Happy visitors flock to reopened Yosemite National Park after severe storm

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (KFSN) -- The reopening of the Yosemite National Park was welcome news to visitors from all over the world who had been turned away because of heavy snow.

An average February sees about 150,000 visitors to the park so the two-day closure had an impact, but once it opened folks were happy to get inside.

Getting there was a bit slow, and chains are mandatory on Highway 41, but the scenery makes it a worthwhile drive.

RELATED: Roads still dangerous from snowfall; some foothill schools call for bus delays

For a couple of days, the majestic peaks towering over the snow-covered Yosemite Valley were off limits, but the wait was worth it for visitors like Ann Perkins of San Diego.

"It's gorgeous, just gorgeous, and we hope to do skiing and snowshoeing," she said.

The Andrews family from Paso Robles had a good time.

"Amazing, it's been great. We love coming here in the winter. Our kids will remember this forever, I think," said Sarah Andrews.

But the heavy snow delayed the fun. Roads into the park, and inside the park were closed for a day and a half because 18 inches of snow fell on the park in a short period, causing problems.

"We did have some trees come across the road, and trees fall on vehicles created some damage we had power out, the internet out, things like that, but for the most part, everything is fine, we are working on clearing the roads," said Scott Gediman with the National Park Service.

Many visitors already in the park were forced to stay an extra day. One of those was Miranda, from Hanford. She called from her hotel before the gates opened, and wasn't complaining.

"If I had to be stranded somewhere this is the place, it's beautiful, I mean, this is a once in a lifetime experience," she said.

Badge Pass ski area and the campgrounds on the east side of the park are expected to remain closed until Friday. There's a busy weekend of visitors expected but so is more snow, so visitors are urged to keep an eye on the weather and word of additional closures.
Copyright © 2020 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.