Update for April 15, 2021

April 15, 2021 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski
Obata Lake covered in snow on April 10, 2021.
Obata Lake on April 10, 2021.
New snow: 2 inches
Total settled snow depth: 23 inches (at 8,600 feet)
High temperature: 56°F (April 11)
Low temperature: 15°F (April 15)

Winter 2021 Weather Summary

(November 1, 2020-April 15, 2021)

Total Snow: 213 inches
Snow Water Equivalent: 13.24 inches
Average Temperature: 30.64°F   

Ski Conditions and Weather

Spring snowfall on April 14, 2021 with skier.
Spring snowfall on April 14, 2021.
This is our final post of the winter of 2021. It has again been our honor to serve as the Tuolumne Meadows Winter Rangers. We appreciate the public interest and enthusiasm for happenings in this part of the park during the winter through our weekly blogs. Although it has been another dry winter in the range of light, each winter has been different in its own right, presenting its own challenges and rewards.

This week saw the continued and accelerated snowmelt in the Sierra. Well-above-average temperatures have been the rule this month. The last few days saw a system come through that cooled things down and brought a few inches of new snow.

Tioga Road is mostly snow covered through Yosemite National Park from Tioga Pass to Crane Flat. Bare patches are growing with each passing day. Crews will be starting to clear snow in the park. On the east side, Caltrans has cleared most of the snow from Highway 120 between the locked gate outside of Lee Vining and Tioga Pass. At present, it is dry pavement with a few icy patches early and late in the day.

Ski conditions are still decent, though options are becoming more limited due to decreasing snow cover. Terrain and aspects above 9,000 feet are hit or miss for corn snow. One would think that the warm and dry weather we are having would see a stellar corn cycle. The windy winter, and low snow density of what fell from the sky this winter, however, have kept it pretty marginal so far this spring.

Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions

The Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River opening up with melting snow at Twin Bridges on April 12, 2021.
The Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River opening up at Twin Bridges on April 12, 2021.
Please refer to the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center (ESAC) for the avalanche advisory for this part of the Sierra Nevada.

The avalanche hazard is low in the Tuolumne Meadows area. Only significant new snow would change this. An ice-ax and crampons are good to have in the kit this time of year. Hard snow and icy conditions should be anticipated until the warmth of the day softens the snow surface.



Most of the spring migrant birds have returned and are singing their mating songs. The coyotes are howling in the meadows during the morning hours. And, bear tracks have been seen north of Tuolumne Meadows. Bear canisters are required for food storage.

General Information

The Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut is closed for the 2020-2021 season.

Have a happy and healthy summer!
Rob and Laura Pilewski - Tuolumne Meadows Winter Rangers

Tuolumne Meadows from Johnson Peak on April 10, 2021.
Tuolumne Meadows from Johnson Peak on April 10, 2021.

Last updated: April 15, 2021

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