The Mist Trail is closed due to hazardous conditions from the John Muir Trail junction to the top of Vernal Fall. The 4 Mile Trail above the gate near Union Point is also closed until further notice due to snow and ice.
New program to improve visitor experience and reduce traffic congestion. Reservations Required This Year To See Yosemite ‘Firefall’
Yosemite National Park announces a new program for the Horsetail Fall event taking place from February 12-26, 2018. This program has been created to improve the overall visitor experience to view the natural Horsetail Fall phenomenon that occurs each year in mid-February when the sun’s light at sunset causes the waterfall on El Capitan to glow like it is on fire.
Due to the skyrocketing popularity of the Natural Firefall, which now attracts thousands of spectators, Yosemite National Park is testing some new rules for 2018.
From February 12 – 26, the park service is creating a restricted zone from Yosemite Valley Lodge to El Capitan Crossover. This zone offers some of the best views of Horsetail Fall. This pilot program was created to reduce traffic jams, which have become a problem in recent years.
All visitors can enter the restricted zone on foot. To park inside the zone, you must obtain one of 300 free permits (250 available online, 50 first-come, first-served).
Free parking reservations for each day of the event will be available online, beginning on Saturday February 3, 2018 at 9:00 am PST. To book a parking reservation, visit https://2018horsetailfall.eventbrite.com/.
250 parking reservations (a parking reservation is good for a carload of passengers) will be available for each day of the event through EventBrite. 50 first come, first served permits will be available each day from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at The Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Village.
All online reservation holders will need to bring a printed copy of their reservation confirmation in person to The Ansel Adams Gallery between 9:00 am to 3:00 pm to pick up their vehicle Parking Permit for the event on the day of the reservation. Any permits not picked up by 3:00 pm will be forfeited.
Visitors interested in walking to the event site are encouraged to park in the Yosemite Falls Day Parking Area, park at El Capitan Meadow, or ride the free park shuttle to Shuttle Stop #7 and walk into the event site approximately 1.2 miles one way.
Yosemite Hospitality, Inc., the park’s primary concessioner, will be offering naturalist-guided tours each day for a fee to the Horsetail Fall Event. To learn more please visit https://www.travelyosemite.com/.
Visitors who plan to get to Yosemite Valley using the Yosemite Area Regional Transit System (YARTS) should review the YARTS schedule at www.yarts.com to make sure that you do not miss the last bus of the day. The closest YARTS stop to the event is located at Yosemite Valley Lodge. YARTS buses will not be picking up visitors in the event zone.
To reduce traffic congestion in the event zone and to ensure easy visitor access to Yosemite Valley, the park will convert Southside Drive to two-way traffic from El Capitan Crossover to Sentinel Bridge. No roadside parking will be permitted while two-way traffic is in place for the safety of both pedestrians and motorists.
On Northside Drive, the left-hand traffic lane in the event zone will remain open as an exit route for YARTS buses, commercial buses, and other vehicles exceeding 25’ in length.
The Department of Interior sent the guidance shortly after 7 a.m. Saturday, hours after Congress failed to reach an agreement on a spending bill to fund federal operations.
Each park will post signage which starts: “Due to the lapse in federal appropriations, the National Park Service (NPS) is unable to fully staff the properties under its management. It is not feasible to close or otherwise prohibit all access to NPS properties. Park visitors are advised to use extreme caution if choosing to enter NPS property, as NPS personnel will not be available to provide guidance, assistance, maintenance, or emergency response. Any entry onto NPS property during this period of federal government shutdown is at the visitor’s sole risk.”
Gediman stressed that park visitors would enter at their own risk and emergency response would be delayed with the limited staffing. However those with camping reservations could still camp, just with few amenities and park employees to assist them.
Yosemite’s concessionaire, Yosemite Hospitality, has agreed to stay open. However, each national park is dealing with its concessions operations on an individual basis.
With no rangers manning the front gates, visitors Saturday could enter the park without paying the usual $30 car fee, said park ranger Scott Gediman.
