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  • Writer's pictureEcho Adventure CoOp

Yosemite Adventure Journal | 5:23

Updated: May 24

Your source for weekly news, information and updates in the Yosemite National Park region and beyond.


Yosemite Bear Facts


Reservations

Reservations will be required for dates in green between 5 am to 4 pm. For full day or half day reservations visit https://www.recreation.gov/timed-entry/10086745.

2024 Schedule of Yosemite National Park Entrance Reservations
Yosemite Reservation Schedule

You do not need reservations if:

  •  you are entering on one of our guided tours

  •  you have a Half Dome or wilderness permit

  • you have lodging or camping reservations inside of Yosemite National Park

  • you are entering on YARTS

  • you are on foot, bike or horse


 

Road Closures & Detours

Tioga Road

Tioga Road and the Highway 120 entering the Park from Lee Vining and Mammoth Lakes, CA is still closed for the seson and will not be open for Memorial Day weekend (May 25–27, 2024). Roads crew has made an initial plow up to Tioga Pass and is working on plowing the full width of the road and side roads in Tuolumne Meadows.

Olmsted Point avalanche zone is still active. The avalanche crew has spread charcoal again to promote snowmelt and continues to monitor this zone. Conditions permitting, additional work crews may gain access through the avalanche zone next week to begin getting buildings and facilities set up.



Hetch Hetchy Road

Hetchy Road, from the intersection of Evergreen Road and Mather Road, is open daily from sunrise to sunset.


Big Oak Flat Road

Big Oak Flat Road & Highway 120 entering the Park from Groveland, CA has no construction or impediments inside of the park. Caltrans may be clearing debris and shoring up erosion outside of the park, so please stay aware of construction signage.


Simple Yosemite Road Map
Yosemite Map

Wawona Road

Wawona Road & Highway 41 entering the Park from Oakhurst, CA

Hazardous fuel reduction is taking place from Bridalveil Fall to Tunnel View. This work is being conducted in preparation of prescribed fire and provide a safer place for fire fighters to work if a wildfire burns up the Merced River Canyon like the 2018 Ferguson Fire. Personnel will be removing small trees and dead and down material. This will not only increase fire fighter safety but will also help restore a sense of arrival to Yosemite Valley. Wood will be transported to Ackerson Meadow where it will be mixed with fill as part of a massive gully restoration project will the aim of restoring one of the largest mid-elevation meadows in the Sierra Nevada. Mixing the wood with the soil sequesters the carbon and increases the water holding capacity of the soil. Please watch for workers and drive slowly through the work zone.

Traffic holds are 15 minutes while workers remove woody material. Actual wait times will be longer as traffic clears through one lane at a time. Delays should be expected Mon-Fri, 06:00-16:00 through May 17th.


May 7th -19th crews will be completing an emergency road repair approx. 9.4 miles north of the southern Park Boundary or just below the Mosquito Creek Drainage.  There will be alternating single lane traffic control with 15-minute delays, while crews complete this road repair.  There are multiple tight curves along Wawona Road in this area, so please slow down, be patient and use caution when approaching this area.


El Portal Road

El Portal Road and Highway 140 entering the Park from Mariposa, CA are not closed, but may experience delays.


Arch Rock Entrance Bypass Project:

If you travel along the El Portal Road (Hwy 140) between Yosemite Valley and El Portal you may have noticed traffic cones and barricades being staged along the side of the road. This week we will be setting-up the Arch Rock Bypass in time for the approaching busy weekend.


This summer we will be piloting the Arch Rock Bypass on the El Portal Road (Hwy 140). The bypass is essentially a temporary traffic control operation that will allow authorized vehicles to travel up the outbound lane and "bypass" the line at the entrance station. This will be set up like a construction zone with signs warning travelers about a flagger / detour ahead, uniformed staff will be stationed at both ends of the bypass. The half-mile bypass will start at Little Windy Point on the west side and extend up El Portal Road to the east side of the Arch Rock Entrance. This will allow authorized vehicles to bypass up to 80 vehicles waiting at the entrance station.  


If you travel El Portal Road, you may be able to use the bypass. We hope to operate the bypass every day a reservation is required, typically during morning commuting hours until mid-day, depending on length of the line at the entrance station and availability of staff.  

