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Busy Memorial Day weekend expected at Yosemite National Park

May 26, 2010 |  3:09 pm

A deer pauses in a Yosemite Valley meadow.

A busy commute is expected just about everywhere for the three-day Memorial Day holiday weekend, and Yosemite National Park will be no exception.

To help visitors better enjoy their time while there, the park communications office has released the following update, featuring travel suggestions, current conditions and facilities status:

People planning trips into the park are strongly encouraged to arrive before 10 a.m. or after 2 p.m. to avoid long waits at the entrance stations.  Visitors may also choose to ride the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System, which picks up in multiple locations along Highway 140 from Merced and provides multiple drop-off locations throughout Yosemite Valley.  Once visitors arrive in the park, they are urged to ride the free shuttle throughout Yosemite Valley, utilize the bike paths, or walk.

All campgrounds on the reservation system are full.  There are a very limited number of first-come, first-served campsites available throughout the park -- visitors should arrive early to secure a campsite.  All trails within Yosemite are open, however some may still have snow patches and ice present on the trail.  Hikers should be aware that spring weather can be unpredictable and change without warning.

Glacier Point Road will open for the season on Friday at noon. Due to ice and avalanche conditions, Tioga Road will not be open for Memorial Day weekend, and there is no projected opening date.  Mariposa Grove Road is open, however, visitors should be aware that the parking lot fills quickly and there is a free shuttle bus service from Wawona to the Mariposa Grove.

The Half Dome cables will not be in place for the Memorial Day weekend, due to the amount of snow still remaining on Half Dome and the trail to the cables.  There is no projected time for the Half Dome cables to be in place.

Yosemite National Park has received above average precipitation this year, with the snowpack at 115% of average.  The park’s waterfalls are spectacular and the peak flow is expected the first week of June.

Visitors within the park should be aware of high water level and fast moving water in the Merced River and other streams.  With the increasingly warm weather, snow in the high-country continues to melt and fill the Merced River. Extreme caution is important when in proximity to any moving water.

Visitors are urged to drive slowly within the park.  With the warmer weather, animals are more active and are prevalent along the roadways.

No matter what, those traveling this weekend should remember to pack their patience, slow down, and try to enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: A deer pauses in a Yosemite Valley meadow. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times


Memorial Day: Yosemite’s camps are full but sites outside the park aren’t — yet

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