Wilderness Conditions

December 16, 2015

General Conditions

Winter has arrived in Yosemite so expect winter conditions throughout the park. Snow amounts range from a few inches at 4,000 ft to over a foot at 6,000 ft and up to 4 ft at higher elevations. Though snow amounts may seem modest, even a little bit of snow can obscure all indications of a trail, making navigation difficult. Further, travel over snow is generally slower than hiking and can be very slippery at times. While some sections of trails can be wet and muddy at times, but please stay on trails to prevent multiple trails from forming.

Be prepared for freezing temperatures at night and cool temperatures during the day. Except for the lower elevations and exposed areas, plan to camp in the snow. Winter storms can come at any time with heavy snowfall, making travel and navigation 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 Badger Pass Ski Conditions or the Tuolumne Meadows Ski Conditions pages.

Current Closures

Current trail closures are listed on the current conditions page.

Due to increasing bear activity along the Snow Creek trail and the potential for bear/human interactions the area to the south and east of the footbridge [3.3 MB pdf] will be closed to overnight camping. The National Park Service will continue to monitor the bears' activity and will re-open the area to camping as soon as possible. The trails and areas are open to day hiking.

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.

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

Yosemite Valley Wilderness Center

Closed for the season and will reopen May 2016. Permits, bear canister rentals and maps are available at the Visitor Center 9 am to 5 pm daily.

Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center

Closed for the season. Will reopen in May or June 2016, depending on the opening of Tioga Road. Permits are self-registration on the front porch of the wilderness center. Note, that there is no overnight parking anywhere along Tioga Road starting on October 15 until the road opens in the spring. This includes all parking lots, pullouts and trailheads along the road.

Big Oak Flat Information Station

Closed for the season. Will reopen in May 2016. Self registration permits for Tioga Road permits are available on the front porch. For permits for Little Yosemite Valley and other Yosemite Valley permits, please visit the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center. Note, that there is no overnight parking anywhere along Tioga Road starting on October 15 until the road opens in the spring. This includes all parking lots, pullouts and trailheads along the road.

Wawona Visitor Center at Hill's Studio

Closed for the season. Will reopen in May 2016. Self registration permits for Wawona area and Glacier Point Road permits are available on the front porch. For permits for Little Yosemite Valley and other Yosemite Valley permits, please visit the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center. Note, that there is no overnight parking anywhere along Glacier Point Road starting on October 15 until the road opens in the spring. This includes all parking lots, pullouts and trailheads along the road.


Hetch Hetchy Entrance Station

Hetch Hetchy road hours are 8 am to 5 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.

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