Wilderness Conditions Update

January 6, 2022

General Conditions

Winter has arrived in Yosemite! Yosemite had one of the wettest Decembers on record, with most of that falling as snow. Expect snow in almost all areas in Yosemite at this time, with multiple feet of snow at higher elevations (6,000 ft and up). The snowline is roughly 4,000 ft but is melting in favorable areas at lower elevations. The snow continues to consolidate, but breaking trail in areas of freshly fallen snow will still be required.

Winter travel techniques and skills are a must if you wish to backpack in Yosemite in the next few months. Be prepared to travel and camp in snow in most locations. Travel over snow is slower than hiking and can be very slippery at times. Snowshoes or skis should be used when planning on traveling over snow covered areas. The snow may melt in favorable areas, such as the lower locations and south facing slopes that are exposed to direct sunlight but will likely remain until the spring in most areas above 6,000 ft.

Winter storms can come at any time with heavy snowfall, making travel and navigation very difficult. Always be sure to check a current weather forecast before you start your trip and be prepared for a multitude of conditions.

Ski conditions are listed on the Tuolumne Meadows Ski Conditions page.

Current Closures

All current trail closures are listed on the current conditions page.

Full or partial meadow closures to free-range grazing are in effect at Crescent Lake, Hook Lake North, Isberg Lake, Miller Lake, Rodger's Lake, Turner Meadow, and Upper Kerrick Meadow to align with the 2020 Biological Opinion for Yosemite toads and mountain yellow-legged frogs, and Virginia Canyon - Castle Camp for protection of sensitive vegetation resources. Further guidance is provided in the Superintendent's Compendium; detailed maps of meadow closures are at the stock use page.

Trails in Yosemite may be closed when there are hidden hazards or are impassable due to rock fall, snow, ice, or fire. Open trails are not necessarily free of hazards. By entering the wilderness, you are assuming responsibility for your safety and must use good judgment.

Wilderness Permits

Wilderness permits are required for overnight stays in the Yosemite Wilderness. Permits can be obtained at the following locations:

Wilderness Permit Reservations

Online (help desk available Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm). Reservations are available up to 24 (168 Days) weeks ahead of your entry date.

Yosemite Valley Wilderness Center

Closed for the season. Will reopen May 2022. Wilderness Permits, maps for sale and bear canisters for rent are available at the Valley Visitor Center (open 9 am to 4 pm daily, bookstore for sales and rentals closed on Thanksgiving Day, November 25 and Christmas Day, December 25).

Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center

Closed for the season. Will reopen spring 2022 when Tioga Pass opens. Wilderness permits for the Tuolumne Meadows area are available on the porch (self-registration). Be prepared with your own bear canister. As of October 15, there is no parking along Tioga Road from Tioga Pass to Crane Flat, including all pullouts, parking lots and side roads.

Big Oak Flat Information Station

Closed for the season. Will reopen spring 2022. Wilderness permits for the Tioga Road area are available on the porch (self-registration). Be prepared with your own bear canister. As of October 15, there is no parking along Tioga Road from Tioga Pass to Crane Flat, including all pullouts, parking lots and side roads.

Wawona Visitor Center at Hill's Studio

Closed for the season. Will reopen spring 2022. Wilderness permits for the Glacier Point Road and Wawona areas are available on the porch (self-registration). Be prepared with your own bear canister. As of October 15, there is no parking along Glacier Point Road from Chinquapin to Glacier Point, including all pullouts, parking lots and side roads.

Hetch Hetchy Entrance Station

Hetchy Road is open 8 am to 5 pm. Wilderness permits for the Hetch Hetchy area and bear canister rentals are available at the entrance station. There is no access to Hetch Hetchy beyond open hours (overnight parking is permitted in the overnight parking lot near the backpackers campground).

Food Storage

Bear resistant food canisters are required in the Yosemite Wilderness. Use a canister to store all food or scented items when left unattended. Remember that anything used in, on, or around the body is considered a food item. Whenever food or scented items are out, please keep them within arm's reach, even while day hiking.

If a bear approaches your camp, act immediately to scare it away. Maintain a safe distance while making as much noise as possible. Throw small stones or pines cones toward the bear, being careful not to strike the bear on the head. If the bear returns, repeat. Do not attempt to retrieve food or gear from a bear until it abandons the items.

Last updated: January 6, 2022

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