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Grande cappuccino before El Cap? Starbucks opens in Yosemite

Thousands of people opposed the plan, concerned it would open the door to other unwanted development.


Starbucks is boasting that the floor-to-ceiling windows of its new store in Yosemite National Park “beckon visitors like a campfire amongst the towering ponderosa pines and sequoias.”

As far as we knew, Yosemite didn’t need any help drawing visitors.

More than 25,000 people signed a petition to keep the corporate coffee giant out of the park’s boundaries. And 80 percent of our readers who took a poll opposed the plan in January.

“Multinational corporations have no place in our National Parks,” the petition reads. “The opening of a Starbucks in Yosemite Valley opens the door to further undue development. The Park will lose its essence, making it hardly distinguishable from a chaotic and bustling commercial city.”

But nonetheless, the cafe opened its doors earlier this month as part of the new Base Camp Eatery, catering to those hikers needing a tall-, grande-, or venti-sized caffeine buzz before meandering up the slippery Mist Trail. 

The store has no exterior signage, but everything inside resembles Starbucks.

It is the first Starbucks within a U.S. national park and the first retail location within Yosemite built LEED-certified, according to a Starbucks news release. The space occupies the lodge’s old food court in an original mid-century building, remodeled to preserve the vaulted ceilings, exposed beams, and concrete floors.

“We put a lot of thought into the design,” said Karina Lagace, a store designer from Starbucks design studio in Fountain Valley, California. “We wanted to be respectful to the park and added only what we needed to.”

Starbucks claims that the store’s features draw from the landscape, such as a bar with reclaimed wood from Northern California and metal brackets as a nod to climbing tools.

“Coffee is shared between familiar faces and strangers, and is the common thread that knits people together,” Lagace said. “We hope our store is a place of connection – to nature and to each other.”

We hope customers recycle their cups.

starbucks in yosemite
Starbucks hopes that floor-to-ceiling windows and other elements of the new store inspired by the national park’s landscape will draw visitors to the store.Starbucks