“The majority of employees signed a form today and were sent home,” Gediman said. “The gates are open, but there’s no ranger programs, no visitor center … no trash collection, no restrooms.”
Statement by Congressman Tom McClintock on Shutdown Contingencies
I have received assurances from the Secretary of the Interior... Entrances to the parks will remain open and businesses within the parks may continue to operate under contingency plans now being finalized with the Park Service. The medical clinic at Yosemite Valley will remain open and public safety personnel will remain on duty. Reservations will continue to be honored at concession venues and the parks will be administered with the objective of causing the least inconvenience and discomfort to park visitors.
The 4 Mile Trail will be closed until further notice at the Union Point gate beginning at 1700 on Thursday January 18. The Mist Trail along the Vernal Fall steps will be closed until further notice beginning at 1700 on Thursday January 18. The John Muir Trail from Clark Point to the Panorama Trail Junction will remain closed until further notice.
A winter storm is almost here, and we're expecting rain and snow in Yosemite Valley. If you're visiting on Friday, bring tire chains and watch for rocks while driving. Call 209/372-0200 (then 1, 1) to check on road conditions.
The Half Dome Village Ice Rink is closed today January 4th due to a mechanical issue with the Zamboni. Reopening is anticipated on January 5th. Please note that the ice rink will now offer night skating. Purchase ice skating tickets at the Half Dome Village Tour & Activity Desk adjacent to the Registration Office.
Hours of operation as of 1/9/18:
Mon-Fri: 1:30pm to 7:00pm
Sat/Sun: 12:00pm to 9:00pm
The Half Dome Village Ice Rink will open for the season on Saturday, December 16th. The ice rink is now located back in its original spot near the Huff Housing area, near Half Dome Village, formerly Curry Village.
There is currently no lighting available for night skating, so the rink will be open during daylight hours only. Skating will be available from 9am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday, then noon to 4pm during the weekdays.
An updated schedule will be sent out as soon as the lights are installed.
The Tioga and Glacier Point Roads in Yosemite National Park are closed for the season, due to hazardous driving conditions. Recent winter storm activity throughout Yosemite National Park has resulted in snow accumulation above 6,000 feet. Glacier Point and Tioga Roads close each fall, when snow and ice create hazardous driving conditions, and remain closed throughout the winter months until weather conditions permit reopening in the spring.
Yosemite National Park is open year-round with snow removal on all other roads within the park. All roads within the park are subject to chain control or temporary closures due to hazardous driving conditions. All motorists are required to carry tire chains, even if their car is equipped with four-wheel drive, while driving in the park during the winter months.
The closing date for the Glacier Point Store & Snack Stand has been extended to Sunday, October 22nd. The closing date for the Yosemite Valley Lodge Bike Stand has been extended to Sunday, November 12th.
2017 Total Bear Incidents: 33 2017 Total Property Damage: $2,546 Compared to this same week 2016 (the lowest year on record for bear incidents), bear incidents in 2017 are up by 3% while bear damages are down by 47%. Compared to 1998 (when incidents in the park peaked), bear incidents in 2017 are down by 98%, and damages are down by 99%.
Bear Activity Summary: Bear activity has remained relatively slow in Yosemite this month, likely because they are taking advantage of the abundance of natural foods. Bear activity has, however, picked up at the Crane Flat campground. In the past week there have been numerous bear sightings and one bear incident that resulted in a damaged tent while people were away from their campsite. Please remember that even when you don’t see a bear, they could be very near by. Store any food or scented item (including sealed items) in a secured food storage locker while camping in Yosemite. Never in your tent or vehicle.
Residents and locals (or anyone who lives in bear habitat): please remember that there is often an increase in bear incidents and sightings in neighborhoods in the fall as bears are looking for high calorie foods to fatten up for hibernation. Please keep all doors and windows closed and latched in unoccupied homes and offices. Additionally, pick any remaining fruit from your fruit trees, and make sure other attractants are not stored outside your home. Although it’s always fun to see a bear, a bear in the neighborhood is at risk getting into trouble quickly.
