Update for April 10, 2024

April 11, 2024 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

New Snow: 18 inches
Settled Snow Depth: 57 inches
High temperature: 52°F (April 3)
Low temperature: - 7°F (April 6)

East winds on Johnson Peak on April 8,2024.
ast winds on Johnson Peak on April 8,2024.

Ski Conditions and Weather

The above weather data tells the tale of another cold and snowy week at Tuolumne Meadows. Cold temperatures, new snow, and gusty ridge winds characterized the weather this week. This resulted in good powder conditions on due north-facing sheltered slopes above 9,000 feet. The corn snow that the Sierra Nevada is known for is only now starting to simmer. Warmer than normal temperatures are forecast for the next few days and traveling on southern aspects and the meadow and road corridor are already starting to set up nicely. Expect the usual grab bag of melt-freeze, wind-crust, windboard, etc. elsewhere and bring appropriate gear for any alpine adventures.

The Tioga Road, as of this writing, is dry pavement from the gate near Lee Vining to the Warren Fork (9,000 feet). Snowline to the west starts conveniently at the top of the Snow Creek switchbacks, at around 7,000 feet.

Snowmelt along Lyell Fork on April 2, 2024.
Snowmelt along Lyell Fork on April 2, 2024.

Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions

Please refer to the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center (ESAC) and the Bridgeport Avalanche Center for the avalanche advisories for this part of the Sierra Nevada.

The snowpack is about to go through some rapid changes as the weather transitions from unseasonably cold to much warmer than average over a very short period of time. This rapid change will lead to unstable surface snow and the possibility of wet loose and wet slab avalanches especially if it doesn’t freeze overnight. Wilderness travelers should be mindful of the effects of the April sun on all aspects starting with east in the morning and working its way around the compass as the day progresses. 

History of Snow Surveys

According to former park naturalist, Carl P. Russell, Yosemite has been conducting snow surveys since the mid-1920s. But, early on they were primarily done “for the purpose of estimating the opening of high-country roads and trails, and to predict the condition of the waterfalls during the late summer and early fall season. The Merced Irrigation District, a flood control and water agency later “…donated money in 1927 to build a patrol cabin above Merced Lake… to aid in snow survey activities” (Pavlik 71). This cabin is now utilized for summer and fall National Park Service (NPS) patrol operations as well.


Due to the fickle weather in the high country, it has been a bit hit or miss with regards to spotting the migrating bird population. Three weeks ago, we saw the first red-winged blackbirds, western meadowlarks, and dark-eyed juncos of the spring season, but then very few until this week. In the meantime, the resident corvids, the common raven and Clark’s nutcrackers have been as vocal as ever. The brown creepers and mountain chickadees who started warming up their vocal cords almost a month ago are now singing daily. And aside from the resident pygmy and great horned owls, the American robin is now the first to greet the sun. Why can’t we all just use these songs to spring ahead our clocks in March? The crescendo builds up so gradually along with the morning light that one just wants to wake up and embrace the day instead of hiding under the covers.


The Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut is open. This primitive cabin is the campground reservation office in the summer and is located along the Tioga Road at the entrance to the campground. It is marked with a sign. There is firewood and 8 bunks that are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For those visiting the Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut from the east (only) permits are self-issued at the Ski Hut. For those entering from other areas, please see Yosemite’s website: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildfaq.htm#winter or you may contact the wilderness office at 209/372-0740. As of this writing, there is electricity and limited phone service in Tuolumne Meadows.

Come prepared, and please make good decisions while traveling in the wilderness!

Read through the following three pages before embarking on any day or overnight snow travel within this park: 

You may contact us with any additional winter Tuolumne Meadows related questions but response times may vary if we are away on patrol.  

Sierra Nevada sunset on April 6, 2024.
Sierra Nevada sunset on April 6, 2024.


Pavlik, Charles, Robert. In Harmony with the Landscape: A History of the Built Environment of Yosemite National Park, 1915-1940. 1986. University of California at Santa Barbara, Master of Arts in History.

Happy touring!
Laura and Rob Pilewski - Tuolumne Meadows winter rangers

Last updated: April 11, 2024

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