The most current road and access information INSIDE Yosemite is available by calling the park’s recorded information line at (209) 372-0200. Also available is the Park Service’s Road & Weather Conditions.
To see live conditions in the park, check out the Yosemite Webcams.
There are 4 different highways into Yosemite:
Safe driving in winter weather takes some preparation and a good measure of common sense. Following are some tips that will make your winter journey safe and enjoyable.
Consider taking a tour and leave the driving to others. To avoid winter driving in Yosemite you can also take YARTS (Yosemite Area Regional Transit System). YARTS service begins in Merced and stops all along Hwy 140 in the winter, picking up at hotels in Mariposa. Midpines, El Portal and in Yosemite National Park.
- Allow enough time. Trips to the mountains can take longer during winter than other times of the year, especially if you encounter storm conditions or icy roads. Get an early start and allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
- Keep your gas tank full. It may be necessary to change routes or turn back during a bad storm or you may be caught in a traffic delay.
- Keep your windshield and windows clear. You may want to stop at a safe turnout to use a snow brush or scraper. Use the car defroster and a clean cloth to keep the windows free of fog.
- Slow down. Breezing along at 65 miles an hour may be safe in dry weather but it’s an invitation for trouble on snow and ice. Snow and ice make stopping distances much longer, so keep your seat belt buckled and leave more distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead. Bridge decks and shady spots can be icy when other areas are not. Remember to avoid sudden stops and quick direction changes. If you slide, take your foot off the gas and steer in the direction of the slide.
- Be more observant. Visibility is often limited in winter by weather conditions. Slow down and watch for other vehicles that have flashing lights, visibility may be so restricted during a storm that it is difficult to see the slow moving equipment.
- When stalled, stay with your vehicle and try to conserve fuel while maintaining warmth. Be alert to any possible exhaust or monoxide problems.
Special thanks to CalTrans for these safe driving tips.
Weather can change rapidly during all seasons of the year in Yosemite. Elevation plays a major role in temperature and precipitation. Most of the moisture comes in the months of January, February and March, and the winter climate is relatively mild. Sierra summers are typically warm and dry. April and November are transitional months, when warm, sunny days can suddenly become stormy. Clouds can build up during the summer to produce spectacular thunderstorm activity.
It is wise to pack for any season with clothing that can be “layered,” ready to peel off or add on as the thermometer dictates. Always include some kind of rain gear when visiting this climate.