Yosemite National Park Is Closed to Visitors, and There's No Reopening Date
Winter weather is at the root of the issue, with record snow accumulation in Yosemite Valley.
Spring break is fast approaching—and for many of us, that means some much-needed time off. A U.S. national park is a great option for any adventurer, but if Yosemite is at the top of your list, you'll want to make sure it's open first. The iconic national park is currently closed to visitors—and as of right now, there's no reopening date set. Read on to find out more about the ongoing Yosemite closure.
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Yosemite is buried in snow.
According to the National Park Service (NPS), Yosemite National Park in California is usually always open—24 hours a day, 365 days a year. But this winter, park officials made an exception due to extreme snowstorms.
On Feb. 25, the park tweeted that it would be closed through Wednesday, March 1 as a result of "severe winter conditions." Initially, Yosemite planned to reopen the following day, but as a second storm brewed, the park tweeted again to confirm that it would remain closed indefinitely.
"Yosemite has experienced significant snowfall in all areas of the park, resulting in snow depths up to 15 feet in some areas," the park tweeted on Feb. 28. "There is no estimated date for reopening."
Accompanying photos show cabins buried in fluffy snow drifts, as well as a door opening into a men's bathroom, with snow stacked almost to the top of the entryway.
The snowfall actually broke records.
Yosemite was already overwhelmed by snow that fell in the Sierra Nevada mountain range on Friday and Saturday, with additional snowfall compounding the issue this week.
According to the Los Angeles Times, as of Feb. 28, the snow accumulation in Yosemite Valley broke a 54-year standing record, with a whopping 40 inches measured on the valley floor. The previous record was 36 inches, dating back to Feb. 28, 1969.
"In all of my years here, this is the most snow that I've ever seen at one time," ranger Scott Gediman, a spokesperson for Yosemite, told the outlet. "This is the most any of us have ever seen."
There's no set reopening date.
Park officials warned that the overwhelming amount of snow makes travel through Yosemite dangerous—and it could even be impossible, per the Los Angeles Times. With that in mind, officials don't know when the park will reopen.
In the Feb. 28 tweet, Yosemite wrote that "park crews are working to restore critical services so visitors can safely return." Gediman echoed this in conversation with the Los Angeles Times, noting that efforts include removing snow from roofs and roadways, obtaining supplies, and getting power back up and running—all while ensuring park staff stays safe.
"What we're doing is literally taking it one day at a time," Gediman said. "We're just digging out and doing the best we can to remove the snow and get the park ready for visitors in a safe manner."
Future visitors are concerned.
Yosemite National Park officials advised the public to keep an eye on its website and social media accounts for updates on conditions, but it remains unclear when the park will be able to welcome visitors again.
On Twitter, many are concerned about how their trips might be impacted. "Coming all the way from Australia to visit on the 16th & 17th March," one user tweeted on Feb. 28, with emojis of crossed fingers and praying hands.
Another visitor addressed the park directly on Feb. 26, asking how their upcoming trip might be affected. "Curiosity—I'm visiting at the end of March. What happens if we already have hotel reservations within the park and it closes?" they wrote. "What if we are already in the park and it gets closed?"
Yosemite responded to the tweet directly, clarifying that visitors receive a refund if the park closes ahead of a scheduled visit, but that changes if visitors are already inside the park. "If the park closes after you arrive, we will evacuate you whenever it is safe," the park tweeted on Feb. 26. "Full closures like this do occur but are not too common."