IF YOU KNOW YOUR YARTS, then you know that "YARTS" stands for Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System. It's a system that whisks travelers into Yosemite Valley aboard a comfy bus, meaning a little less traffic for area roads and a little more time for visitors to look out the window and take in the trees, waterfalls, and Half Dome, too. You can hop on, too, at a number of points beyond the national park, with points of origin that include a year-round route originating in Merced and seasonal routes starting in Fresno, Mammoth Lakes, and Sonora. This all means that you don't need to be at Yosemite's edge to grab a ride from YARTS, which is pretty darn handy, indeed. But there's no need to pull up the Fare Calculator if you plan on visiting Yosemite over the second weekend of November, which is Veterans Day Weekend, which encompasses two Fee-Free Days, the last on the National Park Service 2017 schedule.
YARTS WILL BE FREE, though you'll want to note the special schedules for Saturday, Nov. 11 and Sunday, Nov. 12 before you plan your trip. The free-weekend bus will depart from Merced, with the Merced Airport serving as the initial pick-up point, with Run 1 beginning at 6:50 in the morning. Yosemite Valley Visitor Center is the final stop, and there are just over a dozen stops along the way. Are there reservations for the free YARTS trips? There are not; it's definitely a "first-come, first-served" sort of deal. Can you grab another shuttle in the valley from the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center? You can, yes. Read all, and pore over the Veterans Day Weekend schedule, and the must-know tips from the YARTS staff, before you head for Merced. And do note: The other three routes that run seasonally — Fresno - Hwy 41, Mammoth Lakes - Hwy 120/395, and Sonora - Hwy 120 — wrapped up their 2017 runs in September, and will not be a part of the Nov. 11 and 12 schedule.