It is the middle of July this week, the fireworks are over and Labor Day will be here before we know it. Yosemite is still out of sync with normal timing on things that most visitors expect.
In Yosemite Valley, the waterfalls are still running higher than an average peak flow – very much worth a trip to photograph now. By mid-July in a typical year the falls are a tiny remnant of their springtime size. The river is flowing at about four times the normal volume for mid-July, so it’s still closed to boating. There will be no raft rentals until it drops to a safer level and isn’t rushing fast through the riverbank willows. There are still lots of flowers in valley meadows; the azaleas continue to emit their delightful fragrance, something we seldom experience in July.
In the high country there is still snow in unfamiliar places and high runoff in the streams. Hikers shouldn’t try any crossings that are at high flow — play it safe and turn back to hike another day. Be aware of the daily cycle of stream ebb and flow; depending where you are, an easy morning crossing may become an impassible torrent in the afternoon, or creeks may peak in the middle of the night.
Facilities along Tioga Road are still mostly off-line: no camping at White Wolf, Porcupine Flat or Tuolumne Meadows yet. No lodging at White Wolf or Tuolumne Lodges or the High Sierra Camps. The Wilderness Center is open in Tuolumne Meadows for Wilderness permits. The gas station was open but had to closed due to satellite link issues. Crane Flat campground has just opened for those with reservations there.