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questions about Yosemite NP in October
Posted September 26th, 2012 - 1:36 pm by from Zwolle, Netherlands (Permalink)
hey everyone! A friend and i are going to visit Yosemite National Park at the end of October. We wish to visit Death Valley National Park as well.

My first question is, at this time of year, what will the weather be like?
What sights do we not want to miss at this time of year?

We have rented a car and want to drive from the park via Mono Lake to Death Valley.
While looking up the route on Google Maps it said that the Tioga Road that runs through Yosemite National Park could be closed. How big is the chance that this will be the case at October 26th? And if it is closed, what alternative routes do you recommend?

Sorry for this waterfall of questions =]

Any advice will be greatly appreciate!

Ciao!

Jeske

Posted September 26th, 2012 - 1:36 pm by from Zwolle, Netherlands (Permalink)
appreciateD ;]

Posted September 27th, 2012 - 6:28 am by from Fresno, United States (Permalink)
Jeske,

Here are some links with information:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g61000-i315-k4372380-Tioga_Pass_Mid_October-Yosemite_National_Park_California.html

http://www.yosemitehikes.com/yosemite-info/road-conditions.htm

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/fall.htm

The information on the links indicate the dates when the Tioga Pass Road was closed for the season, but they do not indicate if the road was closed temporarily after a snowstorm. For example, last year there was an early snowstorm that closed Tioga Pass Road in October, 2011. After that early storm last year, it stayed warm and the road soon reopened and did not close for the season until January, 2012, which is the official closing date for last winter.

My guess is that it will be unlikely that the Tioga Pass Road will be closed for the season by the end of October because it has been a rather warm and dry year so far. But, in the mountains, weather conditions can change suddenly and you have to check the forecast for the days you will visit.

Because it will be cold at the end of October, any chance of precipitation could mean snow at the 4000 feet elevation of Yosemite Valley, and an even greater chance at the 10,000 feet (3000 meter) elevation near Tioga Pass.

If there is any chance of precipitation, you should consider using the west entrance for Yosemite (Highway 140 through Merced) and driving down Highway 99 through Central California to Death Valley.

Enjoy your visit to Yosemite! Are you staying there overnight?

-Mike

Posted October 24th, 2012 - 4:40 am by from Zwolle, Netherlands (Permalink)
hi Mike! Thanks for the info! Just read on the website that the Tioga Road is indeed closed... We are wondering whether, without having this opportunity to drive to the beautiful spots in the park, it is worth going. What would you say?

Posted October 24th, 2012 - 3:32 pm by from Fresno, United States (Permalink)
Jeske,

Sorry I couldn't respond last night (I couldn't get onto the Couchsurfing web site).

You absolutely should still visit Yosemite. The roads to Yosemite (Highways 120, 140 and 41) will be open. The Tioga Pass Road from the east is labeled as "temporarily closed" due to the recent snow and there is a slight chance that may open by thge time you leave the park on the weekend.

But, you can always drive out the west entrance (Highway 140 through Merced) or the south entrance (Highway 41 through Oakhurst) and then continue south on Highway 99 and then get to Death Valley. Taking either of these routes would be about 10 hours of driving to get to Death Valley.

You can stop in Fresno and stay/visit at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks to see the Giant Sequoia trees. This will be your only place you can see these, except for the mariposa Grove near the south entrance of Yosemite if you take the Highway 41 route out of the park.

Will you be camping and staying overnight in Yosemite? Have you contacted any couchsurfers who live in Yosemite Valley? If you have camping gear, there are campsites still available at the three Pines campgrounds in Yosemite Valley (North Pines, Upper Pines and Lower Pines).

But, it will be cold there at night this weekend (probably 0 to -5 Centigrade, so you will need a sleeping bag that can handle that temperature range.

I wouldn't recommend doing that unless you have experience at camping in winter conditions, but there does not seem to be rain or snow in the forecast in Yosemite this weekend, so camping may be possible if you can deal with the cold.

below is a link to weather information:

http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?query=zmw:95389.1.99999

You can check on campsite reservations here:

www.recreation.gov

Search for "Yosemite National Park" and select "Camping and Lodging" for the days you will be there.

If you want to brave the cold, you may be able to get cheap sleeping bags rated for about -10C at discount stores like Walmart, Target, Sports Authority, Dick's Sporting Goods, Sports Authority, etc. I see Walmart has an "Everest Mummy Bag" rated for -15C for under $30.

For road information you can call Yosemite's road info phone number at: 1-209-372-0200, then press 1 and then 1 again.

You can see if Highway 120 is open by going to the web site:

www.dot.ca.gov

and typing in "120" for the highway number.


Posted October 24th, 2012 - 4:16 pm by from Fresno, United States (Permalink)
If you look at this web cam:

http://www.yosemiteconservancy.org/webcams/high-sierra

you can see the amount of snow on Cloud's Rest, behind Half Dome. That may give you an idea tomorrow or Friday whether there is a chance that enough snow has melted to allow the Tioga Pass Road to be plowed open.

Posted October 26th, 2012 - 8:22 am by from Fresno, United States (Permalink)
The Tioga Pass Road is open as of Friday, and there doesn't seem to be rain in the forecast until next week, so it will probably remain open through the weekend so you can drive through to the eastern Sierra and down highway 395.

Enjoy your visit there!

Posted October 24th, 2012 - 8:06 pm by from San Jose, United States (Permalink)
There are still lots of beautiful things to see in Yosemite Valley--Half Dome, El Capitan, the waterfalls, the river, the meadows, the Ahwanee Lodge... In fact, most people think of Yosemite Valley when they think of Yosemite. So Tioga road gets you to more pretty scenery at much higher elevations, but the main things that people want to see are in the valley, which you don't need Tioga road for.