Update for March 18, 2015

March 18, 2015 Posted by: Laura and Rob Pilewski

New snow: None
Total settled snow depth: 0 inches as of March 18 (at 8,600 feet)
High temperature: 58°F, March 14
Low temperature: 22°F, March 13

A view of Tuolumne Meadows from Dog Dome with very little snow.

Skiing Conditions and Weather: The snowstake at our weather station melted out this week to bare ground. At 8,600 feet around Tuolumne Meadows, there is a patchwork of bare ground and snow patches of varying depths. Rivers are running and the meadows are starting to green up for spring. The continued drought (year four) and well-above-normal temperatures this winter is unprecedented since weather records have been kept here and elsewhere in California. Better start conserving that water. This is the real deal.
On the bright side, Tuolumne Meadows is still a glorious place to visit in any season. If one is willing to carry their skis and plan according to aspect, elevation, and time of day, there is still some snow sliding out there. The road is mostly snow covered from the park boundary at Tioga Pass to 1.5 miles east of Tuolumne Meadows, where there is a long stretch of bare pavement. Where the road skirts Tuolumne Meadows, it is still snow covered and the drainages and lake basins south of the Tioga Road are still the best local opportunities for ski touring. Otherwise, everywhere else, snowshoes are more appropriate. There is still too much snow for hiking on north aspects and above 10,000 feet. However, with such a shallow snowpack, things will be melting fast as temperatures remain above normal this week.

Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions: For the avalanche advisory for this area of the Sierra Nevada go to www.esavalanche.org for the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center. The avalanche danger in the Tuolumne Meadows area and along on the Tioga Road including Lee Vining Canyon is low.

Wildlife: Yes, the American robin is back singing its sweet warbling song. Winter is over, folks.

Questions: The Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut is open! There is an ample supply of firewood and 10 bunks that are available on a first come, first served basis. There is power but no public phone service in Tuolumne this winter. We can be contacted via email, but we may be delayed in responding if we are on patrol. Contact the wilderness office at 209/372-0740 with any questions or concerns. Come prepared; don't count on electricity or phone service at the ski hut.

22 Comments Comments icon

  1. April 23, 2015 at 03:55

    @Lauren, we can't say whether or not it's safe, but Red Peak Pass area holds snow very late relative to other areas. So, there's a good chance you may be traveling on snow for part of your trip, which, in addition to making travel harder, can make navigation much more complex. So, be prepared to navigate by map and compass.

  2. April 22, 2015 at 06:23

    I have a permit to enter Mono Meadows and exit Happy Isles the weekend of May 8-10. My plan is to do a (almost) loop via Ottoway Lakes. Will there likely be too much snow above 10K ft for a safe backpacking trip?

  3. March 28, 2015 at 02:08

    @Marissa, The Tioga Road is currently closed to vehicle and bicycle traffic.

  4. March 28, 2015 at 02:05

    @Houle, the Glacier Point Road officially opened today, March 28.

  5. March 28, 2015 at 01:49

    Do you happen to know if there's snow between White Wolf Campground and Tenaya Lake? Is the road closed to bikes after White Wolf because of snow conditions or is that always the policy for the park? Thanks for your help!

  6. March 26, 2015 at 01:16

    How much snow still have on Glacier Point Rd? Since this year snow pack is less than last years, is there any chance that could be open before Apr 14th? I am planing to visit on Apr 14th. Last year it oppeded on 15th.

  7. March 25, 2015 at 05:06

    @Matt, the entire Tioga Road is closed to bicycles. Roadwork west of White Wolf has gone to seven days per week, so bicycles are not allowed on that stretch. (East of White Wolf is snowy and icy.)

  8. March 25, 2015 at 04:54

    Hi! When will a longer section of 120 (past White Wolf) be open to bicycles? I understand snow remove starts on or around the 15th of April. Thanks!

  9. Roz
    March 25, 2015 at 10:43

    Planning a visit to Yosemite in early June. I am wondering when the alpine flowers bloomed in 2014? Thank you

  10. March 24, 2015 at 12:54

    @Chris, there is no estimated opening date for the Tioga Road. Visit https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tioga.htm for any updates.

  11. March 24, 2015 at 07:21

    Very self-serving question here: What are the chances of SH 120/Tioga Pass being open by April 25/26? My last trip was cut VERY short in Tuolumne by a bear break-in through my rear windshield. Hoping to get some snow shoeing in.

  12. March 23, 2015 at 11:22

    Hello! I'm also interested in biking and then snowshoeing/skiing Tioga Road. Do you happen to know if there is a lot of snow between White Wolf and Tenaya Lake? Thanks!

  13. March 22, 2015 at 10:19

    @Robert, Highway 120 is closed five miles west of its junction with US 395.

  14. March 22, 2015 at 09:26

    Hi, Will be on Eastside in a week from now. Wondering if able to drive to East gate? Thanks.

  15. March 21, 2015 at 10:21

    @Will, the Tioga Road is open to bike on weekends only from Crane Flat to White Wolf (there is no snow on the road). The remainder of the road is closed to bicycles.

  16. March 21, 2015 at 03:41

    How are the road conditions for a capable mountain bike rider? Is the snow too deep and abundant? Could be a great year to make an early season traverse of the pass :)

  17. Ian
    March 20, 2015 at 07:35

    Wow - 4th year of drought and unseasonal temperarures. Sounds like the climate change is on both sides of the world. Love Yosemite. Hope to revisit the medows again soon.

  18. March 20, 2015 at 05:58

    So much for "winter". It sounds like you are enjoying what nature has to offer. We're probably not heading to the Sierra this spring.

  19. March 20, 2015 at 05:41

    @Barbara, there's no estimated opening date for Glacier Point Road yet.

  20. March 19, 2015 at 07:40

    Well geeze , will Glacier Point Rd open anytime soon then? I sure miss those "normal" winters.

  21. March 19, 2015 at 06:52

    Thanks so much for the reports, RP and LP! So much appreciated, despite the conditions this "winter". Hoping to be able to see you between seasons! Cheers, Moosie

  22. March 19, 2015 at 03:48

    Such an early melt... the flowers will be out and gone early too and maybe the mosquitos as well!

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Last updated: March 19, 2015

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