June 24, 2024

One Star Yosemite National Park Reviews

These one star Yosemite National Park reviews are a fun read.  Yosemite reviews are overwhelmingly positive – most are five-star ratings.  But for various reasons, from traffic to parking to the park rangers, some felt these obstacles distracted from the park’s overall beauty.

Yosemite National Park is in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. It’s famed for its giant, ancient sequoia trees, and for Tunnel View, the iconic vista of towering Bridalveil Fall, and the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome. In Yosemite Village there are shops, restaurants and hotels.

First protected in 1864, Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.  The park is roughly the size of the U.S. state of Rhode Island and contains thousands of lakes and ponds, along with many streams and over 800 miles of hiking trails.

Yosemite National Park – Mirror Lake

Yosemite Valley is open year-round and numerous activities are available – nature walks, photography and art classes, stargazing programs, tours, bike rentals, rafting, mule and horseback rides, rock climbing, etc.  Many people enjoy short walks and longer hikes to see views of Yosemite Valley and the high country, or drive along the scenic roads.  Most visitors stay for the day and visit only those locations easily accessible by car or bus.  Traffic congestion can be a problem during the peak summer season and around holidays.

There is no doubt the natural beauty of Yosemite is wonderful, and most reviews of the National Park highlight the endless beauty of the park.  But when it comes to the not-so-good reviews of Yosemite, you have to wonder why some people would make the trip to Yosemite in the first place.

Yosemite National Park One Star Reviews

The main online sites where people can leave travel-related reviews are Google, Yelp and TripAdvisor.  And on these sites and others, review after review after review speak to the awesome nature of Yosemite, with only the odd review here or there where someone had a negative experience or are just trying to be funny.  Although we don’t endorse or support these one star reviews, they are still fun to read.

Yosemite One Star Reviews on Google

There are over 30,000 reviews on Google.  Out of 5 stars, the average is 4.8.  A majority of the reviews talk about the national park’s beauty, using words like breathtaking, amazing, gorgeous, wonderful, outstanding, picturesque, beautiful, etc.

Below are some one star reviews of Yosemite National Park from Google:

Many of the bad reviews focus on the traffic and lack of parking:

“We were really looking forward to a great time at Yosemite, but it ended up being a bust. We paid $35 to get in, just to drive a slow crawl in traffic and never find a spot to park. 5 or 6 hours with kids driving endlessly was miserable. Everywhere we wanted to go was blocked off and traffic guards waved us on with smirks. I had especially wanted my kids to see the Ahwanee, but they weren’t letting anyone in, even though they advertise a tour.”

“Yosemite is amazing don’t get me wrong. I feel like the park could manage the traffic and the parking far better. You can spend your whole day trying to find a parking spot and sitting in traffic. Nothing like truly amazing views of the nature while sucking in the exhaust of all the cars idling in traffic. It took us about an hour and a half just to leave the main area of the park. Traffic was at a dead stop most of that time.”

“No parking, too many people, needs to limit number of people in park or provide enough parking for everyone. I did not enjoy, I would rather go to Yellowstone.”

“One of the worst experiences of my life. My family and I frequently drive up to the mountains to get away from the city and rejuvenate a bit. On a whim, we decided to go to Yosemite. Boy was that a mistake.

We essentially sat in a moving parking lot for hours, crawling by in agonizingly slow pace. There was one restroom in the whole of the experience and it was atrocious. I almost threw up.

I’ve never seen a more poorly managed place. It was pathetic. Everyone was miserable and just wanted to go home after this experience. We are never going back and I will tell everyone I can about this experience.

The saddest part is that it all felt very purposeful. Like they wanted us to have a bad time. Because they either want to seperate Yosemite up between the haves and have nots, as per usual in this country, or because they want people to complain so they get the funding for the shuttle buses they want.

Either way it was an awful experience. I’m embarrassed of my state.”

Other reviews are for the crowds … but also, well, who knows:

“Too many people. The granite walls are too tall. Would not recommend.”

“The Park rangers are the worse, I bet if anyone was in any serious trouble like being stranded, they’d probably just die out there. Make sure you are prepared for everything because the rangers will not help you at all!”

