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Backpacking in Yosemite National Park.

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Tioga Road Limited Opening June 21, 2019 sticky icon



First Highway 120 Opening for 2019 Season

Yosemite National Park Announces Limited Access on Tioga Road Beginning on Friday, June 21, 2019,
Yosemite National Park, June 19, 2019.


Limited Access
" to all vehicles, including bicycles, from 10:00 am to 11:00 am and from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm."

No Parking
" visitor parking available at either end of the road closure."

Tuolumne Meadows Closed
"There are no visitor services available along Tioga Road. The Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center, Wilderness Center, and the Tuolumne Meadows Campground remain closed."

"Opening dates for the 2019 season have not been determined."

"The road will remain closed outside of these times to allow for continued roadwork and snow clearing."

"Cyclists traveling over Tioga Road will need to be prepared to cross over the full length of Tioga Road during daylight hours. Tioga Road is closed to overnight camping."

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High Sierra Mammals Reference-Identification sticky icon

High Sierra Small Mammals Forum, Identification, and References 




Mammals, identification, Greg Lasley Photography.

Mammals of Yosemite National Park, (1952) by Harry C. Parker.

For more links about animal, plant, geology, and astronomy information for backpackers see the High Sierra Backpacking links page on the trail guide.





 Last Update




March 27


The Kangaroo Jumping Rat

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2019 Glacier Point Road Opening May 10th



2019 Opening Dates
Highway 108, Sonora Pass, Open as of June 3
Highway 4, Ebbetts Pass,    Open as of June 3
Highway 120, Tioga Road,   Still Closed on June 3


Glacier Point Update, May 29: OPEN

Glacier Point Update, May 17: Closed Through Sunday, May 19, 2019

Glacier Point Update, May 14: Glacier Point Road Closed for Storm of 5-15


Yosemite Roads

All High Sierra Road Info


Through the Snowy High Sierra
Through the Snowy High Sierra  Driving to Sonora Pass, Hwy 108, June 2010
Driving to Sonora Pass, Hwy 108, June 2010


Yosemite Road News & Status of Trans-Sierra Highways

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High Sierra Backpacking Trip Report: Twin Lakes-Benson Lake Loop, July 14 to July 21, 2018


Trip Report
Bensen Lake Loop

July 14 – 21, 2018

Editor's Note
This trip begins and ends at the Twin Lakes Trailhead in the Toiyabe-administered Northern section of the Hoover Wilderness. It climbs precipitiously to, then over the Sierra Crest, into the heart of the very difficult backpacking terrain of the North Yosemite Backcountry.

Intercepting the routes of the unified PCT-TYT along Rancheria Creek in Kerrick Canyon, our route turns South with them, down through the beauties of Seavy Pass before plunging down into the Bensen Hole, only  to climb back out and over Bensen Pass, on our way back to Twin Lakes by splitting off the PCT-TYT to climb up through Matterhorn Canyon, on our way back to our starting trailhead at Twin Lakes.

Check out the maps, miles, and description of this fine route below...

Time & Distance

Eight Nights

Around 54 miles


All Photos


Trail Guide

Bensen Lake Loop Detailed Map

Barney Lake in the Hoover Wilderness
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Yosemite Announces Delayed Facility Openings, & Beware Snow-Covered Trails through July


Seasonal News of Note
Yosemite Announces Delayed Facility Openings

Note the Snow will Affect High Trail Access, & Damages will Affect Trails Too

Yosemite National Park Announces Late Seasonal Openings for Several Park Facilities,
Yosemite National Park, March 13, 2019.


Damaged Facilities
“...that there will be late seasonal openings to facilities throughout the park...due to the exceptionally heavy snowpack in Yosemite National Park and the subsequent extensive damage to many park facilities.”

