Wilderness Conditions Update

May 10, 2018

General Conditions

Spring has arrived in Yosemite, though there is still snow in the higher elevations. The rough snowline is 8,500 ft but varies on location and aspect, with sunny south facing slopes having higher snowlines (snow free as high as 10,000 ft in some areas) and north facing or shaded areas with lower snowlines. This means that a trail can be snow free until you crest a ridge and then start encountering significant snow coverage on the other side. There can be patches of snow at lower elevations in shaded or areas with cool micro climates that obscure the trail and make travel challenging. While snow generally falls in a uniform fashion across a landscape, snow melts more irregularly.

Sections of trails can often be wet and muddy at times. Please stay on trails to prevent multiple trails from forming.

With increased temperatures, snow melt is filling creeks and streams. Though flows are moderate for this time of year, some large creeks are dangerously high and should not be crossed. Overall, most creeks and streams can be crossed by using natural bridges, rock hopping or by wading. Always use caution whenever crossing an unbridged creek or stream, assessing current conditions and your group's abilities to determine if it is safe to do so.

Typical spring weather prevails, which is generally very pleasant with warm days and cool nights. However, late season springs storms can come at any time and bring rain or snow and much cooler temperatures. Always be sure to check a current weather forecast before you start your trip and be prepared for a multitude of conditions.

Current Closures

Current trail closures are listed on the current conditions page.

Kerrick Meadow is closed each year to padstock grazing to reduce impacts to the federally-threatened Yosemite toad and endangered Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog. The area will temporarily reopen to grazing on September 21, 2017.

Trails in Yosemite may be closed when there are hidden hazards or are impassable due to rock fall, snow, ice, or fire. Open trails are not necessarily free of hazards. By entering the wilderness, you are assuming responsibility for your safety and must use good judgment.

Wilderness Permits

Free wilderness permits are required for overnight stays in the Yosemite Wilderness. Permits can be obtained at the following locations.

Wilderness Permit Reservations

The reservation office is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 4:30. Reservations are available up to 24 (168 Days) weeks ahead of your entry date.

Yosemite Valley Wilderness Center

Open daily 8 am to 5 pm. Wilderness permits available, maps for sale, and bear canisters for rent.

Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center

Closed for the season. Will reopen spring 2018. Get self-registration permit from the porch of the wilderness center. Be prepared with your own bear canister.

Big Oak Flat Information Station

Closed for the season. Will reopen spring 2018. Permits available on the porch (self-registration). Be prepared with your own bear canister.

Wawona Visitor Center at Hill's Studio

Closed for the season. Will reopen spring 2018. Permits available on the porch (self-registration). Be prepared with your own bear canister.

Hetch Hetchy Entrance Station

Hetch Hetchy road hours are 7 am to 9 pm. Permits and bear canisters may only be obtained during open hours. Bear canisters may not always be available. There is no access to Hetch Hetchy beyond open hours (overnight parking is permitted in the overnight parking lot near the backpackers' campground).

Food Storage

Bear resistant food canisters are required in the Yosemite Wilderness. Use a canister to store all food or scented items when left unattended. Remember that anything used in, on, or around the body is considered a food item. Whenever food or scented items are out, please keep them within arm's reach, even while day hiking.

If a bear approaches your camp, act immediately to scare it away. Maintain a safe distance while making as much noise as possible. Throw small stones or pines cones toward the bear, being careful not to strike the bear on the head. If the bear returns, repeat. Do not attempt to retrieve food or gear from a bear until it abandons the items.

Last updated: May 10, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 577
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389


(209) 372-0200

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