Mallory and I decided to go visit Yosemite for a day while we were in California. Google Maps told us it would be about 1 hour 15 minutes to the park entrance from Mallory’s sister’s house in Fresno. Then another 35 minutes to an hour to get into the heart of Yosemite where Yosemite Village is.
When we left Fresno it was a little colder than the other days, but the sun was shining. Our drive to Yosemite was very easy it was sunny most of the way, until about 10 miles from the park entrance when we started climbing into the mountains and the temperature began to drop.
I’ll admit Mallory and I weren’t prepared for the weather in Yosemite that day; mostly because we didn’t check the weather. As we pulled up to the entrance it began to snow. This snow wasn’t like the light fluffy snow we were used to from the cold Erie winters, but hard icy snow, almost like mini snowballs.
Once we were through the gates we took the road towards Yosemite Village and the valley. We got to see the tunnel view where El Capitan and Half-Dome are visible.
The snow was on and off most of the time until right before we got to Yosemite Village where we had lunch at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, which was pretty majestic with its high vaulted ceilings and giant fireplaces.
I decided to go with the local trout and was very happy with my choice! We saw cupcakes at a nearby table and the closest looking thing on the menu was a red velvet cake for two to go. When Mallory wanted a snack on our drive home we found out that it wasn’t cupcakes, but a slice of 8-layer cake big enough to feed at least four people!
While we were eating lunch the snow really started to come down.
There were some signs saying tire chains were required past a certain point, but at the park entrance we weren’t told and didn’t find out we needed them until it was too late. When we got back to the tunnel viewpoint the tunnel was closed due to a car accident, most likely due to the snow and lack of tire chains. The ranger said closed for about 2 hours, so we decided to try a different way, the whole time the GPS was telling us to make a U-Turn. When we got to another one of Yosemite Park exits I looked at the map and realized this route would take at least 2.5 hours longer than our original route, so we turned around thinking the tunnel would be open by the time we got back, it wasn’t. Once the tunnel opened it was very slow moving because it had started snowing again.
We saw a couple cars slide off the road a few cars in front of us, which brought traffic to a halt once again. After sitting and waiting while the temperature dropped and the snow turned to ice a ranger finally approached us and said no chains you have to turn around and go back to the valley, great, now what are we going to do.
Our new route would take us back towards the valley again and go along side the Merced river. I guess you could call it the scenic route because some of the views were incredible.
After 2 about two hours on winding two lane roads we were out of Yosemite and on a major highway back towards Fresno. We finally made it home just before 9 PM about 7 hours after we first tried to leave the Yosemite after our lunch.
Yosemite is a beautiful place and even though I was cursing it when we were trying to get home it is definitely a place I would like to visit again to spend a little more time. It is pretty amazing that there are so many places just like Yosemite right in our own back yard here in the United States. You don’t have to fly halfway around the world to find a new adventure some really cool places could be not to far from you. Get out try to find them!
Have you ever gotten stuck at Yosemite or another national park our mountain because of a sudden weather change? Let me know about your experience in the comments below!