– Forest Service press release:
Inyo National Forest plans to open several popular high-country popular destinations for the Memorial Day Weekend. The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Visitor Center, Reds Meadow and the Upper Mammoth Lakes Basin areas will all be opening for the weekend.
Because this is an unusually dry season, these areas are free of snow much earlier than in normal years. The Sierra Nevada experienced significantly below average snowfall for 2013. These areas typically open in mid to late June.
While the road to Shulman Grove has been open, the new Visitor Center will be open for the weekend and will be open seven days a week starting in early June. Hiking within the popular Shulman Grove in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is essentially free of snow. The road remains closed to the Patriarch Grove due to snow. This segment of the road and the Bancroft Trail should be accessible in early June.
The Reds Meadow Road will open on Saturday May 25th at 7:30 am. The mandatory shuttle bus will be running for Memorial Day weekend. Only exception vehicles will be allowed to drive into the Reds Meadow Valley.
After Memorial Day Weekend, the mandatory shuttle bus will not resume operation until June 22. From May 28 through June 21, the public may access the valley with their personal vehicles. New this year, when the mandatory shuttle bus is not in operation, the Eastern Sierra Transit Authority will be providing a free “inter-valley” shuttle bus that will run on weekends between 10 AM and 4 PM, providing transportation between Reds Meadow Resort and the Devils Postpile National Monument.
The Mammoth Lakes Basin Road and all other Lakes Basin roads and campgrounds will be open for the weekend. These are popular destinations for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and fishing. Visitors should still anticipate seeing snow and ice on the trails and the lakes just above 10,000 feet in elevation, especially on the north-facing slopes.
While a light snow pack means early access to these locations, it also indicates a very dry year and therefore, an early fire season. Please use caution with campfires, get a campfire permit, and make sure your fire is dead out.
Forest employees are working hard to get facilities and roads open. Please visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/inyo for current conditions and the status of campgrounds at higher elevations.