7 Points to Conquer “Yosemite Half Marathon” 2024

Experience the grandeur of nature and challenge yourself on a scenic course at the Yosemite Half Marathon. This breathtaking event takes you through the picturesque surroundings of the Sierra National Forest, just a stone’s throw away from Yosemite National Park.

Lace up your shoes for a tranquil 5-mile run enveloped by trees, followed by a thrilling 5-mile descent, and culminating with a captivating 3-mile loop around serene Bass Lake. Join us for an adventure and witness the splendor of one of the natural wonders of the world. The Yosemite Half Marathon is a celebration of health, nature, and community.

Yosemite Half Marathon Overview

The Yosemite Half Marathon is a breathtaking race that combines natural splendor with the thrill of running. With its distinctive mix of terrain and the promise of a mostly downhill course, this event is one not to be missed.

🏃 Race Details and Date

Date: May 11, 2024
Location: Bass Lake, CA

It’s important to note that the Yosemite Half Marathon is a popular event that tends to sell out quickly. We encourage runners to mark their calendars and register early to ensure a spot in this unforgettable race.

Sebastian Gradl after Running a Charity Run 09.2023

I love running in nature. That gives me extra energy and motivation.

🌲 Course Description

The Yosemite Half Marathon course guides runners through the stunning landscapes just outside Yosemite National Park. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Terrain: Mixed. Expect both pavement and dirt trails that showcase the diversity of the area’s natural beauty.
  • Features: Experience a scenic course that boasts waterfalls and forest views.
  • Elevation Gain: Roughly 449 feet
  • Maximum Elevation: Reaches approximately 5,448 feet

This is a mostly downhill run that culminates with a finish in front of the beautiful Bass Lake, making it a race that’s as enjoyable as it is challenging.

Registration and Preparation

Yosemite half marathon logo of yosemite running with mountain in background
by Pinterest

In organizing our participation in the Yosemite Half Marathon, we need to focus on two crucial steps: securing our spot through a timely registration and following a comprehensive training plan that will prepare us for the 13.1-mile challenge.

📝 How to Register

To ensure we join the Yosemite Half Marathon, we must act quickly as it tends to sell out. The race through the Sierra National Forest is in high demand.

Here is how we can secure our spots:

  1. Visit the official Yosemite Half Marathon registration page.
  2. Choose the correct event and click ‘Sign Up’.
  3. Complete the required participant information.
  4. Pay the registration fee before the cut-off date on May 8, 2024.

🏃 Training Plans

Proper preparation for the Yosemite Half includes finding a fitting training plan and choosing the right running shoes.

Here’s how we can start:

  • Access free half marathon training plans.
  • Begin training well in advance to allow our bodies to adjust to the increasing mileage.
  • Make sure to invest in high-quality running shoes that will provide support and comfort during both training and the race.

By registering early and adhering to a disciplined training regime, we pave the way for a successful and enjoyable experience at the Yosemite Half Marathon.

Event Schedule and Logistics

Yosemite half marathon two women are smiling while doing the challenge
by Pinterest

We’ve put together all the essential details you need to know for a smooth Yosemite Half Marathon experience.

📦 Expo and Packet Pickup

Date: Usually set in the month of May, exact dates may vary
Location: Expo venue near race start line

  • Friday: Expo Opens for Packet Pickup
    Time: Often in the afternoon
    Details: Pickup your race packet, including bib and shirt. Engage with vendors, official race merchandise, and get any last-minute race info at the Race Expo.

🏃‍♂️ Race Day Information

Start Line: In proximity to the VR Campground
Finish Line: Located at a different point, shuttles provided back to start

  • Shuttles to Start Line:
    Shuttle Departure: From designated Parking Lot early morning
    Frequency: Continuous loops before the race starts
  • Parking: Limited at Start Line
    Recommendation: Use the Race Parking area and take a shuttle for ease.
  • Aid Stations: Strategically placed along the course
    Availability: Stocked with water and sports drink
  • Finish Line Amenities: Medals, food, and festivities await you at the finish line!

🏠 Accommodations and Travel

VR Campground:

  • Reservations: Highly recommended; spaces filled on a first-come, first-serve basis
  • Amenities: Basic facilities available for a comfortable stay
  • Options: Various accommodations ranging from hotels to lodges available. Booking early ensures you get a spot close to the race happenings.
  • By Car: Follow the signs to the expo location
  • Parking: Available at the expo venue
  • Starting Point: From the designated Parking Lot and Campsite
  • Convenience: Shuttles reduce race morning stress and ensure timely arrival at the Start Line

Experience Yosemite National Park

Yosemite half marathon runners on their way downhill
by Pinterest

As avid nature lovers, we always look for the most immersive ways to experience the great outdoors, and Yosemite National Park offers an adventure like no other.

🌄 Scenic Highlights and Attractions

Yosemite National Park is renowned for its breathtaking scenery. Running amidst these natural wonders is not just an exercise for the body, but also a feast for the eyes. The park’s iconic Half Dome and the majestic waterfalls – which are especially full in May – beckon adventurers from all around the world.

Participating in Vacation Races’ Yosemite Half Marathon, runners are treated to stunning vistas as they dash through the Sierra National Forest and Bass Lake, CA, which is often full and reflects the beauty of the forests and cliffs that surround it.

