[VIDEO] 9,624′ SR-108 Sonora Pass, CA, Now Open for the Summer

SnowBrains |

Sonora Pass (State Route 108) opened for the summer on Friday, June 9th, 2023.

In total, Sonora Pass was closed this season for 211 days. That’s the longest closure since 2004/2005 when it was closed for 220 days. The last time the pass was closed this far into the year was in 2017, when it was closed until June 13th.

Highway 108 over Sonora Pass leaves Hwy 49 in Sonora, CA. It rolls about 50 miles up to the Tuolumne/Mono County line at 9624′, before dropping 16 miles down to Highway 395 at Sonora Junction north of Bridgeport, CA. Highway 108 provides access to Dodge Ridge Ski Area, Eagle Meadows, Kennedy Meadows, Sonora Pass, and Leavitt Lake, all providing jumping-off points for backcountry skiing. Above Kennedy Meadows, this is a steep, winding, narrow, two-lane road.

While the highway is open, vehicles traveling over Sonora Pass may encounter water on the road from the seasonal runoff. Drivers should reduce their speed to travel safely through these areas.

On State Route 120 W (Tioga), maintenance crews from Lee Vining have punched through to the gate of Yosemite. There is still snow to remove from the shoulders and parking areas along the highway. A guardrail damaged during the winter must also be replaced before the road can reopen. Snow banks can still sit more than 10 feet tall at this elevation. But that snow is melting, sending creeks and streams into overdrive. Avalanche risk remains a concern, as does rockfall, illustrated by two massive boulders that fell onto the road.

Yosemite had a record snowpack (over 240% of the average) as of April 1st, 2023. In the previous snowiest years, Tioga Road opened in late June or early July. There is no way to provide a more precise estimate for this year. Tioga Road is typically open to vehicles from late May or June until sometime in November. Plowing usually begins around April 15th.

Map showing locations of Tioga, Sonora, Ebbetts, and Monitor passes in California.

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