Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but also deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, & more.
Today’s geology jargon is “glacial polish.” As glaciers slowly move across a landscape, they pick up rocks and other materials that become part of an abrasive layer at the bottom of the glacier. Under the immense weight of the glacier, these materials scrape against the rock beneath them to create scratch marks or “striations.” When a glacier passes over a surface for longer and longer periods, the rock beneath can become polished and smooth. This glacial polish can be seen in many parts of Yosemite National Park and is an incredible reminder of the power glaciers have to change the landscape.
Pileated woodpeckers are the largest woodpecker species found in North America. They use their long, chisel-like bills to drill holes in rotten wood to get at carpenter ants and other insects. The holes they make are usually rectangular and sometimes so deep they even cause small trees to weaken or break in half!
But even this large, skilled insect hunter has to learn from its parents how to find a meal. In the nest, both parents feed nestlings by regurgitation. Young pileated woodpeckers leave nest 26–28 days after hatching and may remain with their parents for 2–3 months. The juvenile pileated woodpecker in this video is learning to find insects on its own, but still needs some help from its parents.
Yosemite Valley reopens tomorrow! Wawona and Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias reopened today! Visitor centers are open, but some other services may be limited.
Air quality has been good to moderate in many areas of the park, but it's been unhealthy in Yosemite Valley. If recreating in Yosemite Valley, reduce prolonged or heavy exertion and take more breaks during outdoor activities. Air quality in Yosemite Valley is often better in the mornings.
Beyond Tuesday, August 14, the following closures remain in effect: Wawona Road (continuation of Highway 41) between Wawona and Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point Road, and Merced Grove of Giant Sequoias. Yosemite Valley is only accessible by entering the park via Highways 140 and 120.
The Sierra mountain kingsnake is Yosemite’s most eye-catching snake, with banding patterns of red, black, and white. Oftentimes in nature, dangerous or venomous animals will display a bright color pattern that warns other animals to stay away. However, non-venomous animals may also develop these biological warning signals to mimic the physical appearance of a dangerous animal—this is called Batesian mimicry.
The Sierra mountain kingsnake is often confused for the venomous coral snake, which is not found in Yosemite, because of the way the kingsnake mimics the coral snake's pattern. When in doubt, just look at the bands of the snake and remember: "red touch yellow: kills a fellow. Red touch black: friend for Jack." Sierra mountain kingsnakes have a varied diet that includes lizards, nesting birds, small mammals, and even rattlesnakes! Kingsnakes can eat rattlesnakes because kingsnakes have venom immunity. Of the 13 species of snakes found in Yosemite, only the northern pacific rattlesnake is venomous.
If you were in the area of Robinson Creek, Crown Lake, Matterhorn Canyon, Smedberg Lake, Seavey Pass, or Peeler Lake between July 25 and August 5, 2018, even if you don't believe you have any information about the missing person, please contact the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch at 888/653-0009.
Scott is a 48-year-old male with brown hair and hazel eyes, 6 ft 1 in tall, and weighing 185 pounds. He uses and wears mostly army-colored items: olive-drab green, tan, and camouflage. He also carries fishing gear. Scott is an experienced hiker and knows the area well. He was last seen at the Bridgeport Ranger Station on July 25, 2018. He planned to backpack from Robinson Creek to Crown Lake, Matterhorn Canyon, Smedberg Lake, Seavey Pass, and Peeler Lake. (This area is not near the Ferguson Fire.) https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/news/missing.htm
If you thought adult marmots were cute, wait until you watch these baby marmots near Tuolumne Meadows playing together under their mother's supervision. Marmots often live in colonies or in small groups. Females give birth approximately 30 days after breeding in the spring and feed their pups milk for about three weeks before the pups come out of the burrow.
Unfortunately an adult member of this marmot family was hit by a car on Tioga Road. Please follow posted speed limits while driving in Yosemite National Park. Driving too fast may make it more difficult to spot wildlife or to stop in time when an animal is crossing the road.
We're really excited to welcome everyone back to Yosemite Valley on Tuesday morning, and to Wawona and Mariposa Grove on Monday morning!
Wawona Road between Wawona and Yosemite Valley will remain closed (but it will be open from South Entrance to Wawona). Glacier Point Road will also remain closed. These areas will be closed for at least another week due to ongoing firefighting operations.
Conditions may be smoky at times. Be aware of conditions, which can vary day to day (and even hour to hour), and adjust your activity accordingly. You can view a daily smoke outlook at https://wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlooks/YosemiteArea.
