SAN FRANCISCO -- Yosemite National Park will be closed at least
through January due to devastating damage from flooding to both the
park and its access roads, the National Park Service said.
"The opening date is completely up in the air," said a park
spokesman. "We haven't even completed an assessment of the
Gray Line of San Francisco said it would restart its daily tours
from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park on the day the park
reopens to vehicle traffic, even if it means using Highway 41
through Oakhurst, which is the most southerly and longest route to
the park from San Francisco.
Another San Francisco-based tour company, California Parlor Car
Tours, also said it is prepared to restart its overnight programs
to Yosemite Valley as soon as the park reopens.
The firm had a tour group stranded for 24 hours when the Merced
River flooded the valley, preventing vehicles from leaving the
park, said Bipin Ramaiya, the firm's president.
"They were moved for one night from Yosemite Lodge to some
makeshift sleeping accommodations, but it was a good group of
people who were understanding," he said.
There is no word yet as to when Highway 120, the main route to
Yosemite from San Francisco, or Highway 140 through Merced might
reopen after the devastating rainstorms caused several landslides
to block the roadway on New Year's Day.
The only route open to the park is Highway 41 through Oakhurst
and passage of vehicles is limited to park service vehicles, who
are only using the highway during daylight hours, the spokesman
Although Yosemite attracts hundreds of motorcoach tours each
year, the impact of the floods on the tour industry is minimal
because January is low season, tour operators said.
Gray Line, which is the only firm that operates day tours to
Yosemite year round, has given its passengers full refunds for the
canceled tours and has put together an alternative way of seeing
Yosemite -- by air.
Through an agreement with Scenic Air Tours, passengers depart
San Francisco airport for the Sierra Nevadas and take a flight over
the park's valley and a tour of the Gold Country towns of Columbia
The day-long tour costs $199 per person and is offered