In what is great news for travelers to Yosemite National Park, the Big Oak Flat entrance on State Route 120 will reopen earlier than expected as a single-lane entrance into the global outdoors destination, making the most direct route into the park from the Bay Area accessible again.
The important gateway to the jewel of a national park had been closed for weeks due to a 200-foot long, 4-foot-deep crack in the road that made vehicle traffic unsafe, according to the National Park Service.
When construction crews came to repair the sinkhole, they found running water underneath, according to J.D. DeSouza, who works at the recreation desk for the nearby Evergreen Lodge.
“It became a layered issue,” DeSouza said, in part because of the massive winter storms in the area that then led to significant snowmelt.
Representatives with California Department of Transportation and the National Park Service could not be reached for comment on the state of the roads into and out of Yosemite Valley, but the conditions report confirms that Highway 120 will reopen on June 10 and that the construction site had flowing water beneath it.
The reopening, which had originally been forecast for early July according to DeSouza, comes sooner than expected. An additional lane may open within the next month.
It’s great news for everyone hoping to gaze at the now-gushing waterfalls that have been fully replenished as the record winter snowfall—which deposited as much as 15 feet of snow back in February begins to melt.
Lucky visitors may also have the chance to sight an ultra-rare wolverine—the second one to be spotted in California in nearly 100 years was glimpsed in Yosemite in May.
Check the latest conditions and updates from the National Park Service before planning your trip to Yosemite.
Julie Zigoris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org