California holds some of the best spring backcountry skiing and riding in North America and that terrain can be made very accessible via our high mountain passes (10,000′ passes) being open and clear of snow. Clearing that snow this record winter is no easy task. Each of these passes listed below say over 200% of average snowfall this winter.
9,943′ Tioga Pass, 9,624′ Sonora Pass, and 8,736′ Ebbetts Pass are all still closed due to towering snowpacks up to 15′ deep. Crews are currently working on opening these highways and here is the latest information on when they estimate these California mountain passes to open.
Additionally, this map will show you exactly where each mountain pass is currently closed from both westbound and eastbound directions in real time: California Mountain Pass Closures via Caltrans
Tioga Pass (Highway 120) | No Estimated Date for Opening
“Caltrans crews have cleared snow on State Route 120 west to the top of the pass and met up with Yosemite National Park road crews who are clearing snow from Tioga Road inside the park. Work continues with removing snow from the shoulders, road repair and rock removal. Extensive damage occurred to guardrail from the heavy snow and requires repair before the highway can be safely opened to the traveling public. There is no estimated date for reopening the highway at this time.” – Caltrans District 9, June 8th 2017
Sonora Pass (Highway 108) | Opens Today at Noon
“Crews have reached the summit but continue to remove snow and repair the highway. Route reopening is scheduled for Friday, June 9th at noon, but is subject to current weather conditions.” – Caltrans District 9, June 8th, 2017
Ebbetts Pass (Highway 4) | July Opening
“Ebbetts Pass is scheduled to remain closed into July, due to the snow still to be removed and a major road repair project near Wolf Creek.” – Caltrans District 10, June 8nd 2017
Other CA Mountain Pass Information:
State Route 203 – From the Mammoth Mountain Parking Lot to Minaret Vista
Snow removal will begin on June 12, 2017. There is no estimated date for reopening the highway at this time.
State Route 270 – Bodie Road – Opened May 15, 2017
State Route 89 – Monitor Pass – Opened May 8, 2017
State Route 168 West – Bishop Creek – Opened April 24, 2017
State Route 120 East – Mono Mills – Opened April 14, 2017
State Route 158 – June Lake Loop – Opened April 14, 2017“
Why Does It Take So Long To Open CA Mountain Passes?
- Why does it take so long to open the roads?
Road repairs, ditching, and brushing operations must occur once snow has melted back enough. The roads may also remain very icy even after they’re plowed.Additionally, these are common causes for slow progress on the Tioga Road:
- Avalanche zones Avalanche zones require careful work to insure the safety of personnel.
- Heavy snow pack slows the whole operation.
- Trees that have fallen across the road and been buried in the snow can cause substantial damage to equipment and result in a stop to all operations until they’re cleared.
- Rockfalls buried by the snow can cause substantial damage to the equipment and result in a stop to all operations.
- Large boulders fall onto the roadway and must be blasted in order to be removed.
- Snow storms during snow removal operations halt work for the safety of personnel.
– Caltrans District 9