Stormy Winter
“...significant storm systems in January and February produced high levels of snow, which resulted in temporary road closures, rock and debris slides, and falling trees. Additionally, these storms resulted in extensive damage to facilities throughout the park. Damage to facilities includes trees falling on and damaging campground restrooms, utilities systems compromised, tent cabins damaged or destroyed, and falling trees impacting campsites, parking areas, hiking trails, and roads.”

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SPRING 2019: Yosemite Extends Glacier Point Winter Access


Seasonal News of Note

Massive Snowpack on the Sierra Nevada

Yosemite National Park Announces Glacier Point Road and the Surrounding Trails to Remain Open for Extended Winter Season,
Yosemite National Park, March 28, 2019.


“Yosemite National Park is pleased to announce that Glacier Point Road and the surrounding trails will remain open for winter recreational use through Sunday, April 14, 2019, conditions permitting.”

“Due to the significant snow pack, the current trail conditions are great for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing throughout the area surrounding Glacier Point Road. Typically, winter recreational use in this area ends at the end of March when the park closes Glacier Point Road to begin seasonal plowing operations.”


Last Yosemite News

Yosemite Announces Delayed Facility Openings

Note the Snow will Affect High Trail Access, & Damages will Affect Trails Too

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Daily Lottery for Camp 4, Yosemite Valley



The Rules Have Changed at Camp Four
The Rules of Camp Four, Yosmeite Valley, 2012.
The Rules Posted on Camp 4, Yosemite Valley's Backpacker (really climber) Camp, 2012.


Oh, My Aching the Wilderness

Yosemite National Park Announces the Launch of a Pilot Daily Lottery for Camp 4 Campground,
Yosemite National Park, April 16, 2019.


Lottery Reservations
“Yosemite National Park announces that a new pilot lottery program for Camp 4 Campground will launch on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.

Daily Lottery
“This daily lottery system will be operated through and will help improve the visitor experience at Camp 4 Campground.”

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2019 Yosemite Half Dome Permit Lottery Delayed


Forest Permit
National Forest backpacking permit.

Yosemite Reservation System


Half Dome Lottery to Open on March 13

Yosemite National Park Announces that the 2019 Half Dome Preseason Lottery will Open on Wednesday, March 13, 2019,
Yosemite National Park, March 5, 2019.


Original Announcement

Yosemite National Park Announces that the 2019 Half Dome Preseason Lottery will be Delayed,
Yosemite National Park, February 26, 2019.



"March 1 Preseason Lottery delayed."

"...due to a transition to a new contracted provider. "

"Check back March 5 for update."

More National Park Information 


Killer View

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Death on the Mist Trail: Visitor Fatality in Yosemite National Park


Death on the Mist Trail

Happy Isles Trailhead
Happy Isles Trailhead for the John Muir Trail, Yosemite Valley.
Yosemite Valley, the start point of the JMT, from the trail guide.

Visitor Fatality in Yosemite National Park,
February 25, 2019.

Yosemite Valley Backpacking Map


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Critically Endangered Yellow-Legged Frogs Released to Bolster Wild Populations


Disease, Decimation, and Hope

High Sierra Yellow Legged Frog
High Sierra Yellow Legged Frog, by Roland Knapp.
Photo Credit: Elliot Lowndes

High Sierra Yellow Legged Frogs Translocation, Recovery Science, & Status

Location, location, location,
University of California - Santa Barbara, November 19, 2018.


Also Published by the
Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory, with pics


The Problem
“…Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog, amphibian residents of Yosemite National Park left devastated by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd),...”

“ these frogs by reintroducing them to lakes from which they have disappeared because of Bd.”

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John Muir, the establishment of Yosemite Nation Park, and construction of the John Muir Trail.

History of John Muir, Yosemite, and the John Muir Trail


Two elements of the history of John Muir
on this page:

1> Exploration of Sierra Nevada and formation of Yosemite National Park

2> Father of the John Muir Trail, and the History of the Construction of the John Muir Trail


John Muir Trail on Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide



A Brief History
John Muir's influence on  the establishment of Yosemite National Park.

