Folks who travel to Yosemite National Park just to tour the valley, without sampling the high country, enjoy the icing of the park, but miss out on rest of the cake. It's only when you rise up out of Yosemite Valley that you can begin to grasp the sheer enormity of Yosemite and all the grandeur that is spread across the landscape.
Beginning today touring a rich slice of that high country is made possible by the opening of the Tioga Road, which scurries from the Yosemite Valley to the park's Tioga Pass Entrance near Lee Vining. Travel this stretch of pavement and you'll encounter forests, open meadows, and landscapes of granite domes and shimmering lakes. Here you'll more fully experience the "range of light" that the Sierra is renowned for.
While the road is now open for the summer season, at this time there are no commercial services available. Additionally, the Tuolumne Meadows Campground, as well as other campgrounds along the corridor, and the Visitor Center are not be open. However, there will be restrooms available on the road. All visitor services, including the campgrounds, store, gas station, etc. will open over the next several weeks.
Visitors planning to visit Yosemite over the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend are urged to take extra safety precautions, especially along the Merced River. With the current warm weather and accelerated snowmelt, the river is running fast and cold. People should take extreme caution along the river and watch children at all times.
The park is expecting a very busy weekend. People should plan on arriving in the park as early in the day as possible. People visiting Yosemite Valley are urged to take the free Yosemite Shuttle Bus to explore the sites and hike on the trails. If people can not arrive early, they should wait until late afternoon to enter the park as park entrances can become congested, especially mid-day.
There are a limited number of first-come, first-served campsites available in the park. However, those are expected to fill up as the weekend approaches. There are many opportunities for camping and overnight accommodations in the gateway communities surrounding Yosemite National Park.
Finally, the cables on Half Dome are up for the season. The cables allow visitors an opportunity to climb to the top of Half Dome and view the park from an elevation of 8,842 feet above sea level.