Slow Traffic to Yosemite on Hwy 120 This Summer.

NOTE: If you missed the Webinar we did on Half Dome permits, you can watch the replay at your leisure.


The Greater Buck Meadows Metroplex


If you are planning to stay outside the park and begin your Half Dome hike via Highway 120 – you may want to leave a bit earlier.  CALTRANS is hot on a retrofit project on Highway 120. The work will run many years and will be a pain for locals and Yosemite Visitors alike. There is a bridge east of Buck Meadows in need of repair.  Buck Meadows is the small settlement that says “Welcome” on both sides of the sign. There is a motel complex and a few other businesses there. It lies a few miles east of Groveland.

Closer to the park, there is a structure known as the Big Oak Sidehill Viaduct bridge. $3.4 million is budgeted to replace the bridge decks to strengthen the structure. Also, work is going to be done on the Fork Tuolumne River bridge past Yosemite Lakes Road. During construction, one lane of the two-lane route will be closed, although traffic will be able to get through. Caltrans knows it will be a mess with normal summer flow being about 9,000 vehicles a normal flow in summer.

 Unrelated thought worth quoting: “I’m not the only soul who’s accused of hit and run. Tire tracks all across your back, I can see you had your fun. But darlin’ can’t you see my signals turn from green to red and with you I can see a traffic jam straight up ahead.” – Jimi Hendrix Crosstown Traffic

MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch –

One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome


About Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch

Mr Half Dome. Has written the only half dome hiking guide, One Best Hike: Yosemite's Half Dome. Has hiked it 31 times to day. Lives in San Jose, CA Available for presentations. Carpe Diem Experience, LLC
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2 Responses to Slow Traffic to Yosemite on Hwy 120 This Summer.

  1. Maureen L says:

    hi, Rick,

    do you recommend visitors from the SF Bay Area who are staying in the Valley come in on route 140, given construction on 120?

    (ie, take 99 to Merced and then 140 to the Park?)

    will the interruptions be long-term, or is it worth checking the caltrans webpage for specific times?

    • I prefer the 140 route…less traffic thru the Central Valley and you stay low entering the park at 4,000 feet. But 120 should still be good. Gateway towns like Groveland will keep pressure on Caltrans to ensure a smooth ride – just be prepared for some S L O W spots.

      It’s a LONG term project…a couple years.

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