Destroyed by fire in 1991, this area is coming back; however...

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Welcome to Foresta!

It's hot, dusty, desolate and ugly.

September 1999


May 26, 2007.

There's a bit more green vegetation on the ground, but it's still pretty bleak.


Back at the turn of the century, (1900) there were two communities that were in existence in the Eastern and Southern areas before Yosemite was declared a National Park. These communities were grandfathered in to what is now essentially private land ownership within the national park.  These lands are presently owned by private homeowners on a fee-simple, grant-deed basis as opposed to the more common form of ownership in these situations, a 99-year lease. Wawona, located 5 minutes from the south gate, is one such area with about 150 homeowners, and Foresta, in the foothills at the far western edge of the park just above El Portal, is the other with far fewer homes, about 25 or 30.

In 1990, a huge forest fire swept through the western part of the park, burning for almost a week before dying out.  You will travel through the burned areas along the Highway 41 route into the park, that is, coming from the south gate.

Current Status

This fire destroyed about 90% of the Foresta area.  Foresta used to be gorgeous.  Tall, green trees, lots of shade, a deep forest.  The fire did not destroy the large meadow with the two beautiful barns that reside on it, and these are still a sight to behold.  The roads in Foresta have undergone a major improvement project.  Though still dirt, they have been graded and a layer of fine gravel has been laid down resulting in roads that are much improved AND with much less dust than before.  Previously, there were deep ruts, large rocks protruding and they were very, very dusty.

All of the burned-down houses have been removed, and there have been many new houses built in their place.  These are attractive homes anyone would be happy to rent. See photos below.

HOWEVER: Foresta is different from most other accommodations in the park.  It's at a lower elevation, and is considerably warmer than the rest of the park.  But, it's a wide-open area and you will have a great view of the surrounding mountains and sky.  It is tomb-quiet, and you'll get plenty of peace and quiet, 24 hours a day.

The home you rent in Foresta is likely to be quite nice, and, admittedly, you can see Half Dome and El Capitan from the front porch of many of these new homes, but the surrounding landscape is not as pretty as in past years.  However, at night you will have a supernatural view of the heavens...  and, again, it's quiet as a tomb.

Other People's Opinions

Here's an opinion from someone who has owned property up there for many years:

"I do agree with you about how Foresta looks, but I think that it is a very unique place.  We own a cabin there where I have spent most of my childhood and plan to spend a lot more time as I get older.  We rebuilt our cabin and added indoor plumbing (yeah!) have also replanted a lot of trees.  The people that live in Foresta are people that have owned property there forever, just like my grandparents.  I know that Foresta is not a great place to spend an ideal Yosemite  vacation if you want the forest scenery, but it gets you away from the hustle and bustle your home/work life.  I wonder if you even know how many years we had to fight with the National Park to even get to our own land to rebuild.  They were very set in not letting us rebuild and the park wanted to taking over our property and extending the boundaries of Yosemite.  Also, there have been a lot of rumors that the park let our cabins burn down because they want us out of Yosemite.  Maybe that's why people are so outraged as to why you are degrading Foresta.  It's a place our family loves to go regardless of the scenery because it's our "little piece of heaven".  Not many people own property in Yosemite, that's why we take so much pride in our ownership.  We plan to stay there as long as our generations of family last, so we don't care if you like it or not, but there is no reason to exploit it and give everyone a bad feeling about the area.  There is still forested areas in Forest, but you probably didn't make it far enough since you were complaining about the roads!  Hope maybe you decide to change your site and not concentrate on the negative things that Forest has to offer!  And you don't have to worry about me not responding to add some positive aspects to your site, because I will respond to it!

Thanks ~"



...and another opinion:


"...Our family made a last minute decision to visit Yosemite as part of a California business trip my husband was taking. With such late notice, the only DNC housing available in the Valley was Curry tent cabins or Housekeeping Camp and with the cool nighttime temps we decided we wanted walls.  But because we wanted to be close to the valley, I hesitantly rented a house in Foresta, in spite of your warning, mostly because of proximity and I figured we'd be there mostly at night.

Well, we were greatly and very pleasantly surprised. Once you get over the "pin cushion" look of the burned trees, Foresta turned out to be a great place to stay! So much closer than Yosemite West, where we have rented in the past or the Redwoods (which is too far away, too crowded and too expensive),  the seclusion and the peace and quiet were amazing to find so close to the Valley. An added bonus was I didn't have to worry about my kids wandering off in the woods, thanks to Foresta's open landscape.  The house and Foresta were so nice we spent more daytime hours there than I had anticipated.

...The trees are small but the landscape was quite green, even in dry Sept, we saw lots of wildlife and the roads were in excellent condition, mostly paved and some well graded gravel. It was one of our best Yosemite experiences (and I have visited Yosemite often over a 30 year period) and we look forward to returning to the same rental house in the Spring to see some waterfall action (it was the first time I had ever seen Yosemite Falls completely dry--shocking.)

Foresta is a different experience but not at all an unpleasant one, just the opposite in fact. Yosemite's biggest drawback is it is so overrun with people (unless you go Dec-Feb) but to find a place so quiet and unpopulated, but still so close to the Valley was like a dream come true as far as I was concerned.

Or maybe you should leave  your website as is and keep Foresta an amazing Yosemite secret."

Barb B.
(native Californian, currently in Chesapeake, Virginia)


"My friends and I love to stay there ([Foresta] and want to be able to get the houses we want when we want them. It is a bit open and not quite recovered but címon, compared to some of your other options, it is fantastic. Peace and quite, away from the Valley floor yet close enough to get into the craziness if you want. And, compared to Valley prices, it is a deal. And, compared to options like Oakhurst or El Portal Ė well, if you think Foresta is ugly I canít imagine what you must think of these places."

Kim K
(Los Angeles)


The trees are growing back.



2007 Update

Foresta will appeal to someone looking for the wide open spaces.  Where you can stand on your porch and see WAY off in the distance.  You will see spectacular sunsets and sunrises.  As mentioned, star-gazing is incredible here.  It is improving, and thankfully, the roads are finally passable.


A much-improved gravel surface has been installed keeping the dust down and improving the ride.  They have even installed properly constructed water bars to prevent erosion. 

It's about time!  WAY overdue.


Great views!


This is the view from a lot I have my eye on.  Notice Half Dome and El Capitan on the horizon.


Trees are starting to grow back and attain height.


What a great sign!


It's still a relatively ugly area of the park, although it is improving.


Although vastly improved, it's still rather denuded of forest.


A very nice log cabin has been built in view of...


...El Capitan and Half Dome.