Here's What to Know About Yosemite National Park's Reopening
The national park closed for three weeks after being clobbered by over 15 feet of snow.
One of the nation's most popular national parks is again open to the public after nearly a month of being closed to visitors.
Yosemite National Park first closed on February 25 after it was hit by more than 15 feet of snow, and has been shuttered to visitors ever since. But on Saturday, minimal public access to the park was restored.
As the park outlined in a series of tweets, Yosemite Valley is now open "from sunrise to sunset" with limited services available with Highway 140 (El Portal Road) named as the only point of access as of this writing. In addition, Hetch Hetchy is reopening from 8 am to 5 pm daily, but it will only be accessible via Highway 120 west of Yosemite and Evergreen Road.
Many closures within the park remain in effect, namely any other roads or parts of the park, including Big Oak Flat and Wawona Roads.
For those who do access the park, the National Park Service is noting that "several miles" of paved pedestrian paths have been plowed, but that all hiking trails remain covered in snow. As a result, hiking on the trails is not currently recommended. For plowed paths, waterproof boots and traction devices are recommended. Visitors should also be prepared for the possibility of more road closures and tire chain requirements. In a Facebook post, the park noted that visitors can call 209-372-0200 to get up-to-date road conditions.
Yosemite sustained damages to its roads and facilities due to the winter storms, and NPS says it has documented 22 rockslides, debris flows, and additional slope failures along the park's roads as a result.
As CNN notes, Yosemite isn't the only national park that was impacted by the recent winter storms in California. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Mojave National Preserve, and Death Valley National Park are all dealing with various closures to its facilities and roads. More than 20 California state parks are also closed right now.
Yosemite Valley had planned to reopen 24 hours per day starting on March 20, with limited overnight lodging available, though campgrounds remain buried in snow and will not reopen right away. Other services and areas of the park are expected to reopen as park recovery efforts continue.
With even more snow and powerful winds headed to the region this week, anyone hoping to check out Yosemite or any of the above parks should be sure to monitor the weather for updates. The latest conditions can be found on the NPS's Yosemite National Park website.
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