Wilderness Conditions Update

Current Fire Restrictions

Stage 2 fire restrictions are in effect.

Where: Parkwide except in frontcountry campgrounds and picnic areas

What: Fires are only permitted in portable stoves using pressurized gas, liquid fuel, propane, or alcohol (including tablet/cube stoves). Wood fires (including twig stove fires) and charcoal fires are prohibited.

Smoking is not allowed except in campgrounds, picnic areas, paved developed areas, and buildings in which smoking is normally allowed.

Fireworks are always prohibited in Yosemite.

September 17, 2018

General Conditions

Autumn is approaching in Yosemite. Nightime temperatures are dropping, the wildflowers are winding down, and water sources are becoming limited. Trails are clear and creeks are passable. Many smaller creeks have dried up; visitors should rely on lakes and larger water sources and plan to carry larger amounts of water.

Visitors should be prepared for a wide variety of conditions. Conditions can vary from sunny and warm to frigid with early season snow storms. Thunderstorms are still a possiblity, accompanied by gusty winds, cold rain, and lightning strikes. Plan accordingly, and avoid high passes and exposed areas if the clouds look threatening. Expect that temperatures could drop well below freezing. Even the smallest amount of snow can obscure the trail and make travel difficult. Always check a current weather forecast and be prepared for any type of conditions.

Area Specific Conditions
Park Area Locations Trail Conditions
North and South Rim of Yosemite Valley Lehamite Creek, North Dome, Dewey Point, McGurk Meadow Limited water availability. Reliable water sources include Cascade, Tamarack, Lehamite and Snow Creeks, but expect worsening water availability throughout the month. Yosemite Creek is likely flowing but will be growing smaller, though will still have large deep pools throughout fall. Ribbon Creek is extremely low and will likely be dry soon. Royal Arch Creek is dry. 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. On the south rim, Meadow Brook and Bridalveil Creek are flowing.
Glacier Point Road Ostrander Lake, Illilouette Creek Water is available in Triple Peak Fork, Merced Peak Fork and Illilouette Creek. Water is available in lakes.
Wawona Area Chinualna Creek, Buena Vista Loop Chilnualna Creek is flowing. Water is available in lakes.
Hetch Hetchy Beehive Meadows, Laurel Lake, Jack Main Canyon Hetch Hetchy is hot and dry. Plan to carry water between the larger water sources. The only water source from Hetch Hetchy to Lake Vernon is the Beehive Meadows spring
Tuolumne Area: South of Tioga Rd Lyell Canyon, Rafferty Creek, Ireland Lake, Fletcher Creek Rafferty Creek is dry. Echo Creek is flowing on trail between Sunrise and Merced HSC but dissapears before Echo Valley. Water is available in Lyell Canyon. Fletcher and Lewis Creeks are flowing.
Tuolumne Area: North of Tioga Rd Glen Aulin, Cold Canyon, May Lake, Murphy Creek & Polly Dome Lakes Murphy Creek is dry. There are no reliable water sources in Cold Canyon. The only available water between Harden Lake and Pate Valley is from a spring just before Harden Lake; no water in Morrison Creek. Both the bridge to the Glen Aulin backpackers camp and the bridge crossing the Tuolumne River in Pate Valley are out. Conness Creek must be crossed to access Glen Aulin HSC- flow is very minimal. The Tuolumne River must be crossed to access Pate Valley from the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. Water flow is low.
Tioga Rd: West Half Moon Meadow, Ten Lakes, South Fork Cathedral Creek Standing pools only in the South Fork of Cathedral Creek. Water still available in tarns and creeks below Tuolumne Peak. One small creek is flowing between Tioga Rd and Ten Lakes.
JMT (Happy Isles to Tuolumne) Little Yosemite Valley, Sunrise Creek, Sunrise HSC, Cathedral Lakes 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. Sunrise Creek is flowing. There is limited water availability in the Sunrise HSC area. There is no water in Long Meadow and only a few inches remain in the creeks surrounding the HSC. These are not reliable water sources.

The bridge to Glen Aulin High Sierra camp is out and will not be installed for the 2018 hiking season. Please be prepared for an unbridged creek crossing.

The bridge over the Tuolumne River is Pate Valley is out and will not be installed for the 2018 hiking season. It is not recommended to hike this route. With fall approaching and water levels lower, there is a possibility of crossing at an alternate site significantly downstream. As the crossing is over a river, not a creek, and an alternate crossing site must be found, this should only be attempted by experienced hikers.

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.

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 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.

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 to 4:30. 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. Normal Hetch Hetchy road hours are 8 am to 7 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.

Last updated: September 17, 2018

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 577
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389


(209) 372-0200

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