Tioga Road, the fabled route through Yosemite National Park’s scenic high country and the highest-elevation road in California’s state highway system, will re-open to vehicles Monday.

The road, which closes every winter due to deep snow, will open to all vehicle traffic at 9 a.m., park officials announced.

The road’s annual opening date is an indication of how much snow the Sierra Nevada received. Last year, after record snow and rain that broke the state’s five-year drought, the Tioga Road didn’t re-open until June 29. The average opening date from 1996 to 2015 was May 26.

All campgrounds along Tioga Road remain closed. Park officials said Thursday that there is no anticipated opening date for the Tuolumne Meadows store and the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center. There is no gasoline available along Tioga Road. The closest gas station is located at Crane Flat. For more information about park road conditions, motorists can call 209-372-0200 or go to https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/conditions.htm.

One of the marquee drives in America’s national park system, the winding, two-lane Tioga Road bisects Yosemite’s alpine center, passing through meadows and forests of lodgepole pine and juniper. It runs 46 miles from Crane Flat to Tioga Pass, where it crests at 9,945 feet in the highest highway pass in California.

The route for centuries was a footpath for Indians, upgraded to a mining road in 1883 during a brief silver boom, and then a private toll road that charged $2 per horse and rider.

In an unusual act of philanthropy, it became public and part of the park in 1915, when Stephen Mather, the first director of the National Park Service, bought it for $15,000 with his own money and donations from the Sierra Club and the Modesto Chamber of Commerce. He sold it to Congress that year for $10, hoping to bring more …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

      

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