BIG WINTER, BIG WATERFALLS: Think back, to around the third week in January 2017, when you learned of the seriously stunning snowfall in the upper reaches of the Sierra Nevada. You might have even heard that Mammoth Mountain, by January 23, had experienced its snowiest month on record (without even needing to reach the conclusion of the month). Did you think first about the sublime skiing going on? Or how quiet and peaceful all of those drifts were making the mountains? Or did you say "hoo boy, those waterfalls are going to be one for the books!" at the time? All of those things were true, if you thought them, but it took your third theory, about the possibly historical waterfalls, a little time to arrive. That time is now nigh, and has been, as the mondo melting event, or, per a Mammoth Mountain representative, "The Great Melt," continues to happen. As always, exercising caution around dramatic tumbling of water is key, and researching which passes in the area will make your waterfall-seeking smoother will help your road trip. As of the final weekend in June,
SONORA PASS, Mammoth Lakes Basin, Glacier Point Road, and Monitor Pass are all open. As for Tioga Pass? It remains closed, though this handy history, as to previous opening dates and the amount of snowpack for each of those years, may serve travelers as a future-gazing crystal ball of sorts. Of course, don't guess, but do check ahead, for sure, about the still-to-come opening date of the pass, before heading up for your high-elevation, waterfall-wonderful adventure. Eager to plan out your fall-fun hikes for the rest of the summer? This is a solid spot to begin.