Wilderness Conditions Update

September 16, 2019

General Conditions

The summer backpacking season is wrapping up, and fall is just around the corner. Temperatures are cooling off, and backpackers should come prepared for the cooler temperatures. Trails are generally clear and accessible. Seasonal creeks are mostly dry. However, most mapped water sources are still flowing, though some are becoming low.

Trails are mostly dry. Please stay on trails to prevent resource damage caused by creating multiple trails. When encountered with many trail options, such as through meadows, choose the trail that is the deepest to help prevent further resource damage.

Fall can be a time of variable weather, from hot days to early season winter like storms that can bring a dusty of snow. Be prepared for cooler weather and freezing nights at higher elevations. Though diminished in the fall, thunderstorms are still a possibility. Plan accordingly, and avoid high passes and exposed areas if the clouds look threatening. With early season winter like storms, even the smallest amount of snow can obscure the trail and make travel difficult. Always be sure to check a current weather forecast for the area before you start your trip and be prepared for multiple weather conditions.

Beginning October 15, overnight parking is not allowed anywhere along the Tioga Road between Tuolumne Grove and Tioga Pass; this includes all parking area, turnouts, and side roads accessed from Tioga Road. Overnight parking is also prohibited along Glacier Point Road (including Glacier Point).

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 Old Big Oak Flat Road, Yosemite Falls, North Dome, Snow Creek, Dewey Point, McGurk Meadow, Sentinel Dome, Taft Point The trails along the northern and southern rim of the valley are dry, clear, and accessible. Along both the north and south rim, seasonal creeks are dry. Yosemite Creek, Lehamite Creek, and Bridalveil Creek are still flowing and have water available. Ribbon Creek and Indian Canyon Creek are flowing but are low and slow. Expect Eagle Peak Creek and Royal Arch Creek to be dry. Snow creek is low but still flowing.

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 backpacks getting lost or damaged. Hiking past Snow Creek and camping west of Indian Ridge is strongly advised.
Glacier Point Road Ostrander Lake, Illilouette Creek, Red Peak Pass The trail to Ostrander Lake is clear. Water is generally accessible in major creeks only, such as Illilouette and Bridalveil. There is no snow south of Red Peak Pass and snow levels north of the pass have subsided substantially, however, some sun-cupped patchy snow may exist.

Note: Glacier Point Road will be closed to all traffic in 2021 to rehabilitate and improve the road. There will be no access to the trailheads along the road.
Wawona Area Chinualna Falls, Buena Vista Loop, Turner Meadow, Alder Creek Trail to Chilnualna Falls is clear. The Buena Vista Loop is clear and dry. Alder Creek and Chilnualna Creek are still flowing. Buena Vista Creek and some other tributaries of Illilouette Creek are dry.
Hetch Hetchy Beehive Meadows, Laurel Lake, Jack Main Canyon, Wilma Lake. Major creeks, such as Falls and Rancheria, are flowing though seasonal sources of water have dried up. Some bear activity at Lake Vernon. If planning on camping in that area, be advised to have extra caution with scented items, and to report any bear incidents that occur.
Tuolumne Area: South of Tioga Rd Lyell Canyon, Rafferty Creek, Echo Creek, Fletcher Creek Trails clear and accessible. Rafferty and Echo Creeks are low. Rafferty may be dry at higher elevations. Lewis Creek and other sources marked on map still holding water. Water is still plentiful in the Lyell Fork and Kuna Creek.

Bear activity reported in Ireland Creek area. Be vigilant with your food storage in this area and be sure to report any bear incidents.
Tuolumne Area: North of Tioga Rd Glen Aulin, Cold Canyon, May Lake, Murphy Creek & Polly Dome Lakes, Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River Trails have dried out and are accessible. Seasonal sources of water have dried out or are drying out. High passes, e.g. Mule and Burro pass, still have a few small patches of snow.

The bridge over Conness Creek to Glen Aulin backpackers camp and the bridge across the main fork of the Tuolumne River in Pate Vally have been repaired and are open to all traffic.
Tioga Rd: West Half Moon Meadow, Ten Lakes, South Fork Cathedral Creek, May Lake Trails clear and accessible. Seasonal water sources dry. Water available at Middle and South Forks of the Tuolumne River (mapped water sources) on the way to Ten Lakes.
JMT (Happy Isles to Donohue Pass) Little Yosemite Valley, Sunrise Creek, Sunrise HSC, Cathedral Lakes, Tuolumne Meadows, Lyell Canyon, 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.

The JMT through Yosemite is snow free and accessible. Water is available at mapped sources. Seasonal water sources are dry. Sunrise HSC is not opening this year and there will be no potable water; plan to filter from the surrounding streams. Tuolumne Meadows store, post office, and campground are all open for the summer.

Trail restoration is taking place between Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows and in Lyell Canyon. Where this is happening, heed the signage, and use the trail re-routes.

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. Closes October 21 for the season.

Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center

Open daily from 8 am to 5 pm. Wilderness permits available, maps for sale, and bear canisters for rent. Closes October 15 for the season.

Big Oak Flat Information Station

Open daily from 8 am to 5 pm. Wilderness permits available, maps for sale, and bear canisters for rent. Closes October 15 for the season.

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. Closes October 15 for the season.

Hetch Hetchy Entrance Station

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

Trails Cleared Map

Map of trails cleared of downed logs in Yosemite

Last updated: September 26, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 577
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389


(209) 372-0200

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