There’s good news and bad news for anybody hoping to visit Yosemite National Park anytime soon.
First, the good news is amazing. Yosemite has partially reopened after officials were forced to close the park when up to 15 feet of snow fell in the area.
Now the bad news for hopeful visitors. While the park has reopened, it is with what park officials call “limited services and access.”
“This has been a herculean effort by crews of the National Park Service and Yosemite Hospitality,” Scott Gediman, park spokesperson, said, according to SFGate. “They’ve been clearing roads, clearing walkways around the buildings, and digging out fire hydrants.”
Here’s why reopening has been such a monumental task at Yosemite.
“Since February 21, when the series of storms started, Yosemite Valley has received over 21 inches of liquid precipitation and Tuolumne Meadows has received over 15 feet of new snow,” Yosemite park officials wrote on Instagram in a post that also included a video of heavy equipment clearing roads of rockslide debris. “The park has documented 22 rockslides, debris flows, and other slope failures along park roads during this time, most of which have been mitigated.”
The Current Situation
“Conditions in Yosemite are very snowy,” according to the National Park Service. “Yosemite Valley is open with very limited services available.”
If you plan to visit Yosemite soon, here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect.
“While several miles of paved pedestrian paths in Yosemite Valley are plowed, all hiking trails are covered in snow,” the National Park Service explains. “Wear waterproof boots and traction devices as even plowed paths can be icy. Hiking on snow-covered trails is not recommended.”
For instance, in the Yosemite Valley Area, the Lower Yosemite Fall Loop Trail is open but the off-trail areas remain closed.
Meanwhile, Mist Trail from its junction with the John Muir Trail above Vernal Fall footbridge to the top of Vernal Fall is closed due to icy conditions. Plus, the John Muir Trail between Clark Point and Panorama Trail junction remains closed due to what the National Park Service calls “dangerously icy conditions.”
In the Wawona and Mariposa Grove Area, the trail from Mariposa Grove toward Wawona is closed.
The Crane Flat to Tuolumne Meadows Area, Soda Springs Road, and Lembert Dome picnic area are closed.
The only way to get to Yosemite is by taking Highway 140.
El Portal Road and Yosemite Valley Roads are now open. Hetch Hetchy Road is also open, but only between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Wawona Road, which is the continuation of Highway 41 from Fresno, is closed. Big Oak Flat Road and Tioga Road are also still closed.
You can learn more about current conditions and road closures here.
While Yosemite has reopened, it is with what officials call “limited” overnight lodging.
“Campgrounds are still buried in snow and will not reopen immediately,” according to the National Park Service.
Know Before You Go
Park officials also note that other services and areas of the park will reopen as the recovery efforts continue.
“Visitors should be prepared for the possibility of road closures and tire chain requirements,” the National Park Service continued.
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