Tioga & Glacier Point Roads Closed for the Winter
The Tioga Road (Highway 120 through the park) and Glacier Point Road are closed due to snow; they usually reopen late May or June. You can check on current road conditions by calling 209/372-0200 (press 1 then 1). More »
As is true of all mountainous regions, weather in the Sierra Nevada can change rapidly at any time of the year. Elevation plays a major role in temperature and precipitation variability. Since Yosemite varies in elevation from 2,000 feet to over 13,000 feet, the lower foothills of the park can be experiencing the rebirth of spring while the higher elevations remain in the grip of winter. The higher you go, the colder and more temperamental the climate gets. March, April, October, and November are transitional months when warm, sunny days can suddenly become stormy. Although summer in the Sierra is known for its sunny days, it is not unheard of for clouds to build up suddenly, creating a downpour that could last a few hours or several days. See descriptions below for more information on each season.
The Glacier Point Road is plowed to the Badger Pass Ski Area from mid December through March. The Glacier Point Road typically reopens around the end of May or early June.
Once the roads reopen, there may still be significant snow and water on trails in the area; most facilities do not open for a few weeks after the roads open.
In addition, overnight parking is prohibited on the Tioga Road and Glacier Point Road beyond Badger Pass beginning October 15 each year. Overnight parking is available at Badger Pass from October 15 until the road closes (usually in late October or early November). Overnight parking is again available at Badger Pass from around mid December through March (when the ski area is open).
Travelers coming to Yosemite during late fall, winter, and early spring should carry tire chains in their cars, as they may become mandatory on park roads at any time.
For information on current snow pack conditions, visit the California Cooperative Snow Survey website. (River drainages in Yosemite are the Tuolumne and Merced Rivers, courses 157 through 180.)
Did You Know?
The Merced River above Nevada Fall and South Fork Merced River above Wawona, numerous small meadows and adjacent riparian habitats occur. Owing their existence to the river and its annual flooding, these habitats help support eight special status animal species: harlequin ducks, black swifts, bald eagles, osprey, willow flycatchers, yellow warbler, western red bat, and Sierra Nevada mountain beaver.