Many parts of the US experienced higher than normal precipitation (rain/snow) this past winter season. Indeed, the Sierra Nevada in California, one of the most popular mountain ranges in the state and home to Lake Tahoe, Yosemite Valley and Mount Whitney, has had the second snowiest winter season in the last 77 years. The storms have meant a cool and wet spring, but what does it mean for the summer when many of these trails are normally snow-free?
Thru-hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail, the popular long-distance trek from Mexico to Canada (with a portion going through the Sierras) who typically start at the beginning of March at the Mexico border, have already been affected by being advised to skip the San Jacinto Mountains due to the high levels of snow.
We have also seen delayed opening of roads due to the high levels of snow. For example, in popular Yosemite National Park, Tioga Road and Glacier Point Road will open later than normal this summer due to the increased snow.
According to the US National Weather Service, the outlook for the western parts of the US for May – July 2023 is similar temperatures and precipitation as in previous years. Read in more detail here: NWS Seasonal Outlook
While the forecast is good news, the snowy winter has meant delayed opening of roads/trails and higher than normal water levels, making river crossings particularly dangerous. So hikers take extra precaution this summer as you get out onto the beautiful trails in the Sierra Nevada!