Best Time To Visit Yosemite
California’s Sierra Nevada brings together some of the best scenery in the United States. And the best example of this is Yosemite National Park, with the majestic silhouettes of El Capitan, Half Dome, or the giant redwoods of its forests.
Yosemite National Park is open year-round, and reservations are not necessary but may not be fully available. Here is the general state of the park during the four seasons.
When is the best time to visit Yosemite?
Each season has its advantages and disadvantages, but it depends on what you are looking for. Yosemite Valley and Wawona are accessible by car year-round. The condition of the Tioga and Glacier Point access roads will vary seasonally due to snow (generally until the end of May).
Snow may require that the car you travel in has snow chains (including four × 4), so if you rent a car, check if they are available as an option. The Hetch Hetchy entrance is open during daylight hours, and, from November to May-June, some of the roads are closed.
Generally, the best time to visit the park is during the first and summer months.
Spring – Best Time To Visit Yosemite
It is the perfect time to see the waterfalls. The snow begins to melt, and many waterfalls can be seen along the edge of the valley. Some hikes from Yosemite Valley, Wawona, and Hetch Hetchy can have snow through April, the rest through May.
The weather at this time of year can range from sunny days to a winter storm. The average temperature in the valley ranges between 21 ° C / 4 ° C.
Summer – Best Time To Visit Yosemite
From June all areas of the park can be accessed by car. In these months, traffic jams form at the entrance of the park. If you can, arrive before mid-morning and especially on weekends.
Most of the water that flows into Yosemite comes from snowmelt, so the flow from the waterfalls slows down in the summer. The waterfalls usually dry out entirely in August. Other waterfalls in the park (Vernal, Nevada, and Bridalveil) remain year-round, although their flow will be shallow in late summer.
The weather at this time of year is warm with occasional rains. The average temperature in the valley ranges between 31 ° C / 10 ° C.
Autumn – Best Time To Visit Yosemite
Usually, all park areas remain open until October, but closures may occur due to snow conditions. There are no services available on Tioga road after September, and overnight parking is not allowed after October 14. In this season, the waterfalls can be dry.
Yosemite is not known for having spectacular fall colors; most of the trees are evergreen. Still, large-leaved maples, black oaks, Pacific dogwoods, and other deciduous trees tend to be showy around mid-October.
The weather is highly variable at this time of year, hot/cold, dry/rainy/snowy. The average temperature in the valley ranges between 12 ° C / 2 ° C.
Winter – Best Time To Visit Yosemite
Snow season! Tioga Road closes over November, and vehicles are not allowed between Crane Flat and the Tioga Pass, including the Tuolumne Meadows area. The road to Glacier Point also closes around November. The park will be covered in snow, but there are some accessible trails in the valley.
Glacier Point and Badger Pass Road transform into Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area until early April. They have areas for skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing.
Price Of The Ticket To Yosemite
You can also purchase the Annual Pass at the Yosemite gatehouse. It is a pass valid for 12 months, with which you can enter all the national parks in the United States. The Annual Pass costs $ 80 and will be profitable when you plan to visit more than two national parks.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, to visit Yosemite National Park, it is necessary to make a reservation for daily use at www.recreation.gov that costs $ 2 to access the park, in addition to the usual entrance fee.
If you have a hotel or camping reservation to spend the night inside the park, making the reservation for day use will not be necessary. You will also not need to make a reservation if you access the park with the YARTS buses or any other organized tour.
Where Is The Yosemite National Park And How To Get There?
The magnitude and importance of Yosemite National Park mean that communications with it are excellent. even being a high mountain park, so it will not be challenging to get to Yosemite, whether you come from San Francisco or if you come from Los Angeles or Las Vegas. , all its roads will lead you to Yosemite Valley.
There are four road entrances to Yosemite National Park, two from the West to get from San Francisco or Big Sur. Another one from the South for those coming from Los Angeles or Sequoia National Park. And the last one is for Tioga Pass for those who come from Death Valley from Las Vegas.
How To Get Around Within The Yosemite Park?
In general, the car is NOT a good way to get around the park if you are traveling in the summer. Yosemite Valley is usually complete at this time of year, which makes our car an inconvenience since we will never be able to park where we want, and we will have to walk a lot. The best thing to do is park it for the whole day and use the park’s free buses.
Limit traffic congestion, and the park service operates several free buses that run from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. in Yosemite Valley throughout the year, stopping near all accommodations, shopping areas, and entertainment venues. Most important interest.
In addition, two pay lines connect the valley with the more remote areas, allowing hikers to make longer routes without returning to the car at the starting point.
- Tuolumne Meadows “Hikers” bus (free): This bus only runs in July, August, and September. The Connects Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows. It costs $ 10 and is valid for a full day.
- Glacier Point bus (for a fee): This bus runs in June, July, August, September, and October. It connects the Yosemite Valley and Glacier Point. The ticket costs $ 57 round trip or $ 28 one way for those who want to return to the valley down the Four Mile Trail path.
How To Organize Your Visit To The Yosemite National Park?
Before we begin, I would like to tell you that, in Yosemite, it could be a whole week and we would not finish visiting it. But all of us who travel the West Coast usually save one day to visit Yosemite or at most a day and a half. So everything I’m going to describe here is designed to condense your visit into the most spectacular viewpoints and the most popular trails in the park.
