Wilderness Conditions

July 24, 2015

General Conditions

Despite a historically dry and warm winter in Yosemite water is still available throughout the park with almost all named streams and creeks flowing at this time thanks to a very wet July. However, smaller seasonal streams and creeks are dry and smaller named streams and creeks may soon dry up. Additionally, without continued thunderstorms, more water sources may soon dry up. Due to the drought stage 1 fire restrictions are in effect. Wildflowers are still blooming but are past their summer peak. Mosquitoes are still present but are nearly gone.

Be aware of the current weather forecast as well as monitoring the weather when you are hiking. Afternoon thunderstorms are often a possibility in the Sierra during summer. Thunderstorms can form rapidly and unexpectedly, bringing localized heavy rain, strong winds, much cooler temperatures and lightning. Additionally, summer can also bring high temperatures. To help prevent heat related illnesses or injures, be aware of the current forecast, avoid hiking during the hottest part of the day, drink plenty of water and eat salty snacks throughout the day.

Park Area Trails & Landmarks Trail Conditions
Valley Rims North Rim from Old Big Oak Flat to Mirror Lake The trails along the north rim are clear and open. The creeks on the north rim are generally flowing. These include Yosemite, Ribbon, Cascade, Lehamite, Indian Canyon, and Snow Creeks, but expect worsening water availability, particularly if Yosemite does not receive further thunderstorms. Ribbon Creek in particular is low flowing and will dry up quickly without further rain. Royal Arch Creek is dry.
Glacier Point Rd Ostrander Lake;McGurk Meados; Glacier Point to Illilouette; Trails are clear and open. The Ostrander Lake Trail is dry between the small creek crossing near the trailhead and the lake, but a detour can be made to Bridalveil Creek for water. McGurk Meadow is filled with flowers and water can be found in McGurk Meadows, Bridalveil Creek, the small creek crossing immediately west of Bridalveil and in the Meadow Brook (upstream from the crossing). Mosquitoes are nearly gone.
South End Chilnualna Falls: Cresecent/Royal Arch/Johnson Lakes Trails are clear. Chilnualna Creek is flowing at both crossings above the falls and Alder Creek has some water available. Mosquitoes are declining but expect some near the Crescent/Royal Arch Lake areas.
Hetch Hetchy Laurel Lake; Lake Vernon; Tiltill Vally; Poopenaut Valley; Rancheria Falls Trails are clear and accessible. Water is available only in named creeks. Be prepared for long sections of trails that are dry. Trails in Beehive Meadows area and north of Tiltill Valley are overgrown in sections. Gnats (also known as face flies) are abundant.
Tuolumne Area - South of Tioga Rd Sunrise Lakes, Cathedral Lakes, Lyell Canyon, Donohue Pass,
Rafferty Creek and Vogelsang
In general, all named streams still have water. The outlet streams of the Sunrise Lakes have a few inches of water at the crossings and the stream between Sunrise Lakes and Clouds Rest has water as well. The creek in Long Meadow is flowing well, as is the stream going through Sunrise High Sierra Camp. Rafferty Creek though not flowing has large pools of water. These sources may become dry quickly unless we continue to have thunderstorms. Horse flies and other species of fly are a current nuisance, but mosquitoes are nearly gone.
Tuolumne Area - North of Tioga Rd Glen Aulin; Gaylor Lakes; Young Lakes; Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne The PCt north of Tioga Road is starting to dry out. McCabe Creek is almost dry and there is no reliable water source in Cold Canyon. However, most other named creeks have flowing water.
Tioga Road North Ten Lakes and Harden Lake Water is available along the May Lake and Ten Lakes loop. This includes the stream 2 miles north of the Ten Lakes Trailhead and the South Fork of Cathedral Creek and the small streams near Tuolumne Peak. The South Fork of the Tuolumne River has about 4" of water in it. Harden Lake is low and of poor drinking quality. Morrison Creek, on the way down to Pate Valley, has very little water.
John Muir Trail JMT Due to recent rain the park has received, names streams are flowing well and some seasonally marked streams will have water for several days. Bears have been extremely active around Sunrise Creek and in Lyell Canyon. Make sure all your food and other scented items fit in your bear canister, particularly on the first night of your trip. The trail is exceptionally busy with humans, though mosquitoes are mostly gone.

Current Closures

Current trail closures are listed on the current conditions page.


The trail to Rancheria Falls is open only to foot traffic for an undetermined amount of time east of Wapama Falls due to a large rockfall.

See a map of trails that are currently cleared of downed trees. Be aware that though most trees fall in the stormy winter months, trees can fall at any time of year and may cover some trails that have been cleared.

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

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

Wilderness Permit Reservations

The reservation office is open for the season. Reservations are available up to 24 (168 Days) weeks ahead of your entry date.

Yosemite Conservancy staff will be available Monday to Friday to process wilderness permit reservations for this year. Fax is still the preferred method for reserving wilderness permits. The fax machine is functioning well and is receiving permit applications as fast as we can process them.

Yosemite Valley Wilderness Center

Open 8 am to 5 pm daily. Bear canisters available to rent and maps and books for sale.

Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center

Open 8 am to 5 pm daily. Bear canisters available to rent and limited maps and books for sale.

Big Oak Flat Information Station

Open 8 am to 5 pm daily. Bear canisters available to rent and maps and books for sale.

Wawona Visitor Center at Hill's Studio

Open 8:30 am to 5 pm daily. Bear canisters available to rent and maps and books for sale.

Hetch Hetchy Entrance Station

Hetch Hetchy road hours are 7 am to 9 pm. Permits and bear canisters may only be obtained during open hours. 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.

Did You Know?