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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 the strict Park limitations on development, so a number of large motels have been constructed.

Yosemite Valley is just a 20 minute drive from El Portal along a relatively flat road, which makes El Portal very convenient while providing cheaper lodging that the Park itself. Visitors looking for even cheaper lodging could consider driving 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 large lodging complexes have restaurants.



  • 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. There is of course no view of Yosemite Valley from this complex.
  • Cedar Lodge, 9966 Highway 140, (209) 379-2612. Large motel complex eight miles from the Yosemite National Park entrance.

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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