Yosemite: High Snow Levels May Delay Access to Half Dome, Key Roads, but Waterfalls Should Last Longer

Yosemite National Park Road Crews working on clearing the Tioga Road | NPS Photo

This year's incredible snowfall in Northern California means skiing at Mammoth Mountain will last through the Fourth of July, but it might hamper plans of those with permits to climb Half Dome this upcoming Memorial Day weekend, which is when the popular cable-hike traditionally opens.

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Yosemite National Park officials today said "it is doubtful that the cables will be ready for use by the Memorial Day weekend" because of too much snow on Half Dome and the Subdome. This is the first year that permits, which are already sold out (check the website periodically for cancellations), are required seven days a week to reach the top of Half Dome.

Additionally, Tioga Road will not be open by the holiday weekend, an official told KCET. He did note, however, that there's a chance Glacier Point Road will be cleared by then.

All that said, the heavy water levels--the most recent snow survey found drainage of the Merced and Tuolumne rivers are 199 and 184 percent of normal, respectively--mean creek drainage waterfalls that usually dry up by June or mid-July, like the popular Yosemite Falls, could run well into August.

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About the Author

Zach Behrens is KCET's Director of News, Region and State, working on digital and on-air news products that relate to Southern California and beyond.
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