One statistic pretty well tells the whole story: 15 feet (4.6 meters) of snow.
Some parts of Yosemite National Park are buried under that much frozen precip. As a result, the entire park is closed.
And the National Park Service (NPS) has yet to announce when it might open back up.
Pictures on a recent tweet from Yosemite’s official Twitter account show the pile-up, with some buildings half-buried.
On its website Thursday afternoon, the park said: “Yosemite has experienced significant snowfall in all areas of the park, resulting in snow depths up to 15 feet in some areas.
“Park crews are working to restore critical services so visitors can safely return. There is no estimated date for reopening.”
Some other full and partial closures
Yosemite, nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains, is not the only NPS site affected by the recent winter storms. Others are also closed, either fully or partially.
Here’s a look at the status of some other popular places in California as of 4 p.m. PT Thursday:
• Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks: To the south of Yosemite, “nearly all park roads remain closed while road crews continue working to recover from winter storms.”
• Redwood National and State Parks: In far Northern California on the Pacific Coast, you’re still mostly out of luck. “Due to multiple storms causing downed trees and power outages, there are closures throughout the park.”
Desert areas haven’t necessarily fared better.
• Mojave National Preserve: All roads in the preserve have been closed since Wednesday and will stay closed until further notice, the preserve says on its website. “Please do not drive in the area or go around barricades. Travel in the eastern Mojave region is very unsafe.”
Its Twitter account showed a video of near-blizzard conditions there on Wednesday.
• Death Valley National Park: Even California’s proverbial oven has been affected, with some roads closed because of winter storm conditions. Other roads and trails are still closed because of “damage and debris from major flooding this summer.”
There are bright spots, however.
• Joshua Tree National Park: Not far from Palm Springs, this park has reopened after a brief closure. “All the main roads are now open. Campgrounds, visitor centers and hiking trails are open. Water and ice may be present on the roads; drive cautiously. All dirt roads are closed and will reopen when cleared.”
The winter scenery on its latest tweet is lovely.
• California state parks: As of Thursday afternoon, 14 state parks were fully closed, and another 34 were partially closed. But with more than 280 park units in the system, plenty of options remain. Click here for the latest updates.
It’s not just the Golden State grappling with winter weather.
For instance, Grand Canyon National Park warned would-be visitors on Thursday morning: “Postpone travel today. There are many regional road closures this morning. All trails into Grand Canyon and footpaths along the rim are snow-packed and icy. Foot traction is advised.”
The bottom line: Check any park’s site before heading out. (Well, Everglades is a pretty safe bet regarding winter weather right now.)
And remember that just because a park remains open, it may not be easy to access. Be sure your vehicle is winter-ready and that you’re well-equipped with the proper gear and clothing.