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  • Yosemite is open, but some wilderness trails are closed due to the Meadow Fire

    The Meadow Fire is burning southeast of Yosemite Valley. Some trails are closed and some areas of the park may be smoky at times. More »

Wilderness Conditions

September 11, 2014

General Conditions

Due to the Meadow Fire there are a number of trail closures in effect. Additionally, smoke impacts maybe possible throughout the park though precise impacts depend on location, wind direction and time of day.

Fall is rapidly approaching in Yosemite. This can be a wonderful time to backpack in Yosemite. Overall trail conditions are excellent. Be prepared for cooler and longer nights while at times days can still be hot. Be aware of the current weather forecast as well as monitoring the weather where you are hiking. Though less common in September, thunderstorms can still occur. High temperatures are another concern for hikers. Be sure to drink plenty of water and eat snacks while hiking.

Water availability is a major concern in this drought year. Yosemite has experienced significant thunderstorm activity in July and August preventing many creeks from drying out. At this time all named creeks are still have water, either flowing water or standing pools to filter from. Some smaller creeks are drying rapidly and maybe dry in a few weeks. Seasonal unnamed creeks are now dry. This information is provided to you as a guide to trip planning, but ultimately it is up to you to be prepared for conditions you may encounter.

Park Area Trails (Landmarks included in Description) Trail Conditions
Valley Rims
North Rim from Snow Creek to Tamarack Creek
South Rim from Glacier Pt to Wawona Tunnel
All trails are passable. The Yosemite Wilderness is experiencing a significant drought. Yosemite Creek, Lehamite Creek, Indian Canyon and Snow Creek have flowing water or standing pools to Filter from. Royal Arch Creek and Eagle Creek are dry. All creeks west of Eagle Creek are likely dry or have minimal stagnant pools.

The trail from Lukens Lake to Yosemite Creek remains closed due to the Dark Hole Fire. The trail from Yosemite Creek Campground to Yosemite Creek is open but be cautious of hazards in burned areas. Smoke impacts from the fire are minimal.

Glacier Point Road Illilouette Creek basin, Ostrander Lake All trails passable. Illilouette Creek is crossable. As in all areas of the park, unnamed ephermal streams are likely dry. The lakes of the Red Peak Pass area have plentiful water.
South End Chilnualna Creek drainage, Chain Lakes All trails passable. All creeks are crossable (6 inches deep or less). Unnamed streams are dry, while named creeks are trickling or standing pools of water. Buck Creek has water, is running slowly. The inlet to Johnsonn Lake is not running but has stagnant pools. The creek crossings between Royal Arches Lake and Buena Vista Lake are not running but do have puddles at the crossing. The creek south of Merced Pass is not running but has puddles.
Hetch Hetchy Rancheria Creek, Tiltill drainage, lower Falls Creek and Miguel Meadows Falls and Tilden Creeks are flowing with many deep pools. No water is available along the Tiltill Canyon trail, below 7,500 feet, until Rancheria Falls. Tiltill Creek is at a low flow. Frog Creek and Wapama Falls are very low, but water is accessible.
Tuolumne Mdws Area
(South of Tioga Rd)
Lyell Canyon, Rafferty Creek, Cathedral Lakes and upper Sunrise Creek Many trails are closed in this area due to the Meadow Fire. Trail is closed at Tenaya Lake south, from Long Meadow to Nevada Falls, from Merced Lake to Nevada Falls and all trails in between.

Rafferty and Ireland Creeks are not flowing but still have pools of water to filter from. Small unnamed creeks are dry. Very active bears: use extra care in storing food properly
Tuolumne Mdws Area
(North of Tioga Rd)
Glen Aulin, May Lake and Northern PCT in Yosemite All trails are clear and creek crossings are passable. Delaney, Dingley, and Cathedral Creeks all still have low flowing water with dry rock crossings. Murphy Creek is no longer flowing; it only has standing water in certain areas. Cold Canyon, the PCT north of Glen Aulin, is dry. The Tuolumne River and all lakes are reliable water sources.
Tioga Road - West White Wolf, Ten Lakes and Pate Valley There is no water between White Wolf and Pate Valley. There is water above and below Halfmoon meadow, at Ten Lakes pass, and in the Ten Lakes basin.
(In Yosemite)
Happy Isles to Donahue Pass Trail is closed between Happy Isles and Tuolumne Meadows due to the Meadow Fire.

Trail in Lyell Canyon is clear and water is available.

View a map showing which trails have been cleared of down trees [3.4 MB PDF].

Fire Restrictions

Fire restrictions are in effect; below 6,000 feet, fires are only permitted in portable stoves using pressurized gas, liquid fuel, propane, or alcohol (including tablet/cube stoves). Wood fires (including twig stove fires) and charcoal fires are prohibited. Smoking is not allowed below 6,000 feet in the wilderness.

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.

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.

Call 209/372-0826 (Monday-Friday, 9 am to noon and 1 pm to 4:30 pm) for more information. For wilderness permit reservations, call 209/372-0740.

Wilderness Permit Reservations

Yosemite Conservancy staff are working every day to process wilderness permit reservations for this summer. 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.

Approximately 70% of permit applications are rejected due to too many requests for the same trailhead on the same day. Most rejections are for the John Muir Trail, which is the most popular request. You will receive notice on the status of your application within two business days.

Yosemite Valley Wilderness Center

Open daily from 8 am to 5 pm. The wilderness center offers permits, bear canister rentals, maps, and books.

Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center

Open daily from 8 am to 5 pm. The wilderness center offers permits, bear canister rentals, maps, and books.

Big Oak Flat Information Station

Open 8 am to 5 pm. The information station offers visitor information, wilderness permits, bear canister rentals, and a variety of books and maps.

Wawona Visitor Center at Hill's Studio

Open 8:30 am to 5 pm. The visitor center offers general information, wilderness permits, bear canister rentals, and a variety of books and maps.

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?

Nevada and Vernal Falls

In Yosemite Valley, dropping over 594-foot Nevada Fall and then 317-foot Vernal Fall, the Merced River creates what is known as the “Giant Staircase.” Such exemplary stair-step river morphology is characterized by a large variability in river movement and flow, from quiet pools to the dramatic drops of the waterfalls themselves.