Weather and Safety in Yosemite

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Winter in Yosemite is an amazing time to be in the park. We teach outdoors in rain, snow, or sunshine. With participant safety as our top priority at all times, we take the dynamics of winter very seriously. Storms can blow in. Roads may close, although this is rare and they usually do not stay closed for long. Working in collaboration with the National Park Service, our team watches weather conditions closely.


Our education staff are well-trained and experienced in providing quality education in the wide variety of weather conditions in Yosemite National Park. We know safety and comfort are vital. Our education staff have all completed wilderness first responder training, an 80 hour certification in wilderness first aid. As a further safety precaution, all of our staff carry a radio monitored by our office staff. In the event of an emergency, we work closely with national park rangers, Yosemite Search and Rescue and EMS personnel to provide a professional response.

Yosemite winter wonderland

Winter Weather

To successfully navigate the weather challenges of our mountain environment, participants should come prepared by following our packing list. We are also able to provide extra warm clothing, rain gear and overboots for groups that serve students of limited financial means.

As you plan for a winter arrival, we ask that you take the proper safety precautions that allow you to make it to the park for your scheduled program. Here are some ways to prepare before you depart from home:

  • It is important that your transportation has the proper tire chains on hand to enter the park during certain road restrictions and be prepared to drive in wintry conditions. Confirm with your bus company that they have tire chains.

  • In Yosemite, chains can become mandatory on park roads at any time. You can check the Yosemite NP Current Conditions online or call 209-372-0200 (press 1, then 1 again), to monitor current weather and road conditions.  
    Note: In recent years, there has been an increased trend of roads temporarily closed due to precipitation. There are multiple access roads into the Valley to provide transportation options for groups traveling to Yosemite. Check in with your Yosemite team contact for the latest updates and plans for navigating such circumstances. 

It’s not unusual for Yosemite to be in the news. Because our team communicates directly with the National Park Service, NatureBridge has the most up-to-date park information to help you make safe and informed decisions about your visit. If there is an event that causes the Yosemite Valley to be temporarily closed, we would do our best to reschedule your program. Please contact the Yosemite team before making any decisions about cancelling or attempting to reschedule programs.

NatureBridge Director of Risk Management, Jeff Crow, is always available to answer any questions you may have regarding the specific risks associated with winter travel in the park. You can reach him at (559) 840-7260.

Here are some additional helpful links to monitor current weather conditions in Yosemite:

NOAA Weather Forecast for Yosemite Valley

USGS Webcam at Happy Isles

Yosemite Conservancy Webcams

BloomSky - NESC NatureBridge & YOSE NatureBridge

NOAA River Forecast Center

NOAA Merced River Hydrograph

USGS River Flow