What vehicles are authorized vehicles? Government vehicles with I or G plates, Privately owned vehicles with an employee or resident sticker, or Vehicles with an admin pass (e.g., contractors, vendors, Tribal members)  


Travelers leaving the park on El Portal Road in the morning should expect up to a 10-minute delay when the bypass is operating. The bypass will stop mid-day, before most vehicles are leaving the park. As always, please slow down as you approach Arch Rock Entrance.


State Route 140 (SR-140) between Cathey’s Valley and the town of Mariposa will undergo improvements throughout the summer. Work will include pavement preservation with hot-mix asphalt, and removal and installation of guardrails, culverts, dikes, shoulder backing, signage, and corner curb ramps at seven intersections. Crews will work night shifts for approximately 170 working days, Sunday through Thursday, with alternating lane closures on eastbound and westbound SR-140. Project completion is expected in December 2024.


Glacier Point Road

Glacier Point Road is open for the season! Snow is still present and drinking water is not yet available. Vault toilets are open.


The Badger Pass cutoff road is also closed.


Mariposa Grove Road

The road leading into the Mariposa Grove is free of delays. Road is currently closed for the winter. When open, road is open only to vehicles displaying disability placards. All others must use the free shuttle from the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza which operates approximately late May through November.


Yosemite Valley Roads

All roads within Yosemite Valley are subject to heavy traffic during the season.


Hazardous fuel reduction is taking place from Bridalveil Fall to Tunnel View. Holds are 15 minutes while workers remove woody material. Actual wait times may be longer as traffic clears through one lane at a time. Delays should be expected Mon-Fri, 06:00-16:00.


North Side Drive between El Capitan Woodlot to Pohono Bridge is experiencing delays. Please watch for workers and drive slowly through the work zone. Traffic holds are 15 minutes while workers remove woody material. Delays may be expected Mon-Fri, 06:00-16:00 through June 20th.


Hazardous fuel reduction is taking place on Northside Drive from El Capitan Woodlot to Pohono Bridge. This work is being conducted in preparation of prescribed fire and provide a safer place for fire fighters to work if a wildfire burns up the Merced River Canyon. The 2018 Ferguson Fire reached Cascades Falls and crossed both Wawona and Glacier Point Roads in a single run. Roads are our primary location to stop wildfires and implement prescribed fire. Personnel will be removing small trees and dead and down material. Wood will be transported to Ackerson Meadow where it will be mixed with fill as part of a massive gully restoration project will the aim of restoring one of the largest mid-elevation meadows in the Sierra Nevada. Mixing the wood with the soil sequesters the carbon and increases the water holding capacity of the soil creating a wetter, more productive meadow. 


Happy Isles Loop, at Lower Pines Campground Beginning Monday, May 20, travel on Happy Isles Loop at Lower Pines Campground will be subject to one-way traffic controls using a single lane. Project site construction requires the removal of asphalt pavement and replacement with curbing and concrete surfaces. The westbound travel lane will remain closed during excavation and construction, and for a period of time allowing the concrete to cure. The duration of work and traffic controls will be three to four weeks.


Current issues with the Yosemite Valley Shuttle: From now until June 3, roadways and shuttle bus stops remain under construction in Curry Village and on the Happy Isles Loop. Service is suspended at Stops 14 (Curry Village/Orchard Parking eastbound), 15 (Upper Pines), 16 (Mist Trail), 17 (Mirror Lake), 18 (Lower Pines), and 19 (Curry Village Orchard westbound).


Shuttle service is terminated at Curry Village Registration. During the ongoing period of construction, Yosemite Hospitality will operate the Valley-wide – or green route – service only.


The East Valley Shuttle – or purple route – is discontinued as a service line, effective today, until construction is completed. Park visitors and employees are advised to board green route buses to reach any and all destinations. Construction will be completed by June 3, when shuttle service will resume regular East Valley and Valley-wide operations. Thank you for your patience and understanding during construction.

