US National Park Service announces part of Yosemite National Park to close for days as flooding forecast

Friday, April 28, 2023

Half Dome and the eastern Yosemite Valley in 2015.
Image: Thomas Wolf.
A map of the closed area.
Image: NPS.

Tuesday, the National Park Service (NPS) announced the eastern section of the Yosemite Valley, in Yosemite National Park, California, US, was to close to visitors from 10:00 PM PDT (UTC−07:00) Friday through at least Wednesday, citing forecasted flooding.

According to the park service's Yosemite Instagram account, Wawona, Mariposa Grove and trails to it, Crane Flat, Hetch Hetchy, and the western Yosemite Valley will remain accessible.

Scott Gediman, a spokesperson for Yosemite, said the closure could be extended into June or July.

The NPS closes parts of the park whenever the Merced River is predicted to be 10 feet (3 m) above normal. According to the agency, this is when "roads and other critical infrastructure begin flooding."

The National Weather Service Monday predicted temperatures between 10°F (5.5°C) and 12°F (6.5°C) above average this weekend, which they said will hasten the snowmelt.

The snowpack from this winter was the highest ever recorded, estimated at 240% above average. "I've been in Yosemite for 27 years and I've never seen this much snow," Gediman said. Parts of Yosemite received 15 feet (5 m) of snow in February.