This summer is going to be a strange one!
The impact of this winter's big snows is still being felt---and discovered in the Sierra. We've alread heard that one of the main bridges in the back country over the San Joaquin River has been damaged, with no porjected repair date in sight. But that's only a minor part of what's going on.
Roads have been damaged throughout the Sierra. As of now, it looks as if the road to Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon might well be closed all summer long--and access will only be as far as Hume Lake. That means all of the Kings River Canyon access will be closed---Cedar Grove, Roads End, and all the trailheads in the canyon.
And in Yosemite, the Big Oak Flat Road is closed, and will be for a good while. As of now, no promises are being made about when it might open, and that means the the only access to Yosemite Valley will be through Mariposa or Wawona---definitely the long way around for people in Sacramento and San Franscisco. Add in the fact that Glacier Point Road is closed, and Sentinel Drive (between Yosemite Village and Southside Drive) will be closed due to contruction from approximately June 5 through July 6, 2023. Work will begin in late May in the area. Improvements are being made to Sentinel Drive as part of a larger project in Yosemite Valley to create a more continuous flow traffic pattern This is one of the primary modifications being made as part of the Yosemite Valley circulation system. The schedule is subject to change according to weather conditions and availability of materials. Please drive or cycle carefully and watch for workers and equipment in the roadway.
Meanwhile, the huge snowpack is slowing operations on the remaining Sierra highway passes. Mono Pass just opened two weeks ago, and Cal Trans is trying to get Sonora Pass open for this weekend, but the snow is towering over the road there. The same is true of Highway 4 over Ebbetts Pass. And Highway 89 through Lassen is still snowed in, as is Tioga Pass (Highway 120) in Yosemite.
Just yesterday we spoke to a wilderness ranger in the Mokelumne Wilderness, who said that backcountry access for this weekend was pretty much all under snow, and he doesn't expect much to improve until later in June.
This is a good year to head to the coast right now, and plan for vacations in August and September. in the Sierra.