Snow Plow in high snow on Tioga Road
Snow Plow on Tioga Road

 

Recreational Conditions

Studhorse Prescribed Fire in Wawona

Yosemite Fire is preparing to burn in the Studhorse units on Friday May 17th. These units are south of the Wawona Hotel and total 55 acres. Burning may continue into Saturday and may include temporary trail and area closures. Smoke may be present from the Wawona Road and the community. Fire managers work closely with Park staff and the local air pollution control districts to time the prescribed burns to coincide with favorable weather and smoke dispersion conditions.


Arch Rock Entrance

PGE will be performing UAS flights in El Portal for pole assessment. Flights will occur daily May 20th through June 4th between the hours of 0800-1700 from the Waste Treatment Plant East to Crane Creek Rd/140. 


Wilderness Center Operations

Wilderness staff will issue permits 7 days/week (8am-5pm) starting May 17.


Closed Campgrounds

Bridalveil Creek, Crane Flat, Tamarack Flat, White Wolf, Yosemite Creek, Porcupine Flat, and Tuolumne Meadow


John Muir Trail

Trail Crew is planning to perform blasting operations on the JMT trail Thursday, May 16.  This section of the trail has been closed to the public due to a rock slide , and there will be no further impact to public access in the area that day other than noise. 


At 11:23 pm on April 15, a large rockfall occurred from the slope above the John Muir Trail between Clark Point and the top of Nevada Fall, sending hundreds of boulders onto the trail. Nearly 1,000 feet of trail are covered with boulders, trees, and other debris. The trail will require significant repair, including drilling and blasting of large boulders. Geologists are now assessing the potential for additional rockfalls. The trail, which was already closed for the winter season, will remain closed for at least several more weeks. A reopening date is not known at this time. Gates are closed across the John Muir Trail at Clark Point and near the top of Nevada Fall. For your safety, please do not enter the closed section of the trail.


Merced River Closure

Effective Monday April 22nd, the Merced River between Clark's Bridge to El Capitan Bridge will be closed to boating (non-motorized vessels) due to flows above 7.0 feet at the Pohono Bridge river gauge. Continued assessments will be completed throughout the week.


Crane Flat Snow Play Area

The Crane Flat Snow Play Area has closed for the season.


Valley Loop Trail

A short section of the Valley Loop Trail at The Ahwahnee is closed due to rockfall risk, although a short detour is available.


Four Mile Trail

The Four Mile Trail is closed due to hazardous conditions near Union Point (about halfway up) with no access to Glacier Point.


Half Dome

The Half Dome cables are down for the season. They are usually available for use starting Memorial Day weekend in May.


Peregrin Falcon Climbing Closures

The peregrine falcon is a fully protected species in California and a special status species in Yosemite due to its sensitivity to disturbance during the nesting season. To protect this species, the superintendent of Yosemite National Park designates peregrine nesting cliffs as areas closed to visitor use, including climbing and slacklining activities, until peregrine chicks have fledged and dispersed from those areas each year. If you encounter any raptor (falcons, eagles, hawks, etc.) while climbing, please email us.

By order of the superintendent of Yosemite National Park and under authority of Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 1.5(a) and Section (a)(1): The following areas are closed to visitor use, including climbing activities, beginning March 1, 2024 and remaining in effect until July 15, 2024, or until further notice:

  • B.O.L.T. Wall – Immediately southwest of Leaning Tower. Closure includes all routes on the B.O.L.T. Wall.

  • El Capitan, SW Face – Closure includes all routes between and including “Octopussy” to the “Dihedral Wall" are closed. The first 9 pitches of the closed routes remain open.

  • Fairview Dome, West Face – Tuolumne Meadows. Closure includes all routes between and including “Heart of Stone” to “Lucky Streaks.” All other routes remain open.

  • Higher Cathedral Rock – Closure includes all routes between and including “Power Point” and “The North Face.” All other routes remain open.

  • Mt. Broderick – West of Liberty Cap. Closure includes the entire SE face of Mt. Broderick opposite Liberty Cap.

  • The Rostrum  Lower Merced Canyon. Closure includes climbing routes on all sides of the Rostrum formation. "Super Nova" and the "Jungle Gym" areas remain open. Slack-lining is prohibited at the summit and the top of the adjacent cliff.

