 9, 2020,  4pm

Keep Scrolling for Tips on How to Enjoy Yosemite Like a Local…

Rush Creek Lodge as well as Yosemite National Park remain open. The Stanislaus National Forest has temporarily closed with a planned reopening date of Monday or sooner. The Yosemite area is being affected by smoke from distant fires so you may experience some haziness during your stay. Keep scrolling for onsite activities at the lodge as well as details on our professionally guided trips into the park.

Insider Tips on Yosemite Day Use Options

If you haven’t been able to obtain an advance reservation for a Day Use Entry Ticket at recreation.gov yet, don’t lose heart.  Every morning at 7am the Park releases 300+ last minute tickets 48-hours prior to ticket date. See details…

You still have plenty of options for Park access and a fun-filled getaway with us.


1 – Participate in one of our professionally guided trips
Park admission is included in our trips. We offer over a dozen partial and full-day excursions. You can explore the options using our online trip planner at RushCreekLodge.com/Explore, email the Recreation Desk directly for personal assistance at or call them at (209) 379-2373 extension 3.

Yosemite Hetch Hetchy Cascade Break (Kim Carroll 3-17.78)2 – Explore the Hetch Hetchy area of Yosemite
Hetch Hetchy is one of Yosemite’s hidden gems, offers stunning hiking and sightseeing for all ability levels and does not require a Day Use Entry Ticket.  If you prefer to explore this part of Yosemite on your own rather than with our professional guides, our friendly experts at our Recreation Desk will be more than happy to help you plan the ideal day for your party.  The Hetch Hetchy entrance gate is just 1 mile from our nearby sister property, the Evergreen Lodge. Access is tied to parking availability, and adjusted hours are 8am – 5pm.

YARTS Bus (Photos Courtesy of YARTS)3 – Ride the YARTS bus in/out of the Park
An affordable and exceptionally comfortable way to enjoy the ride to/from Yosemite Valley, YARTS buses stop at Rush Creek Lodge, with 3 morning runs to Yosemite Village (8:52, 9:52, 10:52) and 3 return runs from Yosemite Village in the afternoon (4, 4:30, 5:35).

YARTS is a Great Deal! Adult round-trip fare of $14 includes Park admission for the Adult rider plus one Child 17 years or younger. Make reservations in advance at YARTS.com

4 – NEW! Rush Creek Bike Shuttle
We now offer full-day bike rentals with shuttle service in/out of Yosemite Valley! Shuttles depart Rush Creek at 8am and 10am, with return pick up in Yosemite Valley at 2pm and 4pm.  In keeping with recommended health and safety standards, each shuttle is for a single cohort/party traveling together, maximum of 6 total passengers.  Price is $125 per person for a minimum of 2 people, $75 per person for up to 4 more passengers, and includes bike rental for everyone in the party.

Reach out to our Recreation Desk for details and reservations at or look over the Yosemite Valley Bike Shuttle Trip Outline.


Carlon Falls1 – Treat yourself to one of Travel + Leisure’s “16 Best Swimming Holes in the U.S.”  Carlon Falls is a longstanding local favorite less than 5 minutes from the lodge and offers something splendid for all ability levels.  You can do a short and easy 1-hour walk along the South Fork of the Tuolumne River, or make a day of it and hike all the way up past the series of waterfalls and swimming holes.  Once on the trail you’ll actually be walking right into Yosemite National Park, making this a true hidden treasure that few Yosemite visitors ever see.  Details…

2 – Lookout Point is another exceptional hike to a 360-degree panoramic vista that few Yosemite visitors ever experience.  Starting from the Hetch Hetchy Ranger Station, it’s a fairly steep 1-2 hour hike with stunning views that will have you feeling on top of the world!  Details…

Rainbow Pools (Kim Carroll)3 – Go chase more swimming holes! In addition to Carlon Falls, nearby there’s Rainbow Pools, the Middle Fork of the Tuolumne River, and a bigger adventure to Preston Falls, just to name a few.  We’ve gathered up directions to these favorites in one easy flyer for you, but you can also talk with our Recreation team at the lodge for many more ideas for places you can wander freely in Yosemite’s scenic wilderness. Details…


General Store Outdoor Coffee Bar Service (Kim Carroll)The lodge is situated less than a mile from Yosemite’s northwest entrance, where we follow Tuolumne County guidelines that currently allow us to responsibly operate our Swimming Pool, Outdoor Amenities, Restaurant, Tavern, General Store and more, with modifications including social distancing and enhanced safety and cleaning protocols.

General Store
You can still get great coffee drinks and other specialty beverages from our General Store, now with an outdoor window to serve you on the deck where seating is arranged so you and your party can socialize together while keeping a safe distance from other guests.  Guests can also shop for supplies and souvenirs inside while wearing face coverings when social distancing is not possible.

Tavern Toast to Safe Dining Options (Kim Carroll)Dining
Our culinary team is still serving up delicious food daily in our Restaurant and Tavern, with expanded outdoor dining options, socially distanced indoor dining, and extensive new safety protocols.

Rush Creek Outdoor Play Areas (Kim Carroll)Play
As luck would have it, Rush Creek’s outdoor spaces for play and relaxation were already conveniently spaced for safe distancing while happily socializing.  With enhanced cleaning, sanitation and parental oversight protocols in place, giant outdoor checkers, four-square, kids zip lines, bocce ball, horseshoes, and more await.  Most all of our indoor games are available, and our friendly Recreation team is providing daily activities including our nightly tradition of roasting s’mores by outdoor fires, with additional fire pits added for easy social distancing and s’mores fixins individually packaged.

Stargazing at Rush Creek is magical, far away from light pollution, bringing you closer to the infinite expanse of shimmering stars than you ever imagined.  You can also join our guides for a tour of the sky using our 12″ aperture Dobsonian telescope to get even closer to constellations, planets, nebulas, galaxies and other celestial wonders.

Or learn the art of hot glass blowing from our resident expert.  No experience is needed as she guides you through the process of creating your very own glass art piece.

Rush Creek Vista Point Trail (Matthew F.)Hiking & Nature Trails
In partnership with the National Forest Service and others we recently opened three new hiking and nature trails in the forest adjacent to Rush Creek Lodge, including one for mountain biking. You can see more information on the Nature Trail, Vista Trail and Adventure Trail along with a detailed trail map here…

As you can see in so many of our guest comments below and on public forums, there are endless opportunities to explore the Yosemite area and have a terrific time in and around the lodge, regardless of whether or not you have a Day Use Entry Ticket in hand.

If at First You Don’t Succeed…

It’s worth noting that you can also keep trying your luck at recreation.gov. Canceled Day Use Entry Tickets are added back into inventory regularly, and a batch of last-minute tickets are released  at 7am Pacific Time, 48-hours prior to ticket date. Note that the 48-hour batch typically sells out by 7:30am, so make sure you’re online promptly at 7am for the best chance at success.

Although the way in which we access the park this year is different, Yosemite is as incredible as ever, and we can’t wait to share an amazing adventure with you!

Happy trails,
Your friends at Rush Creek

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