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Busy Weekend Expected In Yosemite, What You Need To Know

YOSEMITE – Yosemite National Park is preparing for an extremely busy Memorial Day weekend and officials expect high visitation from Friday, May 24, through Monday, May 27.

Visitors are encouraged to arrive in the park before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m. Once in the park, visitors are urged to park their vehicles at the Yosemite Village, Yosemite Falls, or Half Dome Village day parking areas and enjoy Yosemite Valley by using the free shuttle bus service, bike paths and hiking trails.

Parking in Yosemite Valley is limited and available spaces are expected to fill early.

All campgrounds in Yosemite Valley, as well as Wawona and Hodgdon Meadow Campgrounds, are on the reservation system (www.recreation.gov) and are completely sold out for the entire weekend. There are no first come, first served campgrounds currently open in Yosemite National Park.

Camp 4 Campground is now on a daily lottery system. To enter the daily lottery, please visit www.recreation.gov. There are a large number of campground and lodging options in the gateway communities surrounding the park.

The Tioga Road through Yosemite National Park remains closed due to the heavy winter snowpack. The opening date for 2019 is still undetermined. Tioga Road is a seasonal road that opens for the season as weather and road conditions allow. The El Portal Road, the Wawona Road and Big Oak Flat Road are open to all vehicular traffic to Yosemite Valley.

Hiking Trails at high elevations remain snow-covered. Visitors planning to hike are encouraged to be prepared for winter hiking conditions, especially at elevations above 7,000 feet. Hikers should be prepared to turn back if they encounter challenging conditions like unexpected water crossings, snow, and ice on trails. The 4 Mile Trail from Yosemite Valley to Glacier Point remains closed due to snow, ice, and recent rockfalls.

Half Dome Cables – Status Update

The Half Dome Cables, which are installed each season by the Yosemite Trail Crew as conditions allow, are still down and will remain down at least through May 30 due to snow, ice and other hazards on the trail.

There is no estimated date on when the cables will be ready for use. Please check the Yosemite National Park website for an update after May 30, 2019. Permits are required to climb the Half Dome Cables. For more information on Half Dome Permits, please visit https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hdpermits.htm.

Additionally, the park is expecting a very busy summer season. Below are some tips to enjoy the park during the busy summer season.

Plan trips during the mid-week. Yosemite Valley is most popular on weekends and holidays, which can mean significant traffic congestion, especially on Saturdays. To avoid crowds, consider planning a trip to Yosemite Monday through Thursday.

Arrive before 9 a.m. Most vehicle congestion occurs between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.. If you can’t arrive early, consider spending time in our local gateway communities and plan to arrive in Yosemite after 5 p.m.

Take YARTS – YARTS is the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (www.yarts.com). YARTS picks up passengers at multiple locations along Highway 140 (from Merced) and along Highway 120 (from Sonora and Mammoth Lakes), and along Highway 41 (beginning in Fresno). YARTS buses provide multiple drop-off locations throughout the park and in Yosemite Valley.

Once visitors are in Yosemite Valley, they can navigate to many of Yosemite’s most famous sites and destinations using the free visitor shuttle, bike paths, or walking paths throughout the valley.

Explore lesser known areas of Yosemite – Yosemite National Park is a big park with a lot to offer. Consider visiting lesser-known areas of the park outside of Yosemite Valley. Hetch Hetchy, Tuolumne Meadows, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and Wawona provide many wonderful opportunities for recreation.

Other general tips on visiting Yosemite include:

Hiking is a great way to explore the wonders of Yosemite National Park. Day hikers and backpackers should be aware that spring weather can be unpredictable and change without warning. Visitors are encouraged to plan ahead and bring the necessary gear to have a safe and enjoyable trip.

Backpacking is a great way to experience the Yosemite wilderness. Overnight use permits are available through the Yosemite National Park Wilderness Center. For more information, visit http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildpermits.htm.

A high winter snow pack has contributed to cold and swift-moving water in all of the rivers, lakes and streams inside Yosemite and in the surrounding areas. Visitors are reminded to take special precautions around water, especially around stream crossings. Even the best swimmers can find themselves in a difficult situation under the current water conditions. It is always a good idea to stay at least one body length away from the water’s edge.

When driving in the park, motorists are urged to follow the speed limits and slow down, as bears and other animals are active and may be present on the roadway. Motorists are reminded to pay close attention for wildlife crossing roadways around dawn and dusk.

For updated 24-hour road and weather conditions for Yosemite National Park, please call 209-372-0200, press 1 and press 1 again.

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Sierra News Online

Sierra News Online