Yosemite National Park to partially reopen a month after historic storms

Several winter storms forced the park to close on Feb. 25.

March 17, 2023, 3:26 PM

California's Yosemite National Park announced it will partially open to the public on Saturday nearly a month after historic rain and snowfall caused it to close.

The park has been closed since Feb. 25 due to a series of storms that damaged roads and other facilities. Since the storms started on Feb. 21, Yosemite Valley has received over 21 inches of rain and Tuolumne Meadows has received over 15 feet of new snow, according to the park.

"The park has documented 22 rockslides, debris flows, and other slope failures along park roads during this time, most of which have been mitigated," Yosemite National Park said in a post on Facebook.

PHOTO: FILE - Burned trees and snow covered ground are seen in Yosemite National Park in Calif, Feb. 16, 2023.
Burned trees and snow covered ground are seen in Yosemite National Park in Calif, Feb. 16, 2023.
Carlos Barria/Reuters, FILE

Yosemite Valley will be open from sunrise to sunset starting Saturday, with very limited services available. Other services and areas of the park will reopen as park recovery efforts continue.

While winter weather is forecast to hit California next week, Yosemite Valley plans to open 24/7 starting Monday, with limited overnight lodging, all weather permitting.

The National Park Service warns that conditions in Yosemite are very snowy.

"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. Hiking on snow-covered trails is not recommended," park officials said.

PHOTO: FILE - Ice is seen at waterfall in Yosemite National Park, Calif., Feb. 16, 2023.
Ice is seen at waterfall in Yosemite National Park, Calif., Feb. 16, 2023.
Carlos Barria/Reuters, FILE

Visitors should also stay away from all rivers and creeks, which are running high and with snowbanks that may collapse.

Campgrounds are still buried in snow and will not open immediately.

"Visitors should be prepared for the possibility of road closures and tire chain requirements," the park said.

Visitors will only be able to access the park via Highway 140 and El Portal Road, with a short detour. Hetch Hetchy, a valley and reservoir in the park, will reopen from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily but will only be accessible via Highway 120 west of Yosemite and Evergreen Road.

All other roads and areas of the park, including Big Oak Flat and Wawona Roads, will remain closed.

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