Update for April 3, 2024

April 03, 2024 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

New Snow: 24 inches
Settled Snow Depth: 58 inches
High Temperature: 50°F (April 2)
Low Temperature: 10°F (March 31)

Tenaya Peak ridge on March 28, 2024.
Tenaya Peak ridge on March 28, 2024.

March Weather Summary

New Snow: 94 inches (historical average 55.5 inches)
Snow Water Equivalent: 6.42 inches (historical average 3.84 inches)
Average High Temperature: 36.1°F (historical average 40.2°F)
Average Low Temperature: 12.61°F (historical average 13.7°F)
Average Temperature: 24.59°F (historical average 28.7°F)

Ski Conditions and Weather

Tenaya Creek and Lake on March 27, 2024.
Tenaya Creek and Lake on March 27, 2024.

It was a wintry week to close out the month of March. “Out like a lion” so to speak. It was another month of above average precipitation and snowfall, and a bit cooler than “normal.” We have been out doing the April 1 snow surveys this week and with one more course to go the Tuolumne River drainage is coming in between 90-100% of average.

Springtime in the Sierra Nevada has arrived… before we get too excited about the sunny warm days being here to stay, however, one look at the weather forecast should bring us back to the reality of the finicky nature of spring in the range of light. Temperatures in the 50’s over the next few days will give way to a blast of cold air dropping down from the north and a return to high temperatures in the 20’s. Living in the mountain moment will allow us to enjoy the bluebird powder days that the next few days have in store!

It is a good time of year to be prepared for any and all snow conditions, some of which may require ice axe and crampons in the alpine zones.

The Tioga Road as of this writing is dry pavement from the gate near Lee Vining to the Warren Fork (9,000 feet) but can be dynamic this time of year.

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 becoming more isothermal with each passing warm day. With the new snowfall this week there was some wind slab formation and isolated pockets of wind slab avalanches. For now, avalanche hazard will be driven by new loading and periods of instability on solar aspects during the heat of the day. It is always a good idea this time of year to keep an eye on overnight temperatures to ensure a surface freeze of ski objectives.

History of Snow Surveys

“[Snow] Density is… a reliable indicator for when the spring runoff will begin; that is, when the snow changes from its solid to its liquid state… Eventually, all the snow becomes homogeneous at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the freezing point of water. Any additional energy absorbed from the sun melts the top layer, which percolates down without re-freezing, and finally leaves the snow to flow into the ground and into streams as the spring runoff” (Armstrong 48). Although this process is temporarily on hold again, spring is just around the corner!


Snowshoe hare tracks in snow.
Snowshoe hare tracks.

While traveling west of Tenaya Lake we heard the low-pitched calls of the male sooty grouse. Hairy woodpeckers are becoming more vocal. And a golden eagle emerged from out of the clouds during a snow squall here in Tuolumne Meadows. Finally, we not only saw the tracks of the Easter bunny (aka snowshoe hare) but saw it underneath a white bark pine along the slopes of Mt. Dana. Unfortunately, it didn’t leave us any easter eggs or chocolate bunnies.


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.

Bonsai juniper on March 28, 2024.
Juniper tree on March 28, 2024.

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.  


Armstrong, Patrick. The Log of a Snow Survey: Skiing and working in the winter world of the Sierra Nevada. Abbott Press, 2013.

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

Last updated: April 4, 2024

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