Wilderness Conditions Update

August 7, 2019

General Conditions

Summer backpacking is in full swing with vast majority trails clear of snow and creeks passable. Patches of snow may still cover sections of trail on shaded or north facing slopes and over some of the highest passes.

Trails are beginning to dry out, but there are still many areas with wet or muddy sections. Please stay on trails to prevent resource damage caused by creating multiple trails.

Summertime can be hot in Yosemite, so plan accordingly. Be prepared for hot temperatures: bring plenty of water, eat salty snacks and try to avoid hiking during the hottest part of the day. Summer also brings the potential for thunderstorms, typically, but not always in the afternoon. Thunderstorms can form rapidly and bring heavy rain, localized flooding, strong winds, much cooler temperatures, and lightning. Always be sure to check a current weather forecast for the area before you start your trip and be prepared for multiple weather conditions.

See a map of trails that have been cleared of downed trees for the season. Please note that though most tree failures occur during the stormy winter months, trees can fail at any time.

Park Area Trails, (landmarks included in description) Trail Conditions
North and South Rim of Yosemite Valley Lehamite Creek, North Dome, Dewey Point, McGurk Meadow The trails along the northern and southern rim of the valley are mostly dry, clear, and accessible. Along both the north and south rim, creeks are getting lower but still flowing. Water is still available from small streams and mapped water sources can be relied upon, although water from seasonal streams should not be expected. The camping closure between the top of the Snow Creek switchbacks and the Snow Creek footbridge is still in effect: there is no camping allowed in that area, and camping along Snow Creek is discouraged. There is a lot of bear activity even beyond the Snow Creek footbridge, with canisters and even backpacks getting lost or damaged. Hiking past Snow Creek and finding campsites west of Indian Ridge is strongly advised
Glacier Point Rd Ostrander Lake, Illilouette Creek, Red Peak Pass The trail to Ostrander Lake is clear and in good condition. Water levels in this area have decreased since spring, although Illilouette Creek remains relatively high with a mild current. Exercise caution when crossing. Red Peak Pass still has significant snow cover, with steep snow slopes and snow obscuring the trail. On the north side coverage is nearly 100% for half a mile and then 25%-50% for nearly 2 miles after that and then very wet and muddy for a further 2 miles after that. Snow is icy in the early mornings with postholing later in the day.
Wawona Area Chilnualna Creek, Buena Vista Loop Trails are clear and occasionally wet & muddy. Please stay on established trails to protect fragile resources.
Hetch Hetchy Beehive Meadows, Laurel Lake, Jack Main Canyon, Wilma Lake. Trails are clear but at higher elevations still have many muddy sections and water crossings. Lake Vernon has had elevated bear activity in the last few weeks. Be vigilant with proper food storage and practice bear hazing techniques to prevent further habituation. Lots of wildflowers above 8,000 feet.
Tuolumne Area: South of Tioga Rd Lyell Canyon, Rafferty Creek, Echo Creek, Fletcher Creek Trails are beginning to dry out, although water is still plentiful from mapped creeks. Snowpack persists only on the most shaded or north-facing aspects and at the highest elevations.
Tuolumne Area: North of Tioga Rd Glen Aulin, Cold Canyon, Murphy Creek, Young Lakes Water is abundant, and although trails are mostly dry there are still some wet or muddy sections, particularly below Harden Lake. Both the bridge to the Glen Aulin backpackers camp and the bridge crossing the Tuolumne River in Pate Valley are closed while repairs are being made. The Tuolumne River can be waded just downstream of the bridge. It is 3 ft deep in slow to moderate flow. Conness Creek must be crossed to access Glen Aulin HSC.
Tioga Rd: West Half Moon Meadow, Ten Lakes, South Fork Cathedral Creek, May Lake Trails are clear with the exception of a few sections of snow to cross along north-facing aspects of the Ten Lakes Loop near Tuolumne Pass.
JMT (Happy Isles to Donohue Pass) Bears have been very active along the JMT corridor. Please store food (and toiletries!) properly to prevent them from obtaining it. Store bear canisters outside backpacks to avoid property damage and never leave food unsecured. Most of the JMT through Yosemite is snow-free. There are still some snow patches covering the trail in the last mile over Donohue Pass. Water is readily available and mapped sources are reliable. Many meadows along the JMT are still wet and sections may still be flooded; always stay on the trail to protect these sensitive ecosystems. Sunrise HSC is not opening this year and there will be no potable water; plan to filter from the surrounding streams.

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 August 15, 2019.

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

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

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

Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center

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

Big Oak Flat Information Station

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

Wawona Visitor Center at Hill's Studio

Open daily from 8:30 am to 5 pm. Wilderness permits available, maps for sale, and bear canisters for rent.

Hetch Hetchy Entrance Station

Open for permits and bear canisters from 8 am to 5 pm. Hetchy Road is open 7 am to 9 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).

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.

Trails Cleared Map

 
Map of trails cleared of downed logs in Yosemite

Last updated: August 13, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 577
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Phone:

(209) 372-0200

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