Red Bear, Dead Bear: So far, 20 bears have been hit by vehicles. Please help protect wildlife by obeying speed limits and being prepared to stop for animals in roadways.
Fascinating Bear Fact: The home range of the black bear can depend on food source availability, season, and gender. Males generally range between 8-60 square miles, while females can range between 1-15 square miles.
Other Wildlife Sightings: Mountain lion observations have been reported recently in El Portal. For more information on mountain lions in Yosemite National Park, please visit the National Park Service website, http://www.nps.gov/yose/naturescience/mountainlion.htm
The total amount of water flowing past the USGS Merced River Pohono Bridge gauge in water year 2017 was the most recorded since gauge installation in 1916 (101 years of record). Flows totaled 1.16 million acre-feet surpassing the previous record of 1.06 million acre-feet recorded in 1983. The water year is defined as October 1st of the previous year through September 30th of the current year. Other large years in descending order were 1995, 2011, and 1969.
After a 2 year-long restoration project led by the National Park service, Mariposa Grove will reopen to visitors in November 2017. Featuring new hiking trails and a consolidated parking area, the many improvements will revive the grove's ecology and strength for years to come.
Yosemite National Park is experiencing high fire danger along with continued hot and dry weather patterns. Due to current and predicted fire conditions and fire behavior the Superintendent of Yosemite National Park will be implementing Stage 1 fire restrictions until further notice is given.
By order of the Superintended of Yosemite National Park and under authority of Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 2.13 (c):
No building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, or cooking fire (including charcoal fires) within Yosemite Wilderness below 6,000 feet in elevation. "Sierra" (twig) stoves are not permitted. Portable stoves using pressurized gas, liquid fuel or propane are permitted as are alcohol stoves (with and without a shutoff valve) including alcohol tablet/cube stoves.
No smoking below 6,000 feet except within an enclosed vehicle, a building in which smoking is allowed, a campground or picnic area where wood and charcoal fires are allowed or in designated smoking area.
Campfires and cooking fires may still be used in designated campgrounds, picnic areas, and residential areas in developed portions of the park in accordance with park regulations.
Designated Picnic Areas: Lambert Dome, Tenaya Lake, Yosemite Creek, Wawona, Mariposa Grove, Glacier Point, Cascade, El Capitan, Cathedral Beach, Sentinel Beach, Swing Bridge, Church Bowl, and Lower Yosemite Falls.
There are no administrative exemptions to this order. This designation will remain in place until rescinded.
Tuolumne Meadows Campground opened August 1st. This campground is 1/2 Reservation and 1/2 first come, first served (FCFS), except for the 4 Horse and 7 Group Sites. Hopeful campers must go directly to the campground office to secure a regular, 6 person FCFS site. Horse camp reservations are only available by calling rec.gov directly (877-444-6777); Group Site reservations may be booked via www.recreation.gov, calling 877-444-6777 or at any campground office. The campground office will normally be open from 9AM to 5PM, seven days per week. Currently, their phones do not work, but they do have internet access. For questions about Tuolumne, please email email@example.com or call Eric Bissmeyer at 372-0331.
Bridalveil Creek Campground also opened August 1st. This campground is FCFS, except for the 3 Horse and 2 Group Sites. Campers must go directly to the campground to obtain a regular, six-person site. Horse camp reservations are only available by calling rec.gov directly (877-444-6777); Group Site reservations may be booked via www.recreation.gov, calling 877-444-6777 or at any campground office. Please advise Bridalveil campers to conserve water/flushing at this campground to help keep leach fields from backing up. If you have questions about Bridalveil, please contact the Wawona CG office at 375-9535.
WASHINGTON – In order to meet requirements set by legislation passed by Congress in December 2016, the price of the America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass will increase from $10 to $80. The change will take effect August 28, 2017. Pass holders are given lifetime access to more than 2,000 sites and parks. The fee increase will support critical investments in maintenance projects at national parks and federal recreational lands nationwide.