“Way overcrowded, Yosemite has turned into the ‘Disneyland’ of national parks. Rude & unhelpful park rangers who refuse to give out directions to guests asking questions, & the restrooms smelled horrible too. Will not be going back anytime soon. It’s sad. I used to love coming here as a kid. The sights were nice.”

“I have been to a lot of national parks and this by far was the worst experience I have ever had at a national park! This place is seriously Disney World with trees and waterfalls. To say it is overcrowded would be a compliment because this place is filled to the brim with annoying tourists who have no regard for the people around them. Oh and don’t get me started on the shuttles! The are annoying at best, they are packed and stinky and this is not how a national park should be seen. The rangers were nice and what is left of the nature is spectacular! But there were so many lodges and people and the construction was super annoying! Like seriously this place does not feel like a national park, it is a tourists trap at best! I really don’t think I would come back and I would for sure not recommend it to anyone! This park is somehow worse than the Smokey mountains and pigeon forge! John Muir is rolling in his grave because this once pristine and peaceful valley is now a gigantic tourist trap labeled a national park!
Oh and I was here on a Wednesday Lord help anyone who comes on a weekend! Oh and parking is terrible like seriously get here as early as possible!!! Oh and as we were leaving there was almost a fight over who got our spot! Save your money and time and do not come here!”

“Throngs of breeders and overpopulators with their screaming kids.”

“This place sucks. No WiFi.”

And we especially like this one:

“Nothing like the Travis Scott song.”


There are some reviews from people, well, trying to be funny?

“Eh. Not God’s best work. Was prolly day seven and he was tired. Or depression period. Grand Canyon was kinda better.”

“Too many trees and big rocks like El Capitan or half dome that I have to climb.
Update: did the four mile trail and it was beautiful but I couldn’t take photos because they didn’t tell me to bring my phone or camera. Also no cell phone service and water. Sorry all, it’s not ADA compliant: there is no elevators or escalators. Also no one was playing with the rattle snake. He looked inviting.”

“Should be renamed yoshemite after our lord and savior yoshi from mushroom kingdom.”

And other reviews reference people going missing?

“People go missing all the time without a trace. KEEP YOUR KIDS IN YOUR SIGHT AT ALL TIMES. NEVER LET ANYONE GO ANYWHERE ALONE NO MATTER HOW SICK THEY FEEL. Be careful, my reason for the 1 star is because they deny it.”

Yosemite National Park – El Capitan

Yosemite One Star Reviews on Yelp

There are over one thousand reviews of Yosemite on Yelp with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.  Of the small percentage of 1-star reviews, many even make mention of Yosemite’s beauty.

Below are some one star reviews of Yosemite National Park from Yelp:

“If i could give it 0 stars i would . Not to the park but to the managment of this whole place. Spent 2.5hrs one way to get here just to come pah $35 to get in and get stuck in traffic that is one way NO uturn for miles long . We already gave up on finding parking spot we just wanted to get out of there , took us 4hrs to get out. Had 3 little kids with us ran out of water and came to find out we cant get our money back cuz they had policy like that. We mentioned that its safety hazard if in case of any emergency situation people will never get out of there and manager said I know but if you want you can mail in a complain . So basically wasted a day to come pay 35 sit 4hrs in traffic and drive for 5hrs . Ridicilous!!!!!!”

“I’m going to be that person. I thought Yosemite National Park totally sucked. I’ve been to quite a few of the National Parks and this was the worst one.

I will never go back to this hell hole.

It was crowded. But crowded can be ok. It’s that the people here were rude. Low class. Scum. Trailer trash. That kind of rude.

I saw people breaking branches off trees to make walking sticks. Collecting pine cones to bring home. Picking up rocks. Throwing trash.

People pushing and shoving. Can’t wait there turn to take a photo. Can’t wait in line. Won’t stay on the trails.

So many people that there are rangers herding people around like cows.

Housing in the Valley was total crap. Reminded me of an African Refugee camp. Soweto.

I did enjoy Glacier Point. But other than that – I think the Park was total crap. Will never go there again.  Big waste of time and money.”

