News and Events

How to Enjoy Yosemite National Park While Ferguson Fire Closes the Yosemite Valley

Written by Charlie Pankey
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West Yosemite and Yosemite Valley Closed, But Yosemite National Park Can Still be Enjoyed

Sierra Rec Magazine – July 25, 2018 – Yesterday Yosemite National park announced mandatory evacuations of the Yosemite Valley starting today at noon and announced the closure of Yosemite Valley and all services on HWY 140 South through the weekend. This included Closing Glacier Point, Tunnel View, Mariposa Grove and Yosemite Valley through Sunday.  With the ongoing closure of Highway140, visitors can exit the park using Highways 120 and 41.  Lushmeadows area is now under evacuation from the north side of Triangle Road from Vista Lago to east Westfall and all side roads to the north; the north side of East Westfall to Old Mill and all side roads to the north.

Yosemite Valley, Wawona, and Mariposa Grove are closed at least July 25–July 29 due to fire operations. South Entrance will be also closed. Tioga Road and Tuolumne Meadows, including Big Oak Flat and Tioga Pass entrances, and Hetch Hetchy remain open.

Highway 140/El Portal Rd is closed from Midpines to Big Oak Flat Road inside Yosemite. Yosemite Valley is accessible via Big Oak Flat Road (continuation of Hwy 120) and Wawona Road (continuation of Hwy 41).

Glacier Point Road is closed until further notice due to fire operations.
These area are currently under a mandatory evacuation include:
El Portal Trailer Court
Incline Rd from Clearing House to the last BLM campground
Jerseydale/ Mariposa Pines
Cedar Lodge/ Indian Flat Campground
Savage’s Trading Post
Sweetwater Ridge
El Portal Trailer Court
Rancheria Flat – Government Housing
Old El Portal
Yosemite View Lodge
Yosemite West
Old Yosemite Road
Anderson Valley
Lush Meadows COmmunity
Evacuation Advisory: 
This is NOT an Evacuation Order. This is an advisement only of a potential Evacuation Order should conditions change.
• Ponderosa Basin Community
• Triangle Rd from Jerseydale Rd to Hwy 49 South including all side roads.
• Darrah Rd from Triangle to Sherrod Rd
• East side of Hwy 49S from Darrah Rd to Harris Rd- This includes Boyer Rd, Woodland Area, Wass Rd, Tip Top Rd

The Ferguson Fire now in its 13th day, started July 13 on the Sierra National Forest and is managed under unified command between the United States Forest Service, California Interagency Incident Management Team 4, CALFIRE and the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office. Much of the fire is burning in steep, rugged terrain with little to no access roads. Mandatory and advisory evacuations are in place in several areas but no homes have been damaged or destroyed.
The Ferguson Fire is burning in very rough terrain with high firefighter exposure due to very hot conditions and limited access requiring heavy rotor wing support. Prior to the Rough Fire, this river canyon held the record for the largest fire on the Sierra NF which burned in 1924.
The fire is 38,522 acres with 25% containment. 3,434 personnel are currently engaged on the fire which includes 220 engines, 47 water tenders, 16 helicopters, 88 crews, and 59 dozers. There has been 1 fatality and 7 injuries to date.


So you have been planning a visit to Yosemite National Park for month’s and now you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance of having the valley and some of Yosemite’s iconic locations closed. What now?

Can you still enjoy Yosemite National Park?  Yes !

Although air conditions may not be ideal in some areas Yosemite National Park and Fire closures are a common summer occurrence. So the question is where can I enjoy Yosemite and what will I see?
Tuolumne Meadows
First – HWY 120 Through Yosemite is still open which allows you access to  Wolf Creek, May Lake, Tenaya Lake, Tuolumne Meadows, North Dome and hundreds of day hikes in the Yosemite High Country.  Day hikes including Cathedral Lakes, Glen Aulin high Camp, May Lake, Sunrise Lakes and Elizabeth Lake, North Dome (Smoke could really be bad here) all are great day hikes. The Tuolumne meadow and Olmstead Point are not areas to be missed when visiting Yosemite National Park.
Hetch Hetchy
Also, 120 will bring you from the West through Tuolomne County and access to Hetch Hetchy region which is a wonderful day hike and backpack area.
Below is a list of Day trip hikes we recommend in Yosemite National Park.   The CDC does warn against the dangers of Hiking in Smoke. 
All this to say, Your trip to Yosemite may be much different than anticipated, but if this is the only week you can visit, head to HWY 120 and enjoy a completely different Yosemite experience.
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About the author

Charlie Pankey

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