The Senior Pass has cost $10 since 1994. Until August 28, U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are 62 years or older can purchase the lifetime Senior Pass for $10. Previously purchased lifetime Golden Age or Senior Passes will be honored for the lifetime of the pass holder.
The legislation requires that the price of the lifetime Senior Pass be the same as the Inter-agency Annual Pass, which is currently $80. The legislation also introduces a new annual Senior Pass that can be purchased for $20. Seniors who purchase annual Senior Passes for four years can trade them in for a lifetime Senior Pass at no additional charge.
The Tioga Road in Yosemite National Park (Highway 120 through the park) will open for the season to all vehicular traffic beginning at 8:00 am on Thursday, June 29, 2017. There will be limited visitor services available from the Tioga Pass Entrance Station to Crane Flat. Tioga Road will open for bicycle and pedestrian users at 8:00 am Wednesday, June 28, 2017.
All visitors on the road are encouraged to use caution as there may be dirt, debris, and water flowing over sections of the road. Visitors are encouraged to keep an eye out for maintenance vehicles working on the roadway.
The Tioga Road in Yosemite National Park (Highway 120 through the park) remains closed to all vehicular traffic, including bicycles. Melting snow is causing water to run over the road in multiple locations, creating a safety hazard. Park staff and partners continue to conduct necessary repairs to power, communications, water, and sewer systems along the Tioga Road following a record-breaking year for winter snow pack.
The park is diligently working to ensure that adequate sanitation facilities are in place to meet visitor needs and to protect the water quality in the Tuolumne River watershed. Due to safety and sanitation concerns, Tioga Road will remain closed until the impacted power, communications, water and sewer systems are operational to meet the needs of park staff and visitors. There is no anticipated opening date at this time.
April snow surveys indicated that in the high elevation regions of Yosemite, the park saw the highest snow pack on record. In many locations above 8,000 feet in elevation, the snow pack measured over 200 percent of average (based on water content). The increased snow pack has resulted in a late opening of the Tioga Road for the summer season. Warm summer weather has led to increased melting of the snow pack, resulting in high water levels that are fluctuating daily.
Anyone planning to hike or backpack in the higher elevations of Yosemite should be prepared for winter hiking and camping conditions. Trails are still impacted by snow and ice. River crossings are high and swift moving. There are several high water areas currently impacting the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and the John Muir Trail (JMT) in Yosemite National Park. Anyone planning a trip on the PCT through Yosemite should use caution and be prepared to turn back in the event of high water crossings.
All visitors planning to hike or camp in the high elevation regions of Yosemite are urged to be prepared for snowy conditions and possible treacherous stream crossings while hiking in wilderness areas this summer season. Stream crossings on the PCT, JMT and other trails can be deceiving and should be avoided until water levels decrease.
There will be limited visitor services available at Glacier Point. The Glacier Point Store will be open at 10:00 am on Friday, May 12, 2017. There is no projected opening date for the Bridalveil Creek Campground.
Due to a historically-high snow pack, visitors planning to hike on any trails along the Glacier Point Road should be prepared for winter hiking conditions. Most trails remain covered in snow. In these conditions, it is very easy to lose one’s way and hike off trail.
The Four Mile Trail is open from Yosemite Valley to Union Point. The trail remains closed from Glacier Point down to Union Point due to unstable ice sheets.
Visitors are encouraged to slow down and drive with caution along all park roads, as bears and other wildlife may be present on or near the roadway. Drivers should be aware of potential hazards in the road, including wet and icy conditions or debris in the roadway.
The bike rental stands are open daily from 10 am – 6 pm weather dependent. For more information go to http://www.travelyosemite.com/things-to-do/biking.
Between now and Memorial Day, contractors will install culverts between El Capitan X-Over and Pohono Bridge on Northside Drive. They will completely close one lane during the week with rare 30 minute delays of both lanes. Expect slow traffic during the evening commute. No work will take place on weekends.