  • Upper Yosemite Fall – Closure includes all routes between and including “Sprayfest” to “Via Aqua."

  • Wawona Dome – Closure includes all routes between and including “Cream of the Crop” to “Bark at the Moon.” From the base, the first pitch of the closed routes between and including “Lunar Eclipse” to “Bird in Flight” remain open.

  • Widow’s Tears – Closure includes all routes within the Widow’s Tears Alcove. Routes on Tower of Cosmic Winds remain open.

  • Yosemite Point – Closure includes all routes between and including “Czech Route” and “Yosemite Point Buttress.” The first 3 pitches of “Czech Route” and the first 5 pitches of “Yosemite Point Buttress” remain open.

Additional Climbing Closures

Rock climbers recently reported a new crack in a cliff on the western side of Royal Arches, near the climbing route Super Slide. Subsequent investigation revealed that this crack has partially detached a large pillar of rock, and that cracking was actively occurring. As a precautionary effort to reduce risk from rockfall, the National Park Service is implementing a temporary area and trail closure starting August 30, 2023:

  • Serenity Crack and Super Slide Climbing Area Closure: Closure includes all routes between and including Peruvian Flake West to the Rhombus Wall. The popular routes Serenity Crack/Sons of Yesterday, and Super Slide are included in the closure. 


Echo Adventure Cooperative Member Rock Climbing in Yosemite
Free Climbing in Yosemite

 

Yosemite Bear Facts

April 14– April 27, 2024

2024 Total Bear Incidents: 0

2024 Total Property Damage: $0


Bear Incident Comparisons (year to date—previous years compared to 2024):

Last year (2023) -  down by 100%

Most Incidents (1998) - down by 100%

Fewest Incidents (2019) - down by 100%


Bear Activity Summary: Four male bears have been active in Yosemite Valley. Green 23, Yellow 20, and White 42 are GPS collared bears who have been causing bear jams in the Valley due to roadside forage. These bears are primarily grubbing in downed logs and grazing on shoots and grasses. Another untagged large male black-colored bear has been seen along riverbanks in the Valley frequently. Purple 1, a female bear who spends time in El Portal, has been active for over a month both in and out of town. Two other GPS collared females are still in or very near their winter den sites.


As bears emerge from hibernation, they will take advantage of any food they find. Cubs of the year and yearlings are especially vulnerable to learning negative behaviors as they encounter humans and human food sources. It is extremely important to keep unoccupied buildings secured (all windows and doors latched or locked), keep all food stored in bear lockers when camping, keep your vehicles clean of all food, drinks, and other attractants like toiletries or gum, only use bear proof dumpsters and trash cans to throw away your food waste, and keep your backpacks and food with you (within arm’s-reach) while out enjoying the park.


Red Bear, Dead Bear: Please help protect wildlife by obeying speed limits and being prepared to stop for animals in roadways. One yearling female was hit and killed by a car this past week. A gray fox was also hit and killed by a vehicle on the Big Oak Falt road near Foresta.


Fascinating Bear Facts: Bears break logs apart while searching for grubs (larvae of wood-boring beetles). This process not only feeds the bear, but supports the decomposition process and soil re-nutrition cycle.


Other Wildlife: Spring is here! Help protect baby wildlife by leashing pets and by keeping your distance. Please leave baby animals where you see them. Deer leave their fawns to go forage and return to them throughout the day. Fledgling birds may be on the ground under a nest as they learn how to fly. These behaviors are normal, and humans trying to help usually cause more harm than good.


Please report bear incidents and sightings:

Call the Yosemite Save-A-Bear Hotline at 209-372-0322 or e-mail yose_bear_mgmt@nps.gov.

For more information about Yosemite’s Bears, please visit: www.KeepBearsWild.org


 

Tuolumne River Flow Rates

Below are planned releases from HHWP facilities through May 29.

 

For permitting and access information contact the Groveland Ranger District.

 

Flows will continue to remain elevated and may vary significantly over the coming weeks as weather changes and spring runoff season progresses.

 

Stated flow rates are best estimates and are subject to change as conditions and operational constraints evolve.

 

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir

  • Flows immediately below Hetch Hetchy are approximately 4,100 cfs.

