Wilderness Conditions

September 9, 2016

General Conditions

Fall is in the air here in Yosemite. Nights are getting longer and cooler with some nights with freezing temperatures at the higher elevations. Rivers and creeks are for the most part still flowing, albeit at low flow. Ephemeral and small creeks are mostly dry. For conditions in specific areas, please see table below.

As the park transitions into fall, be prepared for changing weather patterns. The weather can be highly variable from heat waves to winter like storms. Storms can come any time starting mid September but typically don't come until early October. Always be sure to check a current weather forecast for the area before you start your trip and be prepared for multiple weather conditions.

Park Area Trails & Landmarks included in Park Area Trail Conditions
Valley Rim Lehamite Creek, North Dome, Taft Point, Sentinel Dome All trails are clear. Water is available (low flow!) in Lehamite Creek, Snow Creek, Yosemite Creek, Indian Creek, the spring near El Capitan, Cascade Creek and Tamarack Creek. Royal Arch Creek and Ribbon Creek is extremely low-flow and not a reliable water source at this point in the season.
Glacier Point Road Ostrander Lake, Illilouette Creek From the Ostrander Lake trailhead, no water is available until the lake itself. Artist Creek and Meadow Brook are at low flow. Bridalveil and Illilouette Creeks are still running. Named creeks in the Clark Range are all still flowing.
South End Chilnualna Creek Trails in the South end of Yosemite are dry and clear. Water can be found in the South Fork of the Merced River and Chilnualna Creek.
Hetch Hetchy Beehive Meadows, Laurel Lake, Wapama Falls Trails are clear. All lakes have water, including Gravel Pit Lake. Frog Creek, Falls Creek, Tiltill Creek and Rancheria Creek are all low, but flowing.
Tuolumne Meadows Area - South of Tioga Road Lyell Canyon, Rafferty Creek, Ireland Lake, Lewis Creek, Fletcher Creek Trails are clear. All lakes have water, as well as the Lyell Fork, the Dana Fork, Ireland Creek, Lewis Creek, Fletcher Creek, and Echo Creek. Rafferty Creek is dry, save for a few stagnant, small pools. There is still water available in Long Meadow. Near Clouds Rest, water is available at a pond approximately 4 miles from the Sunrise Lakes Trailhead.
Tuolumne Meadows Area - North of Tioga Road Murphy Creek, Glen Aulin, Cold Canyon, Polly Dome Lakes All lakes have water. Murphy Creek is dry. Delaney and Dingley creeks still have water flowing. Cold Canyon, along the PCT, is dry.
Tioga Road - West Half Moon Meadow, Ten Lakes, South Fork Cathedral Creek The tributary of Yosemite Creek at the White Wolf Campground/Ten Lakes junction is still flowing. The outlet of Grant is low flow and not a reliable water source. The South Fork of Cathedral Creek is flowing. All other ephemeral streams are not reliable water sources.
(In Yosemite)
John Muir Trail Bears have been very active along the JMT corridor. Please store food properly to prevent bears from obtaining it. Water is available in Sunrise Creek at the Clouds Rest/JMT junction, at Cathedral Lakes, and along the Tuolumne River in Lyell Canyon.

See a map of trails that have be cleared of downed trees for the season. Please note that trees can fall anytime of year.

Current Closures

Current trail closures are listed on the current conditions page.

Due to increasing bear activity along the Snow Creek trail and the potential for bear/human interactions the area to the south and east of the footbridge [3.3 MB PDF] is closed to overnight camping. The National Park Service will continue to monitor the bears' activity and will re-open the area to camping as soon as possible. The trails and areas are open to day hiking.

The trail to Rancheria Falls is open only to foot traffic for an undetermined amount of time east of Wapama Falls due to a large rockfall.

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 8 am to 5 pm. Permits, bear canister rentals and maps are available.

Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center

Open daily 8 am to 5 pm. Permits, bear canister rentals and maps are available.

Big Oak Flat Information Station

Open daily 8 am to 5 pm. Permits, bear canister rentals and maps are available.

Wawona Visitor Center at Hill's Studio

Open daily 8:30 am to 5 pm. Permits, bear canister rentals and maps are available.

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.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 577
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389


(209) 372-0200
The public information office is open from 9 am to 5 pm Pacific time (closed for lunch). Once connected, dial 3 then 5. If the ranger is already on the line, you'll be returned to the main menu. If the ranger is not there, you can leave a message and we will return your call.

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