  • Key Attractions in Yosemite National Park:

🏞 Visiting and Exploring

The Wander Project offers a unique way to combine racing with exploring, turning the Yosemite Half Marathon into more than just a race – it’s an opportunity to deeply connect with this National Park and support its conservation. Oakhurst, CA, and Mariposa are gateways to our adventures, where we can immerse ourselves in the local charm before and after the race.

  • Exploration Checklist:
    • Take a hike or walk on the scenic trails
    • Enjoy a picnic by Bass Lake
    • Visit the historic towns of Oakhurst and Mariposa
    • Support park conservation through the Wander Project

Post-Race Activities and Community Engagement

Yosemite half marathon two women are jumping and laughing
by Pinterest

After crossing the finish line, we’re not just celebrating personal achievements; we also embrace the opportunity to support the incredible area that hosts us. Our post-race activities are designed to highlight both celebration and community contribution.

🎉 Celebration and Awards

The celebration kicks off with awards for speedy finish times and commemorative moments for all. Top finishers receive recognition at the award ceremony, which is a festivity of its own.

💖 Giving Back Through The Race

The Charity Bib Program is an excellent way for runners to engage in fundraising, contributing to local initiatives that preserve the beauty we’ve all come to admire.

 “Running is the quickest endorphin hit I can get. I like to do it really early in the morning, before everyone gets up. It gives me a clear head and sort of resets the clock. It’s like, ‘OK, I got that out of the way. Now I can deal with people.'”
— Julie Bowen

Additional Considerations

When we gear up for the Yosemite Half Marathon, it’s crucial to consider how the weather can affect our choice in clothing and the impact of race day traffic on both runners and spectators. Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know.

🌤 Weather and Clothing

In the splendor of California’s Yosemite area, weather can be quite variable, even within a single day. For the race, it’s important to check the forecast and plan accordingly. Lightweight, moisture-wicking layers are ideal since mornings can be brisk with temperatures potentially rising as the day progresses.

While we may start with a chill, the sheer beauty and possibly warm afternoon sun can lead us to shedding layers, so gear that’s easy to carry or discard is key.

  • Race day attire:
    • Lightweight, moisture-wicking base layer
    • Insulating but breathable second layer
    • Optional light running rain jacket, weather dependent
    • Comfortable, moisture-wicking running socks
    • Running Cap, running gloves, and arm sleeves for cooler mornings

We usually receive a race shirt with our registration. It’s a great souvenir, but it’s often best to race in clothing that we’ve already broken in.

🚗 Traffic and Spectators

Given the runners converging on the location from all around, traffic can become quite congested. We recommend arriving early or making use of designated shuttles to avoid being caught in any delays. Moreover, if our friends and family are planning to cheer us on, they should be aware of road closures and best viewing spots outlined in the race guide.

  • Traffic tips:
    • Check the race guide for road closure timings and plan your arrival
    • Consider carpooling to reduce the number of vehicles
    • Spectators should be aware that parking spaces are limited in some areas

Shuttle services are often provided, which can be a hassle-free way to get to the starting line, with some pickups from hotels and key locations in nearby Oakhurst and Bass Lake.

Our Opinion on the Yosemite Half Marathon

When we consider the prospect of participating in the Yosemite Half Marathon, the excitement is palpable among us. Here’s what stirs us about this event:

  • Scenic Beauty: The marathon offers an incredibly picturesque route through the Sierra National Forest. Running with such awe-inspiring nature around us is a potent motivator.
  • Course Layout: We appreciate the thoughtful course design which begins with a tranquil 5-mile run through the forest, transitions into a thrilling 5-mile downhill, and culminates with a serene 3 miles around Bass Lake.
  • Accessibility and Challenge: It strikes us as the perfect balance between a fun run and a challenging race. Newcomers and experienced runners alike can enjoy this race for its fast, mostly downhill course.
  • Community and Conservation: The race is more than just about running; it supports the Yosemite Conservancy, which means our participation helps preserve the park.
First 5Peaceful run through trees
Next 5Downhill – fast-paced and exhilarating
Last 3.1Around Bass Lake – scenic and tranquil

In summary, our opinion on the Yosemite Half Marathon is undeniably positive. We cherish the blend of athletic endeavor and nature appreciation that the race fosters. It’s definitely an event we’d recommend to our friends and the running community.


What is the course like for the Yosemite Half Marathon?

The course includes both paved and trail sections, showcasing the stunning natural beauty of the area. 

Are there aid stations along the course?

Yes, there are aid stations at regular intervals providing water, sports drinks, and medical assistance if needed. 

Is the Yosemite Half Marathon a timed event?

Yes, the race is chip-timed, allowing participants to track their performance accurately.

What is your option on the Yosemite half marathon? I would love to hear it in the comments. I’m sure you also like reading about national park half marathons or our best running shoes for half marathons.

Sebastian Gradl 26.09.2023
Sebastian Gradl

Nice to meet you, I´m Sebastian Gradl!

I write the articles on runfitjourney.com.

I hope I can awaken your passion for running too and would be happy to take you on the runfitjourney!

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