February 13, 2019
A prolonged series of winter storms have blanketed Yosemite with deep snow. Snow amounts range from 8 ft + at the higher elevations to 5-6 ft at 6,000 ft. Snowline is roughly 4,000 ft with more storms forecast in the next few days. Snow amounts may differ in each location due to aspect and topography.
Winter travel techniques and skills are a must if you wish to backpack in Yosemite in the next few months, as all this snow will take a long time to melt. Be prepared for freezing temperatures at night and cold or cool temperatures during the day. Except for the lowest elevations and exposed areas, plan to camp in the snow. 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.
A summer hiking forecast is too early at this time, but it seems likely that snow will remain in the higher elevations later than is typical and well into late spring or even early summer.
Ski conditions are listed on the Tuolumne Meadows Ski Conditions page
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 August 6, 2018.
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.
Free wilderness permits are required for overnight stays in the Yosemite Wilderness. Permits can be obtained at the following locations.
Wilderness Permit Reservations
Open Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Reservations are available up to 24 (168 Days) weeks ahead of your entry date.
Yosemite Valley Wilderness Center
Closed, but wilderness permits, maps for sale, and bear canisters for rent are available at the Valley Visitor Center (open 9 am to 5 pm). Wilderness Center will reopen in spring 2019.
Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center
Closed for the season. Will reopen spring 2019. Wilderness permits for the Tuolumne Meadows area are available on the porch (self-registration). Be prepared with your own bear canister.
Big Oak Flat Information Station
Closed for the season. Will reopen spring 2019. Wilderness permits for the Tioga Road area are 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 2019. Wilderness permits for the Glacier Point Road and Wawona areas are available on the porch (self-registration). Be prepared with your own bear canister.
Hetch Hetchy Entrance Station
Open for permits and bear canisters from 8 am to 5 pm. There is no access to Hetch Hetchy beyond road open hours (overnight parking is permitted in the overnight parking lot near the backpackers' campground).
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.