From Green, Yosemite, Park and Resources.


Arrival of John Muir in California, page 299

March 1868

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2018 Selfie Tourist Death off Nevada Falls


Tourist Death off Nevada Falls

Nevada Falls, Yosemite National Park
Nevada Falls, Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide

Teen from Israel reportedly dies in Yosemite after taking selfie atop Nevada Fall,
SFGate, September 6, 2018.

“A teen visiting Yosemite National Park from Israel fell to his death Wednesday while trying to take a selfie, according to an Israeli news report.”

Sign at Nevada Falls

Safety Sign at Nevada Falls, Yosemite National Park.


Yosemite Valley Map

Yosemite Valley to Merced Lake or Cathedral Pass

Click red dots for trail guide pages


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Started July 16, 2018
(bottom of page)
August 29th

Tree News

July & August 2018


These fires of Summer are finally winding down, meaning this page is approaching the end of its life, and will soon be retired.

As of this date the Ferguson-Carr-Mendo-& Cranston Fires are Contained.
Donnell Fire is 62% Contained as of this Date.

Start at the bottom of this page, with the May Warnings of a dire fire season approaching, then work your way back up here to the top, through reports on this year's Summer Fires, and then onto the next page, for the second fire season of 2018,
the Fall Fire Season of 2018.

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Beetles Devastate Western Pines, Heat, Droughts, Beetles, & Fires All Continue Rising


Beetles Devastate Billions of Western Pine Trees

Heat, Droughts, Beetles, & Fires All Continue Rising

A tiny beetle has left Yosemite dangerously vulnerable to fire,
SF Chron, July 18, 2018.

"An epidemic of bark beetles is devastating billions of pine trees across the West in what has been described as the largest forest insect outbreak ever recorded. In California, the tree die-off is especially prevalent in the 4,500-foot to 6,000-foot elevation range of the central and southern Sierra. Yosemite Valley is just about 4,000 feet above sea level."

"Since 2010, more than 129 million drought-weakened and beetle-infested trees have died across 7.7 million acres of California forest, according to U.S. Forest Service estimates."

...there's no evidence that bark beetle infestation will subside anytime soon. In fact warming temperatures are expected to expand the insect's range, allowing it to thrive in higher elevations that previously would have been too cold for the bug to survive."


Earlier Beetle Research


Climate Change News: Study confirms beetles exploit warm winters to expand range


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Rapid Safety Analysis of Yosemite Rockfall Consequences




Yosemite Rockfalls

Rapid Safety Analysis of Potential Rockfall Consequences

Rapid 3D analysis of rockfalls in Yosemite,
Geological Society of America, June 28, 2018.

Everything in Motion

"Although the cliffs of Yosemite Valley may appear static, rockfalls from these cliffs are common, with a rockfall occurring every four to five days on average."

Big Moves

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May 2018: Hiker Falls to Death off Half Dome Cables



Hiker Falls to Death off Half Dome Cables

Yosemite hiker falls to his death from Half Dome cables, national park says,
Fresno Bee, May 24, 2018.


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June 2, 2018, Two Climbers Die on El Capitan


Mountain Safety

Two Climbers Die on El Capitan

Freeblast Route

Two Climbers Fall from El Capitan in Yosemite National Park,
Yosemite Press Release, May 2, 2018.

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TUOLUMNE MEADOWS CONDITIONS, Update for April 18, 2018



Tuolumne Meadows Winter Rangers

Update for April 18, 2018 (last update for the season)



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Weather News: Tropical Times, Radically Changing Mountain Weather


Tropical Times

Radically Changing Mountain Weather

No Snow But Over Two Inches Of Rain In Tuolumne Meadows

Tuolumne Meadows Conditions Update for April 11, 2018,
United States Park Service, Tuolumne Meadows Winter Conditions.

"...2.11 inches of water in the form of rain."

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