After an exceptional winter, Yosemite’s high country is still deeply covered in snow, making the spring clearance of Tioga Road a daunting task for the park’s dedicated road crew.
The team is assigned to clear a 45.5-mile stretch of road that extends from Crane Flat to the Tioga Pass entrance station. As of May 13, Saturday, they have successfully cleared the initial 11 miles of the route, carving a wide pathway through the deep snow. The crew is nearing White Wolf, where the tops of bathrooms and other buildings are just beginning to peek out from the snow cover.
As the road workers ascend, moving to altitudes over 9,000 feet, they face increasingly difficult conditions. They must tackle miles of road blanketed under at least ten feet of heavily compacted snow and cautiously traverse several perilous avalanche-prone zones. Working diligently seven days a week, the crew is making steady progress to clear Tioga Road, with the team’s safety being of utmost importance.
As of now, there is no confirmed date for the reopening of Tioga Road. A snowpack survey conducted on April 1 revealed that it was 240% of the average, a record high for this region. In past years with comparably heavy snowpack, Tioga Road did not reopen until late June or early July. Given the present conditions, much of Yosemite’s Wilderness is expected to remain snow-covered well into the summer season.