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Another early opening for Tioga Road, Yosemite's major east-west route

Another early opening for Tioga Road, Yosemite's major east-west route
The view from Valley View in Yosemite National Park in mid-March, a scene usually snow covered at that time of year. The park's seasonal Glacier Point and Tioga roads opene... (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Tioga Road, the east-west roadway in Yosemite National Park that allows visitors to cross the Sierra, opens for the season Monday. It's among the earliest opening dates for the road that closes in winter because of snow and ice -- two things in short supply this year.

The road, a.k.a. California Highway 120, was scheduled to open at 8 a.m., according to a park announcement.

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But that doesn't mean driving the route from Yosemite's west and south entrances to Tuolumne Meadows and the park's backcountry will be a snap. Road work between Crane Flat and White Wolf campgrounds in the western part of the park are expected to delay drivers.

Last year Tioga Road opened May 2, the earliest date since 1980. The average opening date is May 27.

California's low snowpack prompted the opening of Glacier Point Road on March 28, the earliest in 20 years, this year. Half Dome's cables for hikers who want to make the trek to the top of the iconic granite wall were put up last Saturday, three weeks ahead of schedule.

Though Tioga Road will be open, all campgrounds as well as the gas station, store and restaurant remain closed.

And just a reminder: Yosemite's fees increased to $30 per vehicle in summer and fall.

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