Now, the best way to plan a visit to Yosemite is to divide the park into four zones:
- Yosemite Valley
- Glacier point
- Mariposa Grove
- Tioga Road
How Much Time To Dedicate To Yosemite?
As I said before, in Yosemite, it could be a week, and you would not finish visiting it in its entirety. And there will be people who say even more.
But here I will tell you the time you need to visit Yosemite National Park thinking that you are a traveler who is traveling the West Coast of the United States and that this park represents one more stop in the middle of your road trip.
You should also take into account when you are going to visit this park. Because visiting Yosemite in winter is not the same as in summer. In winter, you’ll need less time as Glacier Point, Mariposa Grove, and many trails will be closed, and your visit will be limited to exploring the central valley only.
But don’t forget that the days will be shorter. And on the contrary, in summer the days are longer, but everything is active, and you will have more things to see.
That said, the minimum it takes to visit Yosemite is one full day. Keep in mind that you will surely see the Mariposa Grove redwood forest in addition to visiting Yosemite Valley. That is why you will need at least half a day for the valley and another half for the redwoods.
But the ideal is always one and a half days, to enjoy the valley and do a short walk and have time to go up to Glacier Point to see the sunset. And the following day, visit the redwoods of Mariposa Grove and at noon continue with the route.
What To See In Yosemite In 1 And 2 Days?
During my trip through the Circle of National Parks of the West Coast of the United States, I spent two days in Yosemite National Park, trying to make a different plan each day and thus offer you two options to organize your visit to this park.
The first day I started making a stop at Tunnel View as soon as I entered the park. I continued into the valley, parked my car, and climbed to the top of Upper Yosemite Falls, taking up almost the entire day.
I discovered lookouts like Columbia Rock, which is worthwhile and is only 1 kilometer from the beginning of the Yosemite Falls trail. And I ended the day stopping at the Valley View lookout, similar to Tunnel View, but with the Merced River in the foreground.
2. The second day, I traveled the Glacier Point road, stopping at its viewpoints and arriving at Taft Point. Then I went down to the valley to walk and have a different look, and after lunch, I started the Mist Trail to reach the only waterfalls that do not dry all year, those of Vernal and Nevada Falls.
REMEMBER! That you always have to add half a day more to the planning of your visit to Yosemite National Park to see the giant redwoods of the Mariposa Grove forest. A holiday that you can save if you have already included Sequoia National Park in your itinerary.
Where To Sleep In Yosemite?
Yosemite is located in the center of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Depending on the direction of your route and where you arrive, you will have to find accommodation on one side of the mountain or the other. And if you book early, even in the Yosemite Valley itself.
I’m going to give you several examples to know where to look for accommodation according to the design of your route. Still, if you need more help, you can visit ” Where to sleep in Yosemite,” where I talk exclusively about accommodation and the places where you can sleep near the park.
1. Groveland, Mariposa, and El Portal are ideal to sleep near Yosemite if you come from San Francisco and start your journey at noon to reach these towns at the last minute.
2. If you leave early from San Francisco, you will arrive after lunch in Yosemite. Then you can visit the park in the afternoon, and the ideal will be to sleep inside the Yosemite Valley, El Portal, or Mariposa. That way, the following day, you can re-enter the park and leave in the afternoon to reach your next destination.
3. If you come from Death Valley, you will have spent the night at Mammoth Lakes or Lee Vining and spend the rest of the day visiting Yosemite. In this case, the ideal would be to sleep in Mariposa or Groveland to leave for San Francisco the following day. However, some people make an express visit and leave for San Francisco, which I do not recommend.
Whenever I visit Yosemite, I try to sleep as close to the valley as possible. But it is such a popular park that I have never been able to sleep in the canyon itself. Sometimes because everything was already exhausted and others because what was left was very expensive.
Frequently Asked Questions: Best Time To Visit Yosemite
How many days do you need in Yosemite?
If you only plan to do a few hikes and drive around to see the sights, three days is enough to see almost everything. If you’d like to linger, you’ll have time to enjoy more ranger-led activities, attend evening programs, take tours, and hang around enjoying the scenery.
What months does Yosemite have snow?
Yosemite receives 95% of its precipitation between October and May (and over 75% between November and March). Most of Yosemite is blanketed in snow from about November through May. (Yosemite Valley can be rainy or snowy in any given winter storm.)
What is the hottest month in Yosemite?
The hottest day is July 29, with an average high of 94°F and a low of 64°F. The incredible season lasts for 3.1 months, from November 21 to February 25, with an average daily high temperature below 61°F. The coldest day of the year is December 30, with an average low of 37°F and a high of 53°F.
Is spring break an excellent time to visit Yosemite?
Spring is the best time of year to visit the park. The Yosemite waterfalls will be flowing at their highest levels of the year. Wildflowers and dogwood trees will be in bloom. If you avoid the busy spring break season, the place will be less crowded.
Is Yosemite worth visiting?
It’s worth it to go since you have perfect lodging for your stay in Yosemite. The waterfalls are stellar in June, and you are within walking distance of Yosemite falls.
Is October A Good Time To Visit Yosemite
Best Time To Visit Yosemite For Waterfalls
Yosemite In October
in Yosemite In September
Yosemite In August
Yosemite In June
Is November A Good Time To Visit Yosemite
Is December A Good Time To Visit Yosemite