Yosemite National Park Has Partially Reopened — What to Know Before Visiting

The California park restored “minimal public access” on Saturday after receiving 15 feet of snow.

Yosemite National Park partially reopened over the weekend after being forced to close due to receiving up to 15 feet of snow.

The California park restored “minimal public access” on Saturday, according to the National Park Service, opening Yosemite Valley from sunrise to sunset. All other roads and areas of the park remained closed.

“While several miles of paved pedestrian paths in Yosemite Valley are plowed, all hiking trails are covered in snow. Wear waterproof boots and traction devices as even plowed paths can be icy,” the park tweeted ahead of the opening. “Hiking on snow-covered trails is not recommended.”

Yosemite first closed on Feb. 25 after a series of massive snowstorms buried parts of the park in up to 15 feet of snow. In the last few weeks, the park has “documented 22 rockslides, debris flows, and other slope failures along park roads during this time, most of which have been mitigated,” according to the NPS.

Yosemite Valley

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Currently, access to the park is available by Highway 140 and El Portal Road.

The area, however, may be in for even more snow with a winter storm warning watch in effect for the Sierra Nevada area from late Monday through Wednesday afternoon, according to The Weather Channel. The storm is predicted to potentially bring 1 to 4 feet of snow with wind gusts as high as 60 mph.

Yosemite warned that while the wintry weather was forecasted, it opened to open Yosemite Valley 24 hours per day starting later Monday “conditions permitting.” The NPS also hoped to open limited overnight lodging, but said campgrounds were “still buried in snow and will not open immediately.”

“Visitors should be prepared for the possibility of road closures and tire chain requirements,” the NPS said.

Visiting Yosemite in winter comes with challenges, but is also one of the best times to go to experience the park with smaller crowds and wildlife spotting (especially to see the elusive bobcat).

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