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June hiking and snow

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Pittsburgh
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June hiking and snow

We'll be in Yosemite from June 9-13, and plan to hike in the valley, Glacier Pt Road (Taft, Sentinel) and Tioga Rd (May). With the snow pack very light at this point, Glacier and Tioga roads will almost certainly be open, but I'm wondering what hiking will be like. At 7500 -7800 feet it seems that Taft and Sentinel may be snow or mud, and May Lake at 9000 + almost certainly would still be snow covered. The remaining season's snowfall will be a factor in this, but is it accurate to assume the higher elevations will be snow or mud? Thanks

Mariposa, California
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1. Re: June hiking and snow

Right now this is a pretty tough year to estimate. I can tell you that in 2012 which was a below average precipitation year (but nothing like this), I hiked along Tioga Road just outside the park, between the 9,000 ft and 10,000 foot elevations at the beginning of June. It had been such a dry winter, I'd assumed snow wouldn't be an issue. I was wrong. That was more of an adventurous hike trail finding wise than i bargained for. Not so much mud but actual snow.

BUT, this is a far, far different year so far. One that is record breaking in a pretty significant way. Also, February/March have the potential to bring more lower elevation snow (please please please let it be so). So I hesitate to make a prediction at this point. I'd be more willing to make a prediction at the beginning of March.

In average years, Sentinel Dome usually has patchy and/or packed snow along the trail. Taft is almost always muddy because there's a seasonal creek that runs that direction and it remains boggy well into summer normally. Clouds rest from Tenaya Lake in early June often has a very rough creek crossing at the outlet to Tenaya Lake. When I say rough, I mean I've had friends wade through thigh or waist deep snow melt water to get across. But again...all of this is an average year. And this isn't just not an average year, it's on track to be a record breaking year.

One other note, the May Lake Road usually opens later than Tioga Road itself. You're right in that it will probably open, but just something to keep in mind in case of a late winter.

Sorry to probably just muddle the waters more, but thought it would at least provide some perspective to start with.

Happy planning!

Melbourne
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2. Re: June hiking and snow

My husband and I spent 5 days in the high country last June 13 - 17. We found patchy snow/ice on the Upper/Middle Gaylor Lake trail and a lot of snow at Upper Gaylor Lake. The trail between the lakes was quite wet/boggy underfoot but quite navigable. Also the wind off these lakes was very chilly so we didn't continue on to the old mine, but I think that part of the trail was snow covered.

There were patches of snow on the Cathedral Lakes trail but I don't remember any significant impacts to hiking. The Elizabeth Lake trail was clear as was Dog Lake.

We also did the Twenty Lakes Basin Loop which starts at Saddlebag Lake (technically outside of the YNP boundary) and that was very snowy and wet but it is all above 10,000 ft. For that one it would have been worthwhile having some sort of additional grip for shoes (Yaktrax or similar), but that was the only place where they would have been necessary and with a bit of care and a couple of sturdy hiking poles we were OK.

Your bigger problem might be mosquitoes, they were roughly the size of hummingbirds and extremely tiresome. We had bug spray but next time I would definitely bring a mosquito net for my hat. I'm sure I'd look like a complete tool but the mozzies were a force to be reckoned with.

Mariposa, California
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for Yosemite National Park
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3. Re: June hiking and snow

A random note...mosquitoes have made an appearance a Lower Yosemite Fall already. Hopefully this current storm is freezing them all away....

4. Re: June hiking and snow

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