“Bugs! Smokey air! Green stuff and dirt everywhere! The outside world is so terrible. I’d rather spend all of my days couped up in a glass box than go here again. If I were you, stay at the awanee and then get out of dodge.

We didn’t even see any bears on our visit – how lame is that.”

“One time, at Yosemite, I had to go to the bathroom, and it was gross. The line was crazy long, there was no paper inside, and the whole area stank to high heaven. The National Park Service itself confirms that the worst bathroom in the entire system is in Yosemite (at Bridalveil Falls). See? This is what happens when you make a place too popular. Do yourself and everyone else a favor– don’t visit Yosemite anymore.

BTW, the park shuts off some of the waterfalls after mid summer. This is probably due to dwindling Park Service budgets that are spent on toilet paper. Please protest this fiscal mismanagement by STAYING AWAY from Yosemite!

Also, there are bears in Yosemite. They practice breaking into cars. Do you want a bear to break into your car? STAY AWAY!”

Yosemite National Park Waterfall

Yosemite One Star Reviews on Trip Advisor

The Trip Advisor website pushes their sponsored listings, but you can find reviews of the top attractions once you get past the bookings.

So, if you first read about Yosemite before you go, you would know that between July and October there can be many times when the waterfalls are dry, especially if during a drought.  What do you want them to do, have hoses adding water?  It’s nature people, come on!

Below are one star reviews from Trip Advisor, separated by attraction:

Glacier Point:

“Rangers blocked the road and suggest people to take shuttle to the glacier point. I am very regretful that I took the shuttle: 1, shuttle bus do not stop at scenic lookouts and trails, yes, you notice there are nice lookouts while on the bus, but you can’t get off the bus. 2. You waste a lot of time waiting. When there are too many people, you wait for more bus to come. When there are not many people, bus waits to get full! So any way, you have to wait. 3. There ARE plenty of parking on the top. 4. The weather changes rapidly. People took shuttles have to wait in rain.”

Yosemite Valley:

“Small area, Crowded , traffic.Over-rated. Trails to a few water falls that are paved and remind me of being at Disneyland, only with less bathrooms and places to eat . Even the the falls were not that fantastic, especially if you have seen Niagara Falls. You will not have anything near a wilderness experience unless you take off for the backcountry for a few days. Too many tourist . Too many paved walkways and guardrails due to so many tourist. Ski area is small and they don’t make snow so poor coverage. and ice skating area closed at end of February even though they have compressors to make ice. Usually not much snow. No snow play areas to speak of. Just not worth the drive.”

Tunnel View:

“Okay view. Not really worth the traffic and huge numbers of people. I didn’t really understand what everyone was staring at. I didn’t think it was that great. We did the 1.3 mile hike to inspiration point as well- after quite a strenuous hike we were disappointed with the view.

In general- my advice would be to avoid Yosemite completely. It’s a huge tourist trap even in off season- head to mono lake/mammoth lakes instead. Better views and less crowded there.”

Mist Trail:

“The day that my family and I decided to do this trail just so happened to be the wettest day in 5 years! IT WAS NOT A MIST AT ALL! I was like we were in a car wash! I could see how sometimes the trail could be pretty, but for us, it was just downright dangerous!”

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias:

“SPECTACULAR TREES. It’s to bad the NPS has not made accommodations for seniors and the disabled. The only accommodation, is to provide a parking lot that’s available if you have a disability placard. The trails are not wheelchair accessible or elderly friendly. I’m a 66 yr old female in relatively good condition, however it’s a pretty tough walk to get up to the grizzly giant, let alone any further than that. My husband who has a bad back could only walk a short distance. I really find it hard to believe that anyone other than young adults can get the full effect of the awesomeness of the park.”

Yosemite Falls:

“Didn’t realize these magnificent falls dried up. Went in late July and there was no water. just a big cliff.”

Yosemite National Park – Mariposa Grove

Although what other people say won’t always mean that’s how your trip will be, but sometimes these types of reviews can prepare you for your own visit so you know what to expect or when a good time is to travel to Yosemite.

Have you been to Yosemite National Park?  Are any of the above one-star reviews reflective of your experience?  And even if you haven’t yet been to Yosemite, what do you think of these reviews?  Please share your thoughts below!


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