Pioneer Yosemite History Center
Originally scattered in locations around Yosemite National Park, these historic cabins and shops were moved to Wawona in the 1950s and 60s to make way for new developments while also preserving Yosemite’s pioneer past. Visitors can wander around the old buildings and learn about pioneer history through exhibits in the History Center. Visitors can enjoy wagon rides, blacksmith shop demonstrations, and special programs during the summer months.
Things to know before you go
- Learn about Yosemite’s early residents at the Pioneer Yosemite History Center, a family-friendly attraction in the town of Wawona.
- Check out the Wawona Cemetery across the street from the museum and see the gravestones of many Yosemite pioneers.
- The pioneer buildings were built in the 1800s so they are not wheelchair-accessible, but can be admired from the dirt paths that wind through the village.
How to get there
The Pioneer Yosemite History Center is located behind the general store in the town of Wawona, about 4 miles (6.5 kilometers) from Yosemite’s south entrance and about an hour’s drive from Yosemite Valley. Park in the lot by the post office or near the Wawona Visitor Center.
When to get there
Visitors can walk around the historic buildings at the Pioneer Yosemite History Center year-round, but sights like the blacksmith shop and jail are only opening during the summer months. The center is seldom crowded so it makes a great spot to visit while traveling between Mariposa Grove and Yosemite Valley any time of day.
Historic Buildings at the Pioneer Yosemite History Center
The highlight of the Pioneer Yosemite History Center is the Wawona Grey Barn and Covered Bridge. Constructed in 1857, all traffic heading into and out of Yosemite Valley once had to cross this bridge. The center is home to the George Anderson Pioneer Cabin, which is notable for being the first person to climb Half Dome. Here you’ll also find an old blacksmith shop, the Degnan’s Bakery, a cavalry office, ranger cabin, powerhouse, jail, and numerous other homestead cabins.