YOSEMITE — As many of you are aware, Yosemite has been closed for the past two weeks. A huge wind storm (Mono winds) on Jan. 19 caused significant damage and extended power outages. Several days later, a series of winter snow storms began, which are expected to continue into early next week. Snow accumulation in the high country was recently reported to be about eight feet deep.
Yosemite under a blanket of snow is always a beautiful sight. Experience a 360° panoramic VR view of snow in the Valley floor near Bridalveil Fall here.
The park is expected to reopen for visitors on Monday, Feb. 2 (at the earliest.) The good news is that the previous restriction only allowing visitors between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. will be lifted – and 24-hour access will return. Unfortunately, Yosemite also announced that beginning on Feb. 8, visitors will (once again) be required to secure day-use reservations (which are good for seven days) online through the sometimes problematic recreation.gov web site.
The combination of heavy snows and the newly expanded access will be very welcome for visitors hoping to catch the Horsetail Fall sunset displays on El Capitan the last two weeks of February. Keep in mind, however, that California COVID-19 restrictions remain in place. Visitors must wear masks AND maintain social distancing throughout Yosemite.
For those planning to drive into the park, please come properly prepared. Snow tires and/or chains are required for your vehicle. Four-wheel drive is helpful, too. Be sure to check current road conditions before attempting to enter the park by calling at 209-372-0200 (press 1, then 1), or online here. Note that the Highway 41 entry (from Oakhurst) will remain closed indefinitely due to severe storm damage in the area.
Vehicles without required equipment may be denied entry at park entrance gates.
Some of you may notice a new compass feature we’ve added to the Virtual Yosemite interface. This interactive icon, located at the top center of the image window, shows which compass direction you’re looking toward as you pan around our 360° images. If you’d prefer not to see this, simply click once on the icon, and it will disappear. To bring it back, simply click on that same screen location again.
©2019 Photography by Scott Highton
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