Eastern entrance to Yosemite opens in time for the Fourth | RecordCourier.com

Eastern entrance to Yosemite opens in time for the Fourth

Staff Reports

Ellery Lake near the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park in 2011, the last year wet enough to delay opening Tioga Pass until after the middle of June.

The eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park opened to vehicles on Thursday morning just in time for the Fourth of July holiday.

Park officials said t here will be limited visitor services available from the Tioga Pass Entrance Station to Crane Flat.

Crews from the park and the California Department of Transportation have been working to clear the road for two months after a record-breaking winter.

"All visitors on the road are encouraged to use caution as there may be dirt, debris, and water flowing over sections of the road," officials said. "Visitors are encouraged to keep an eye out for maintenance vehicles working on the roadway."

It has been more than a dozen years since it took this long to open Tioga Pass. In 2005, it reopened on June 24. The last wet winter in 2011 saw the pass reopened on June 18, according to CalTrans. The pass closed on Dec. 1, 2016.

There will be minimal services available along Tioga Pass for several weeks. There will be no drinking water. Visitors should use the vault and portable toilets located along the roadway to help protect water quality in the Tuolumne River watershed. Food service and lodging are not available along Tioga Pass. There is no mobile phone service at this time and 911 emergency calls will not be operational. There are no gasoline services available. Visitors can purchase gasoline in Lee Vining and at Crane Flat.

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For maps and visitor information, visit the Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center, open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the Big Oak Flat Information Station, the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center, and the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center in Lee Vining.

Tamarack Flat Campground is the only campground that is currently open along Tioga Road. This campground is first-come, first served and fills early in the day.

Anyone planning to hike or backpack near Tuolumne Meadows and in all high elevation areas of Yosemite should be prepared for winter hiking and camping conditions. Trails are still impacted by snow and ice. River crossings are high and swift moving. There are several high water areas currently impacting the Pacific Crest Trail and the John Muir Trail in Yosemite National Park. Trail conditions may vary at any time.

When driving in the park, motorists are urged to drive slowly as bears and other animals are active and may be present on the roadway.

For updated 24-hour road and weather conditions for Yosemite National Park, please call 209-372-0200 and press 1, then 1.