Read more at https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/news/yosemite-valley-to-reopen-to-visitors-on-tuesday-august-14th-at-9-00-a-m.htm
Air quality has improved in the Tuolumne Meadows area! The daily Air Quality Index has been moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups the last several days, with the best air quality typically in the mornings (sometimes extending into the afternoons). Conditions can change day by day. The entire Tioga Road is open, and you can reach Tuolumne Meadows and other nearby areas from both the west and east sides of the park. Please park in designated parking spaces and stay on trails (especially in and around meadows). Yosemite Valley, Hetch Hetchy, Wawona, Mariposa Grove, and Glacier Point remain closed until further notice due to the #FergusonFire. We will provide any updates about these areas as soon as we have more information.
We're excited to announce that Tioga Road, as well as Big Oak Flat Road west of Crane Flat (continuation of Highway 120 through the park) will open today at 1 pm. Use caution driving on these roads; firefighters are still at work.
Hodgdon Meadow, Crane Flat, and Tamarack Flat Campgrounds remain closed. Yosemite Valley, Wawona, Mariposa Grove, Glacier Point, Hetch Hetchy, and Merced Grove remain closed. You may encounter smoky conditions.
Firefighters are working hard to suppress the Ferguson Fire burning near, and now inside, Yosemite National Park. The fire is burning alongside Wawona Road (Hwy 41), El Portal Road (Hwy 140), and Big Oak Flat Road (Hwy 120), and has crossed two of these roads. These roads are closed due to fire alongside them and to facilitate firefighters working along the roads. Additionally, as trees along the roads burn, trees are falling onto roads, and debris once held in place by these trees is rolling onto roads. These roads will remain closed until these hazards can be mitigated. We will open the roads, and the areas they serve, as quickly as possible. We really look forward to all of you being able to enjoy all of Yosemite really soon, and don't forget that Tuolumne Meadows is still open and accessible from the east (via US 395). Thank you for your continued patience. We understand the disappointment this has caused many of you that had vacation plans in the park. Yosemite National Park continues to work closely with the incident management team to assess park conditions daily. For current fire information, visithttps://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5927/. #Yosemite#FergusonFire
Yosemite Valley and other Sections of the Park Remain Closed Indefinitely Due to Impacts from the Ferguson Fire
Tuolumne Meadows and Tioga Road Remain Open from U.S. 395
Due to increased fire activity in the areas adjacent to and on Yosemite National Park, park administrators and fire managers have made the decision to extend the current park closures indefinitely. Fire managers are continuously assessing conditions in the area and will work directly with and will immediately advise park managers as conditions change and it becomes safe to reopen.
Firefighters remain committed to fully suppressing this fire and are actively engaged, taking action to limit the fire’s spread when it is safe to do so. The fire activity inside Yosemite National Park is dynamic. Over the past 48 hours, fire has impacted all of the roads used to access Yosemite Valley, burning dead and downed trees that can become very explosive and fall without warning. There are also significant terrain hazards for firefighters. These hazards, along with extreme fire behavior and frequent weather changes, have made this an extremely difficult fire fight.
The following areas remain closed: Yosemite Valley, El Portal Road, Wawona Road, Big Oak Flat Road, Glacier Point, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, the Merced Grove of Giant Sequoias, Wawona Campground, Crane Flat Campground, Tamarack Campground, and several other sections of the Park.
A large portion of Yosemite National Park remains open. Tioga Road from Tioga Pass to White Wolf is open to all visitors and vehicles. Most of the trails and campgrounds along this route, including the Tuolumne Meadows Campground are open. Visitor services along Tioga Road, including the High Sierra Camps and the Tuolumne Meadows Store are open.
The Gateway communities of Sonora, Groveland, Mariposa, Oakhurst, and Lee Vining are great places to recreate and offer a wide variety of opportunities. Please contact the local visitor centers to learn about recreational opportunities in the Gateway communities. #Yosemite#NationalPark
The latest post on the Yosemite Search and Rescue blog offers some valuable lessons from the field. On June 8, 2018 an off-trail hiker was assisted back to safety when he found himself in a spot where he didn’t feel he could safely ascend or descend in Indian Canyon. This story is an example of how even experienced off-trail hikers (like this one) can find themselves in difficult situations.
1. If you become lost in Yosemite, stay calm. The subject in this story did not panic when he realized he did not recognize the terrain around him. He did not attempt to climb down any terrain he felt uncomfortable about.
2. Cell phone reception is not always available to injured or lost hikers. The subject did have a whistle and was prepared to continually blow his whistle, hoping to be heard by a visitor or ranger in the Valley below, had his cell phone not worked.
3. Always carry a headlamp. A full day of hiking can easily lead to an unplanned overnight trip if one element of the plan fails. Headlamps not only provide an increased ability to navigate at night, but also provide you with a visual means of being located by rescuers.