Wilderness Conditions Update

August 11, 2017

General Conditions

Summer backpacking is in full swing with most trails clear of snow and creeks passable. Snow remains only on some of the highest passes The snow line is now hovering around 11,000 feet, but varies moreso on aspect and location as snow melts unevenly. North facing or shaded areas will hold snow later than exposed or south facing areas.

Backpackers not used to higher flows or wading across creeks should use precautions. Backpackers are urged to exercise extreme caution around water and at creek crossings. Be knowledgeable and practice safe creek crossing techniques.

Summertime can be hot in Yosemite, even in areas covered in snow. 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. 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.

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are now in effect by order of the Superintendent. Campfires and twig stoves are prohibited below 6,000 ft. Portable stoves using pressurized gas, liquid fuel and propane are allowed. Wilderness areas below 6,000 feet where campfires are prohibited include but not are not limited to the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River below the Return Creek footbridge to Morrison Creek above Pate Valley, Rancheria Falls, the Lake Eleanor Area, Inspiration Point on the South Rim and Poopenaut Valley.

Park Area Trails, landmarks included in description Trail Conditions
Valley Rim Lehamite Creek, North Dome, Taft Point, Sentinel Dome The trails along the northern and southern rim of the valley are mostly dry, clear, and accessible. Along the south rim, water can be found in creeks labeled on maps but hikers should not expect any seasonal streams to have water available. Along the northern rim, Lehamite, Indian Canyon and Eagle Creeks are low, but still flowing. Blue Jay and Yosemite Creeks are still 12-18 inches deep. 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.
Glacier Point Rd Ostrander Lake, Illilouette Creek The trail to Ostrander Lake is clear and dry. There are parts of the trail that are eroded and washed out. Water is available every few miles to the lake. Along the Bridalveil Creek trail there are some short wet sections. Creek crossings are passable and no deeper than 2 feet deep. Lightning fires are being managed in the area south of Bridalveil Creek Campground. There may be some smoke in that area. As fire is monitored, trailheads affected (and possibly closed) may change.
South End Chinualna Creek The Chilnualna Falls trail is clear. Past it into the Buena Vista Lake area, there is some mud in the meadows and near streams. A large amount of snow persists up at Red Peak pass. Passing through onto the northern aspect will require wayfinding skills and caution.
Hetch Hetchy Beehive Meadows, Laurel Lake, Wapama Falls The Wapama Falls footbridges are repaired and open! However, there is a rockfall just past Wapama Falls on the way to Rancheria Falls requiring hikers to maneuver through rock and numerous tree debris. The trail remains open and trail crew is working on clearing the area. The trail up to Beehive Meadows is drying up with the summer. Sections of Jack Main Canyon are still very wet, with parts of it up to 2 feet under water near the lakes.
Tuolumne area-south of Tioga Rd Lyell Canyon, Rafferty Creek, Ireland Lake, Lewis Creek, Fletcher Creek Small sections of Lyell Canyon remain wet. Please do not divert from the main trail to avoid wet feet; resource protection is critical this time of year with meadows being destroyed by new paths and "rutting" not allowing equal dispersal of water to all sections of the meadow. Ireland Lake is unfrozen but the lake basin is flooded and patches of snow still exist. In the high country Patchy snow begins at 10,500 feet and snow coverage begins around 11,000. North facing slopes are still hanging on to a large amount of snow coverage. Vogelsang pass still has some patches of snow but the trail can be seen. Vogelsand HSC is dry and the Rafferty Creek, Flectcher Creek and Lewis Creek trails are all 99% free of snow but muddy. Water is abundant and the bugs are out.
Tuolumne area- north of Tioga Rd Glen Aulin, Cold Canyon, Young Lakes, Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne The Conness Creek footbridge leading to Glen Aulin HSC is out, requiring a wade to access the HSC. Conness Creek is only 6''-1' deep to cross over to the HSC. Moving towards Cold Canyon, the trail is clear, though the spur trail to McCabe lakes is very muddy. The footbridge in Pate Valley is severely damaged but still intact. It is not recommended to cross. Young Lakes trail is clear and snow free.
Tioga Rd- West Murphy Creek, May Lake, Ten Lakes, South Fork Cathedral Creek, May Lake May Lake Rd is now open. Trails are clear with a few sections of muddy trail near the Murphy Creek May Lake Junction. Water is plentiful and most creeks are below 8" in depth. The South Fork of the Cathedral Creek is crossable and only 1 foot deep.
JMT (in Yosemite) The JMT, is almost entirely free of snow except for one 100 yard patch of snow near Donohue Pass. Creek crossings are no deeper than 12". There are some minor flooded and wet sections, particularly in Lyell Canyon. Stay on the trail to protect the meadows and prevent braided trails from forming.

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.

Stock users - Trails may be clear of snow but not suitable for stock travel or yet cleared of trees.

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, tentatively on July 25, 2016. (Check back for possible date changes.)

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
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. Cash and checks preferred.

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
Hetch Hetchy road hours are 7 am to 9 pm. Permits and bear canisters may only be obtained during open hours. 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: August 11, 2017

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Yosemite National Park, CA 95389


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