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Hoping to head to Yosemite on Highway 120 this summer? Not so fast

Several feet of snow surround the Tioga Pass entrance station to Yosemite on June 22, 2017.
Several feet of snow surround the Tioga Pass entrance station to Yosemite on June 22, 2017.

Snowmelt flowing over the roadway, along with a variety of infrastructure repairs being made, combine to keep Highway 120/Tioga Road closed through Yosemite National Park, according to the park and Caltrans.

There’s no estimated opening date for the route, which is closed to all traffic, including bicycles. In years with similar snowpack, the road has opened in late June or early July. In recent dry years – 2012-16 – it opened no later than mid-May, according to a chart on the nps.gov website.

The park and its partners are repairing power, communications, water and sewer systems along Tioga Road following a record-breaking year for winter snowpack. “The park is diligently working to ensure that adequate sanitation facilities are in place to meet visitor needs and to protect the water quality in the Tuolumne River watershed,” says a Yosemite news release.

Visitors entering the park through the Highway 120/Big Oak Flat entrance still can get to Yosemite Valley on Big Oak Flat Road. The Tioga Road closure extends from Tuolumne Grove, east of Crane Flat, to the Tioga Pass entrance station, The Fresno Bee reports. Vehicles cannot drive to Tuolumne Meadows nor enter the park from the east.

April snow surveys indicated that in its high elevations, the park saw the highest snowpack on record. In many locations above 8,000 feet, it measured over 200 percent of average, based on water content, according to the National Park Service.

Now, warm summer weather has increased snowmelt, resulting in high water levels that are fluctuating daily, Yosemite reports.

For more information, contact Yosemite National Park at 209-372-0200.

Deke Farrow: 209-578-2327

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