Two year road project will Limit access to the world famous picture destination in Yosemite
Speak to past visitors of Yosemite National Park and ask them what the cant miss location to visit in Yosemite and many if not most will say that Glacier Point is at the top or near to the top of the must see locations in Yosemite. Well if it is your dream location to visit then 2021 might need to be your year if you are not up to the extreme hiking it will take to reach it in 2022 and most of 2023.
Glacier Point Road Project – 2022 and 2023
Glacier Point Road will be closed to all traffic in 2022 to rehabilitate and improve the road. The only access to Glacier Point will be via the Four Mile, Panorama, and Pohono Trails, all of which are strenuous hikes. There will be 30-minute delays in 2023.
The existing roadway was completed in 1936, replacing the original wagon road built in 1882. This area attracts high volumes of traffic year-round because it provides access to Bridalveil Creek Campground, Glacier Point, the Badger Pass Ski Area, and numerous trailheads.
Needless to say it is time for an overhaul of the Parks highway. The closure will also eliminate bus service up to Glacier Point meaning many more vehicles as well staying in the valley longer which will increase the already tense traffic and parking situations in the valley.
What road closures will take place?
Construction will take place from spring through fall in 2022 and 2023, unless unforeseen weather extends the project. There will be a full road closure from spring through fall 2022 and 30-minute delays in 2023.
In addition to pulverizing and paving the entire road from Badger Pass to Glacier Point, intensive road repair would take place in the following key areas:
- Repair curves on the road leading down to Glacier Point. This road segment contains steep and narrow hairpin curves that drop 600 feet in elevation in about 1.6 miles. Currently large vehicles cross the double-yellow centerline to navigate the curves.
- Address safety hazards at the scenic overlook viewing the Clark Range by improving the pullout.
- Repair road areas west of Summit Meadow to prevent the continued settlement of the roadway.
- Pave the overflow parking area at the Sentinel Dome trailhead. Current off pavement parking is damaging fragile resources in this high-elevation habitat. This parking area will continue to accommodate the same number of vehicles. Additionally, new accessible vault toilets will be installed at the parking area.
- Formalize the McGurk Meadow Trailhead parking area to increase safety.
- Repave the Glacier Point parking area. Additionally, two new concrete staircases will be built to connect the upper and lower parking areas and one additional oversize vehicle space will be created.
How will the road closure affect programming at Glacier Point?
There will be no Glacier Point interpretive programs or other special programs such as the symphony and Starry Sky Programs in 2022. All programs will resume in 2023.
Can I hike on the road during construction?
The Four Mile Trail, Pohono Trail, and Panorama Trail will remain open both years, though hikers must stay outside of work zones. Trailheads along the Glacier Point Road will be closed in 2022 and hikers must access trails from connecting trails and trailheads outside the Glacier Point Road corridor. All trails in the southern section of the park will remain open.
Can I bike along the road during construction?
Biking will not be allowed on the Glacier Point Road during construction to protect the safety of bicylists and workers.
Who should plan a trip in 2021
Ok so this is a subjective question, but lets think about this a bit. We as a people are just coming out of world wide travel bans from Covid so we are expecting 2021 tourism to potentially peak. So if you are planning a trip to Yosemite then should a visit to Glacier Point be on your agenda?
Here are a couple questions to ask:
- Do you have 4th or 5th grader and are coming to the park on your free National Parks pass this year? Then you might want to make sure this is part of your travel plans. It is likely you wont return again soon and the next time it is open you will need to pay to enter the park.
- Visiting from another country on your first or last visit in a long time? Yes you should see Yosemite National Park from one of the finest photographic areas of the park especially if you love the iconic Half dome shots all over the internet.
- Do you like crowds? This part of the park is certainly going to be crowded with visitors in 2021. You should not visit anytime after say 9am any day from May to September if you want some space.
- Is Yosemite national Park a dream destination you are visiting for the first time. Then obviously you will fall in love with what you eyes behold by visiting this vista. plus you can capture so many other options from here as well. However if you are able the hike up via the Four Mile, Panorama, and Pohono Trails give spectacular experiences as well.
- Is Hiking up to Glacier Point just not an option for you because of Physical limitations? if driving or bus is your only hope of ever seeing this iconic spot then by all means place Glacier on your to do list in 2021.
Glacier Point Typical years has opened in May you can follow current road conditions at https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wroads.htm
**glacier point image courtesy of NPS