  • Releases for the next week will target the following schedule

  • Thursday May 23 - Sunday May 26: 4,100 cfs

  • Sunday May 26 - Wednesday May 29: decreasing incrementally to 1,500 cfs on May 29

  • HHWP will provide notice if changes to this schedule arise.

Kirkwood Powerhouse

  • Spill of approximately 700 cfs around the clock May 23-May 24

  • Saturday May 25 – Monday May 27, Memorial Day: spill will reduce to 0 cfs from 09:00-17:00, 700 cfs otherwise

Cherry Reservoir

  • Total flows immediately below Cherry are 350 cfs, increasing to 850 cfs Friday May 24 and remaining 850 cfs through May 29

  • Flow changes may be required to manage reservoir storage

  • Notices to be provided as needed

Holm Powerhouse

  • Spill of approximately 1,000 cfs around the clock May 23-May 24

  • Saturday May 25 – Monday May 27, Memorial Day: spill will reduce to 70 cfs from 09:00-17:00, 1,000 cfs otherwise

Lake Eleanor

  • Run-of-river operation with full storage

  • Valve releases of approximately 650 cfs

  • Spill is expected to range from 0 to 300 cfs

 

___________________________                                                      _

Meral’s Pool (best estimates, actual flows may differ)

  • Flows are currently approximately 7,000 cfs

  • 7,500-8,000 cfs likely on Friday

  • 8,000-5,500 cfs likely Saturday-Sunday

  • 7,000-5,000 cfs likely Monday

  • 6,500-5,500 cfs Tuesday-Wednesday


Echo Adventure Cooperative Member fly fishing on the Tuolumne River
Fly Fishing in the Tuolumne River Backpacking Trip

 

Nature in the News

Chronic Wasting Disease Confirmed in California Deer Population

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been detected for the first time in California’s deer and elk. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) received confirmation on May 6 samples collected from two deer, one in Madera County near Yosemite Lakes and the other in Inyo County, near Bishop. The deer in Madera County was found dead due to unknown causes and the Inyo County deer was found dead after a vehicle collision.  


CWD is a fatal neurologic disease in cervid animals such as deer, elk, moose and reindeer that has been detected in free-ranging cervids from 34 states, including California, and five Canadian provinces as well as Scandinavia. It affects the brain, causing progressive damage and eventually, death. There is no effective treatment or vaccine to combat this disease. Read More...


Being beavers

In a meadow, the squish of mud and splash of a slightly flooded landscape are signs of health. Meadows abound in natural resources and cultural benefits. But within the forests of the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, meadows are in need of help. Fortunately, some eager beaver hands are up to the task. 

Put on your waders, wellies and the perspective of a beaver to learn all about meadows: their ecology, the causes of their deterioration and how they are being restored. There is a lot to learn. So, we visit two national forests and talk to land managers, researchers, Tribal members and restoration specialists. Read more..



 

Yosemite and Gateway Communities in the News


SFGATE

Yosemite rangers created an Instagram tracking overnight climbing permits. By Sam Mauhay-Moore May 16, 2024.


... implementation of a new reservation system in Yosemite National Park during the peak times of the year.


Gripped Magazine

“It was a perfect reintroduction to Yosemite granite.” Honnold's first news-making Yosemitefree-solo was in 2007 when he became the second climber to ...



 

Upcoming Events


Groveland Grind | Saturday, June 8th

Groveland Trail Heads is excited to announce our 4th annual Groveland Grind! This grassroots adventure bicycle ride will traverse mixed terrain on Yosemite's doorstep! Three challenging routes:

  • 48 miles (approx 5400 ft of elevation gain)

  • 30 miles (approx 3000 ft of elevation gain)

  • 21 miles (approx 2200 ft of elevation gain).

Riders will experience everything the majestic Stanislaus National Forest has to offer; grinding climbs, challenging terrain and amazing views! We'll have an after ride party with food, beverages (including beer) Plus a sweet Raffle! Discount for coaches/members of NICA and riders 18yrs old and under.


For Registration visit:




Do you know of anything happening in Yosemite National Park or the surrounding Gateways that you would like to share with visitors!? What about other tidbits you think we should share each week? Add in the comments or message us with more information!



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