Winter Yosemite visitors urged to use caution
The roads into Yosemite National Park were closed last week due to severe snow and ice and the National Park Service is urging visitors to keep abreast of changing road conditions and to be prepared.
All visitors entering the park this winter are required to carry tire chains and be ready to use them at any time, even if their cars have four-wheel drive. These chains improve traction on snow-covered or icy roads and are available for purchase in auto part stores and gas stations surrounding the park.
Chain requirements are common on roads both inside and outside of Yosemite from November through March. Because higher elevation roads receive more snow, chains are required on the Wawona Road (Highway 41), Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120 west) and Badger Pass Road more often than on the El Portal Road (Highway 140), roads within Yosemite Valley and the Hetch Hetchy Road.
Individuals who do not abide by the park's chain requirements face fines of up to $5,000.
Visitors can visit the Yosemite website at nps.gov/yose for the latest travel conditions, requirements and road closures. The information is also available by calling (209) 372-0200. The information is updated every time road conditions change and is the same way in which park staff gets road information. This recording includes information about current chain requirements as well.