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El Portal

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El Portal

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El Portal is in California next to Yosemite National Park.


El Portal is a small community along the Merced River which is mostly notable for providing good lodging options for visitors to Yosemite National Park. Being outside of the National Park, El Portal is not subject to strict Park limitations on development, so a number of large motels have been constructed.

Yosemite Valley is a 20 minute drive from El Portal along a relatively flat road, which makes El Portal convenient while providing cheaper lodging than the Park itself. Visitors looking for even cheaper lodging could drive further to Mariposa. Masochistic penny-pinchers drive as far as Merced.

Get in

By car

From Mariposa, Merced, and other points west, take State Route 140 east. El Portal is about 30 miles east of Mariposa.

From Yosemite, take State Route 140 west from Yosemite Valley. El Portal begins immediately after leave the Park.

By bus

YART bus system connects El Portal to Merced, Mariposa, and Yosemite.

By train

The nearest Amtrak station is in Merced where you can catch a YART bus to El Portal.

Get around


El Portal is in the narrow Merced River canyon. So there are three things to see in El Portal: the river, the walls of the canyon, and the traffic along Route 140.



The larger motels have gift shops in case you forgot to get something while in Yosemite. They also sell the usual stuff that travellers often forget to pack.


Yosemite View Lodge offers two restaurants and a bar, along with a large convience store, selling a variety of packaged foods. There is a pizza and pasta place, as well as an American (Steak and Fish) dining room.

Yosemite Cedar Lodge offers two restaurants (but one is closed during the off season), and a bar. The bar is 50's themed.



  • Yosemite View Lodge, 11136 Highway 140, (209) 379-2681. A large motel complex next to the Merced River a few hundred feet from the Yosemite National Park boundary. This is the closest accommodation to Yosemite Valley, sharing a boundary with Yosemite National Park and sited along the scenic Merced River. Yosemite View Lodge offers luxury rooms and suites, two restaurants, a gift shop and convenience store, ATM and laundry facilities. There are scenic views of the river, mountains, and the west entry into YNP.
  • Cedar Lodge, 9966 Highway 140, (209) 379-2612. 8 miles from Yosemite's west entrance on the All Year Hwy (CA 140). Featuring family friendly rooms and suites, an indoor and outdoor pool, a restaurant and lounge. There is a large confernece and reception site available with a huge fireplace.

Get out

  • Yosemite National Park. All major motels in El Portal have bus stops for the YART buses which can take you directly into Yosemite Valley. This is a good way of avoiding the summertime parking hassles in the valley.
  • Mariposa

External links

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