Wilderness Conditions Update

February 3, 2018

General Conditions

Though winter is here, there is not much snow in Yosemite. The rough snowline is around 8,000 ft but varies significantly on location. South facing and open areas will generally see higher snowlines while north facing or shaded areas will see lower snowlines. Shaded and north facing sections at lower elevations, down to 6,000 ft, can still have snow. Snow amounts range from a few inches to over a foot at higher elevations. Though snow amounts may seem modest, even a little bit of snow can obscure all indications of a trail, making navigation difficult. Be aware of sections of ice or hard packed snow on the trail. Further, travel over snow is slower than hiking and can be very slippery at times. Snowshoes or skis should be used when planning on traveling over snow covered areas.

Due to the lack of snow and relatively warm temperatures, some food sources are still available for bears. Therefore, bears are still active at this time. As always, use proper food storage while hiking.

Be prepared for freezing temperatures at night and cold or cool temperatures during the day. Winter storms can come at any time with heavy snowfall, making travel and navigation very difficult. Always be sure to check a current weather forecast before you start your trip and be prepared for a multitude of conditions.

Ski conditions are listed on the Tuolumne Meadows Ski Conditions page.

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

Closed for the season. Will reopen May 2018. Permits, maps, and bear canisters are available at the Valley Visitor Center, open 9 am to 5 pm.

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 8 am to 5 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: February 9, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 577
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389


(209) 372-0200

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