Update for March 13, 2024

March 13, 2024 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

New Snow: 3 inches
Settled Snow Depth: 58 inches
High temperature: 47°F (March 9)
Low temperature: 0°F (March 9)

Tuolumne Meadows dreaming on March 7, 2024.
Tuolumne Meadows dreaming on March 7, 2024.

Ski Conditions and Weather

It’s a little early for the corn harvest, but the snow has settled quite a bit and travel is quite user friendly in the mid elevations and along the road corridor. The alpine zone is a total grab bag so bring the pointy tools if your objective involves steep alpine terrain. On due north-facing slopes at and around tree line one can find powder stashes. Elsewhere, the melt-freeze and wind crusts lurk, some supportable and some not.

The Tioga Road east of Tioga Pass is snow covered to the Warren Fork with the exception of the scoured Ellery Lake Dam corner. Below 9,000 feet may involve some walking on pavement. 

Snow squall over Lembert Dome on March 7, 2024.
Snow squall over Lembert Dome on March 7, 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.

Seasonal temperatures this week and prevailing winds from the southwest have resulted in more stable avalanche conditions. We observed north and east aspects littered with avalanche debris and crown lines, remnants of wind slab avalanches that occurred during the blizzard last week. Wind slabs will become less likely until there is more loose snow available for transport. As the days become warmer and longer, wet snow avalanche hazard will increase for a time before the snowpack becomes isothermal.

Johnson Peak on March 6, 2024.
Johnson Peak on March 6, 2024.

History of Snow Surveys

“In the mid-1970’s, automatic snow sensors, later known as snow or pressure pillows, made their preliminary appearance. The early units were notoriously inaccurate. Now, with a half-century of technological advancements, the latest generation of [snow telemetry] SNOTEL sensors have been added to the toolbox to forecast short-term water supplies and inform flood prevention” (Rose 171). We typically ground truth the SNOTEL sites adjacent to our snow survey courses to make sure they are calibrated correctly.

Learn more from these short, informative videos from the California Department of Water Resources:

Bees' nest excavated from snow by pine marten on March 7, 2024.
Bees' nest excavated from snow by pine marten on March 7, 2024.


Not only do we get to experience the Great Nature outside our residence here, occasionally the wildlife looks IN at us. After all these years in the mountains, a couple of wilderness rangers can certainly pass as wildlife. To be honest though, the evening grosbeak that came to our window wasn’t spying on us. It was just using our house as a birdfeeder since there are so many ants flying and crawling around inside and out. Since we aren’t supposed to feed the wildlife up here, it was neat to see these striking birds up so close.

And the pine marten is still digging up the bounty of old bees nests that blew out of the trees from the most recent storms.


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.  


Rose, Gene. Snow Warriors: The Heroic Trail of the Early Snow Surveyors. Gene Rose, 2022.

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

Tuolumne Meadows on March 7, 2024.
Tuolumne Meadows on March 7, 2024.

Last updated: March 14, 2024

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