Yosemite National Park Warnings Or Dangers Tips by chewy3326 Top 5 Page for this destination
Yosemite National Park Warnings and Dangers: 97 reviews and 89 photos
UPDATE: August 25, 2006, Hwy 140 is now partially open in daylight hours, but CLOSED at night.
This is a temporary warning, mainly aimed at any traveler entering Yosemite National Park in 2006 (and possibly 2007): HWY 140 BETWEEN MARIPOSA AND EL PORTAL (meaning the Arch Rock Entrance) IS CLOSED. There has been a major rock slide that, as of late June 2006, is still active. This closure will probably last the rest of 2006 and may continue into 2007, since a large part of the road will have to be completely rebuilt. El Portal, however, is still open, as is Mariposa. If you are entering the park, use either Hwy 120 (Big Oak Flat Road) or Hwy 41 (Wawona Road).
Each winter, the Sierra Nevada recieves a large amount of snowfall (150+ inches), which will usually shut down many roads and trails in Yosemite National Park. This means that visitors in winter will not be able to reach places like Glacier Point, Mariposa Grove, and Tuolumne Meadows. Here is a bit of information about what's closed and what's not in winter:
Yosemite Valley: Open year round, roads are plowed in winter though chains may become necessary. The Mist Trail from it's first junction with the John Muir Trail to the top of Vernal Fall and the John Muir Trail from Clark Point to the top of Nevada Fall are closed in winter, and the cables ascending Half Dome are down.
Hetch Hetchy: Open year round, though a major snowstorm may cause the road to close temporarily; reduced hours in winter.
Glacier Point: The Glacier Point Road is usually closed from late October-early November to May. In 2006, the Glacier Point Road was opened on May 24. The Glacier Point Road is kept open to Badger Pass during winter.
Mariposa Grove: The Mariposa Grove Road is closed November to April. Plowing starts after snow stops.
Tuolumne Meadows: Tioga Rd is closed from Crane Flat to Lee Vining from late October to May. This is not definite; sometimes snow doesn't come until late in the season (one year, the road wasn't closed until January 1st the next year), and sometimes it snows alot (another year Tioga Rd wasn't open until July 1). In 2005, Tioga Rd was open on June 23, in 2006, on June 17; plowing usually begins on April 15, but on years of heavy snowfall this will be delayed to May 1. Plowing the road takes about 45 days, if there are no major avalanches.
Note that Yosemite's High Sierra Camps usually won't be open before July 1, and that on years of particularly heavy snowfall (like 2005), they were closed for the season.
If you take a certain number of precautions, you're likely never to see a bear or have to deal with one in Yosemite. All bears found in Yosemite National Park are black bears, as the grizzly bears were hunted to extinction by the start of the 20th century. Even black bear numbers are fairly low; still, there are enough bear incidents in Yosemite to make it a major issue.
A few rules concerning bears:
1. NEVER feed a bear! Not only is this illegal and will you be fined heavily, but this is also bad for the bear. Park rangers will tell you, a fed bear is a dead bear, since fed bears will associate humans with food. Before long, they will start approaching people, causing potential injury to other people or running out in the middle of the road and getting hit by cars.
2. Don't speed. There are many red bear signs on Tioga Road that signal where bears have been hit and killed by cars.
3. DO NOT APPROACH bears. If you see a bear from the roadside, take photos of it from inside your car; don't run out and approach it, like some idiots I saw. If you're hiking, back away slowly from the bear; be sure not to walk between a mother and cubs, which will probably end up in you getting mauled by a bear. If a bear threatens, act big and throw things at it; if it attacks, fight back. Maulings are rare and there are less than one per year.
4. Keep all food and scented materials stored in bearproof containers. Do not leave any food in cars, which bears can easily break into. Also, don't leave coolers in cars, even if they are empty, since bears have learned to connect coolers with food. If you are camping (or staying at Curry Village) do not leave food or scented items in your tent. Please help the National Park Service keep these bears wild.
Dana Meadows, 9500 feet
Yosemite National has easy access to very high country on Tioga Rd, so your chance of receiving some form of altitude sickness is possible. Altitude sickness, or acute mountain sickness (AMS) is a disorder that generally occurs when you reach an altitude where your body is no longer able to receive enough oxygen from the thinner air. AMS usually starts occuring around 8,000 feet, though for some people it may occur at lower or higher elevations. It's not suggested to drive from the Bay area to Tuolumne Meadows and hike up Mt. Dana in the same day. People who have spent a few days in Yosemite Valley (4,000 feet) should be able to get to Tuolumne Meadows without major AMS problems. AMS symptoms are usually just headaches, but fatigue and insomnia are also possible. Generally, AMS is not too serious, and anyone suffering from it will improve after they descend to a lower elevation. However, it's always a good idea to acclimatise before heading to a relatively high elevation area. Roads in Yosemite reach 9,945 feet and mountains reach over 13,100 feet, meaning that there is also possibilities of HAPE and HACE, more dangerous forms of the altitude sickness. If you are over 10,000 feet (3000 meters) and feel severe discomfort, it's a good idea to descend to a lower elevation.
Surprisingly, the Park Service has little information or warnings regarding the most dangerous animal in the park, the mosquito. If you're in the vicinity of any meadow, you're bound to be eaten alive; even large amounts of DEET don't deter them. The good news is, although Yosemite National Park protects wildlife, you're free to kill all the mosquitoes you like. Word of warning: Cook's Meadow and Ahwahnee Meadow have especially large concentrations of mosquitoes.
If you're frustrated by the 35 mph signs on roads in the park and would like to go faster, remember that the speed limit is to protect wildlife, not you; national parks don't just preserve scenery, but the everything natural within its borders. Deer and other animals react with bad judgement when they see cars coming, and speeding will not give them enough time to escape. If you hit a deer, not only will the animal die, your car will be heavily damaged. Also, on Tioga Road, slow down for bears! Every red bear sign you see on the roadside signifies that a bear was hit and killed by a car there. Remember that this is their home and not yours.
Wapama Falls footbridge
During peak snowmelt, some Yosemite waterfalls will have exceptionally high water and flood footbridges over streams. An easy example of this is the Wapama Falls footbridge, a wooden bridge across Falls Creek just beneath Wapama Falls. Since the spray and the water of the fall is propelled so powerfully, the bridge (early in the season) will be completely flooded, with water rushing over it. I crossed the bridge once and found it to be a somewhat harrowing experience; at times, the water was strong enough probably to wash me away (thankfully you can hang on to the handrails.) There was probably even more water before I came (late June) since regular peak snowmelt is early June.
If you are hiking in the Hetch Hetchy area, you should keep your eyes on the trail as much as possible; snakes are commonplace around the reservoir. During my 5.4-mile hike to Wapama Fall, I saw two snakes. Park Rangers say that as long as the snake doesn't rattle or have slit-like eyes, it won't be much of a threat to you; rattlesnakes are the main poisonous snakes around the area. Most other snakes are not poisonous and rather harmless. Still, keep you distance if you see one, and do not disturb it.
You'll have to enlargen my photo to see the snake.
It's true that being at a top of a thundering waterfall is exhilarating, but be careful and remember where you are. Each year, quite a few people slip at the brink of waterfalls, fall into the Merced River, Yosemite Creek, or something like that, and plunge a few hundred to a few thousand feet down to their deaths (Waterfall accidents are almost always fatal. If you fall down Upper Yosemite Fall, you'll have quite a bit of time to think about your dilemma before actually hitting anything). So be careful, and try to stay in places where there are railings. Also, the Silver Apron/Emerald Pool area above Vernal Fall is also potentially dangerous; stay out of the Merced River around there.
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