It will be a bit easier to negotiate Yosemite National Park on Wednesday. That's when the Tioga Road will open for the summer.
Acting Superintendent Dave Uberauga says the road will open at 10:00 a.m. for all vehicle traffic. The Tioga Road, bounded on both sides by State Highway 120, is the popular east-west crossing of the Sierra Nevada.
If you're keeping track, this is a day earlier than in 2008, but nine days later than in 2007.
There will be no commercial services available along the road until further notice. However, there will be gasoline available 24 hours per day (credit cards only). Additionally, the Tuolumne Meadows Campground, other campgrounds along the corridor, and the Tuolumne Visitor Center will not be open. There will be pit toilets available along the Tioga Road. All visitor services, including the campgrounds, store, gas station, etc. will open over the next several weeks.
Visitors who are planning to visit Yosemite during 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 water temperatures are very cold.
The park is expecting a very busy weekend. Visitors to Yosemite Valley are urged to take the free Yosemite Shuttle Bus to help with traffic congestion over the weekend. Visitors should remember that the busiest part of the day to enter the park is during the lunchtime hours. Short delays at entrance stations and heavy traffic within the Valley should be expected.
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.