Wilderness Conditions Update

General Conditions

November 6, 2023

Fall is here in Yosemite and we have been getting a mix of warm sunny days followed by rain in Yosemite Valley and snow at 8,000 feet and above. Be prepared when you pack your bags for sun, rain, and snow. Though snow amounts are relatively modest at this early point in the season, even a little bit of snow can obscure all indications of a trail, making navigation difficult. As the snow increases and consolidates throughout the winter, 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. The snow may melt in favorable areas, such as the lower locations, as well as those south facing and exposed to direct sunlight, but could remain snowy until the spring in most areas above 7,000 feet, especially as winter progresses.

Water is again plentiful in most streams and creeks you will encounter. We recommend filtering your water every season in Yosemite.

Half Dome cables are down for the remainder of the winter.

If these roads are open, overnight parking is prohibited on Tioga and Glacier Point Roads (and all areas accessed from these roads).

Current Closures

All current trail closures are listed on the current conditions page.

Tuolumne Meadows Campground, including the backpackers campground, will be closed for the 2024 season. There will be no camping of any kind in Tuolumne Meadows nor any exceptions for backpackers or hikers. Backpackers will have to camp at least four trail miles from Tuolumne Meadows.

Full or partial meadow closures to free-range grazing are in effect at Crescent Lake, Hook Lake North, Isberg Lake, Miller Lake, Rodger's Lake, Turner Meadow, and Upper Kerrick Meadow to align with the 2020 Biological Opinion for Yosemite toads and mountain yellow-legged frogs, and Virginia Canyon - Castle Camp for protection of sensitive vegetation resources. Further guidance is provided in the Superintendent's Compendium; detailed maps of meadow closures are at the stock use page.

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

Wilderness permits are required for overnight stays in the Yosemite Wilderness. Reserved permits can be picked up at the following locations:

Wilderness Permit Reservations

Wilderness Permit reservations are available online at recreation.gov (help desk available Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm). Reservations are available up to 24 (168 Days) weeks to 3 days ahead of your entry date.

Yosemite Valley Wilderness Center

Closed for the season. Will reopen spring 2024. For winter wilderness permits, visit the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center/Yosemite Exploration Center (open 9 am to 5 pm) through December 2. Starting December 3, permits and bear canisters will be available at the Yosemite Valley Welcome Center.

Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center

Closed for the season. Will reopen spring 2024 when Tioga Pass opens. Wilderness permits for the Tuolumne Meadows area only 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 2024. Wilderness permits for the Tioga Road area only 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 2024. Wilderness permits for the Wawona area only are available on the porch (self-registration). Be prepared with your own bear canister.

Hetch Hetchy Entrance Station

Hetchy Road is open 8 am to 5 pm. Wilderness permits for the Hetch Hetchy area and bear canister rentals are available at the entrance station. 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: November 30, 2023

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