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Snow Leaves Eastern Sierra Mountain Roads Closed for the Season

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Snow in the Kearsarge Pass/Onion Valley area in 2009.
Snow in the Kearsarge Pass/Onion Valley area in 2009.  | Photo: Rick McCharles/Flickr/Creative Commons License

Last weekend's storm was the one that counted. At least when it came to mountain road closures in the Eastern Sierra for the season. Bad news for your typical hiker, but good news for cross country skiers, snow shoers, and other winter sports enthusiasts. After all, the gates are only meant to stop vehicles from getting stuck in the snow; people are welcome to go beyond them to enjoy at their own risk.

Inyo County

Inyo County's road department is reporting seasonal closures for 9 Mile Canyon Road out of Pearsonville (access to Kennedy Meadows), Horseshoe Meadows and Whitney Portal roads out of Lone Pine, and Onion Valley Road out of Independence (access to Kearsarge Pass).

Glacier Lodge Road out of Big Pine will continue to be plowed throughout the winter up to Glacier Lodge, which, at 11 miles into the Sierra Nevada, is a good distance anyway.

Caltrans will continue to plow Highway 168 through Aspendale, cutting off access to Lake Sabrina and North Lake. South Lake Road is plowed throughout the season and rarely closes.

Across the Owens Valley, White Mountain Road to Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is closed at Sierra View, but you'll need four-wheel drive to get up to that point, according to Inyo National Forest. If you're in a two-wheel drive, consider the road closed from its beginning at Highway 168.

Mono County

Inyo National Forest currently lists Rock Creek Road as closed at the SNO-PARK, which is traditionally set up half way up the road near East Fork Campground. Besides SNO-PARK activities, the nearby Rock Creek Lodge offers dining service and lodging accessible by snowmobile taxi or cross country skiing.

In the Mammoth Lakes area, the road leading to Devils Postpile, Reds Meadow, and Minaret Vista is inaccessible to vehicles past Mammoth Mountain.

Also closed for the season in the Mammoth area is Lake Mary Road after Twin Lakes Road and Old Mammoth Road from the Bluffs neighborhood at La Verne. Not all is lost in the Lakes Basin, however. Tamarack Lodge, which is owned by Mammoth Mountain, grooms over 20 miles track for country skiing, good for both striding and skate styles. Day passes cost up to $28. A groomed trail by Inyo National Forest also starts in the vicinity and is free. It's open to snow shoeing, dog walking, and, if the previous two activities hasn't killed the grooming too much, some striding cross country skiing. Both can be accessed via Lake Mary Road.

Father up north, Tioga Road into Yosemite National Park is closed for the season.

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