Settle into the driver’s seat and get ready for a double dose of delight as you wind your way through Yosemite Mariposa County’s scenic highways. Read on to learn about Yosemite road conditions before your visit.
In general, Yosemite’s roads remain clear and passable year-round, with a few exceptions; Tioga Road, Glacier Point Road, and the Mariposa Grove Road (sort of).
Higher-elevation roads like Highway 41 and Highway 120 are more likely to have snow (and chain controls) during the winter. Highway 140, also known as the All-Weather Highway, is at a lower elevation and remains snow-free more often.
The road to Hetch Hetchy is also open year-round during the day.
This view of Tenaya Lake is one of many famous overlooks along Tioga Road – a high-altitude road that crosses the park from Crane Flat to Lee Vining and other destinations to the east of the Sierra Nevada.
Tioga Road, the portion of Highway 120 that goes east through the park and over Tioga Pass to the east side of the Sierra, is only open during the summer months. During the winter, deep snow and avalanche hazards make this route impassable. It’s hard to guess exactly when this road will be open each year because it depends on conditions, but very roughly speaking, Tioga Road closes sometime around November and re-opens in May or June.
You can get a better idea based on the historical opening and closing dates (tracked since 1980), and in the spring, the National Park Service posts occasional plowing updates starting in roughly mid-April if you want to follow the progress in the final stretch.
The famous U-Bend in Glacier Point Road features a view of Half Dome.
The Glacier Point Road is a spur road off of Highway 41 that leads to scenic overlooks like Glacier Point. During the winter months, this road is only open as far as Badger Pass Ski Area. Beyond the ski area, the road is groomed for cross-country skiing. Snowshoers are also permitted along the outside edges of the groomed track.
NPS has also tracked the opening and closing dates of Glacier Point Road since 1995 and will post plowing updates as they work to get the road open in the spring.
Note: The Glacier Point Road is undergoing renovation in 2022 and will be closed to vehicles including bicycles during the summer months.
The Mariposa Grove Road and shuttle system are typically open from as early as March 15 and will close for the season around November 30.
Most people normally aren’t allowed to drive on Mariposa Grove Road. The main parking is at the Welcome Center close to the South Entrance Gate, and you can hike the two-mile (3.2 km) Washburn Trail to the Arrival Area or take a shuttle bus when those are running. People in a vehicle with a disability placard or license plate also have the option to drive up to the Arrival Area during the summer.
The Mariposa Grove Road is not plowed in the winter and becomes inaccessible by car, though cross country skiers, snowshoers and hikers often enjoy traveling along the winter road when it is covered in snow.
NPS has been tracking the opening and closing dates of the Mariposa Grove Road since 2010.
Note: The Mariposa Grove Road and shuttle system closed to vehicles following a devastating Mono Wind event in early 2021. We do not yet have any news about when it might re-open.
With mild low-elevation winters, getting around Yosemite Mariposa County is usually very straightforward. However, when a winter storm moves in, there is the possibility of snow on the roads and chain control restrictions both in Yosemite as well as outside the park.
Be sure to check the weather forecast before your visit so you are aware of any approaching storm systems.
Get the most up-to-date road conditions inside Yosemite National Park by calling the road conditions hotline: (209) 372-0200 (press 1 and 1 again).
If you’re wondering “Is it safe to drive to Yosemite right now?” you can call the road conditions hotline at 209-372-0200 (press 1 and 1 again to listen to the recording) to get the best and most up-to-date road conditions in Yosemite National Park.
The park also updates current road conditions on its current conditions page. However, this requires an extra step, so when the weather is changing quickly, or there is a storm in the forecast, the road condition hotline is the more reliable source of information.
Finally, for a general idea of what the weather is like and what kind of conditions you can expect on the roadways, it’s always nice to check the Yosemite webcams for a visual on the current driving conditions in Yosemite.
Highway 140 is also known as the All-Season Highway because it tends to remain snow-free more often than other routes into the park. Call CalTrans for information on highways outside Yosemite National Park.
While low elevation roads like The All-Weather Highway, Highway 140, tend to be easy to navigate in winter, sometimes a particularly cold snowstorm will create chain control conditions outside the park boundary as well. Along higher-elevation routes like Highway 120 or Highway 41, encountering winter road conditions before entering the park is more common.
Check with CalTrans for the current conditions of roads outside Yosemite National Park or call 1-800-427-7623.
With iconic views that draw visitors from around the world, Yosemite wins all the popularity contests. During the summer months, finding parking and navigating transportation is easiest if you start the day early, and plan ahead to avoid climbing back into your vehicle during the middle of the day. We recommend timing your visit so that you reach an entrance to Yosemite before 9:00 am, though the earlier the better.
Check out public transportation options like YARTS or the free shuttles in Yosemite Valley. Bicycles are also a great way to explore Yosemite Valley. Not only is biking a fun activity, you can also stop whenever you want to take in the view. If you can’t bring your own, you can rent bikes at the Curry Village Bike Stand or and at the Yosemite Valley Lodge Bike Stand, or take advantage of the Yosemite Conservancy Bike Share program for short trips around Yosemite Valley.