Skip to Content

When is the Best Time to Visit Yosemite National Park?

When is the Best Time to Visit Yosemite National Park?

Want to take a trip to Yosemite? But don’t know when. This is the best time to visit Yosemite National Park based on the activities offered at this iconic national park.

If you’re looking to avoid the crowds and enjoy the park’s natural beauty at its finest, there is no better time to visit Yosemite National Park than in the spring.

The beautiful Yosemite National Park is known for the Half Dome, an amazing mountain that attracts thousands of avid hikers every year. It is open 365 days a year and is ready for you to visit.

Yosemite Sceneries

Yosemite National Park itself has been around for thousands of years. It was first inhabited by the Ahwahneechee people before European settlers arrived in the 1800s. Its rugged terrain was challenging for settlers trying to cross through Yosemite valley, so the Yosemite Valley Railroad was constructed in 1907.

The railroad brought many visitors to the valley, resulting in the National Park we know and love today. Nearly 4 million people visit this national park each year.

Yosemite Lake and Mountain Range

The park is home to more than 400 different species of animals, and on your visit, you may be lucky enough to see a few of them. Bears, fish, lizards, birds, and all sorts of other creatures call this valley home. Some species of insects within the park don’t even exist anywhere else in the world.

Best time to visit Yosemite National Park

The park is busiest during the summer, so if you want to avoid the crowds, try visiting in the spring or fall.

The best time to visit Yosemite National Park is during the spring when the weather is mild and the waterfalls are flowing. Temperate daytime temperatures reach 70 degrees throughout May, while nighttime temperatures remain chilly.

Spring in Yosemite National Park

Spring is a wonderful time to tour the Yosemite Valley. Waterfall levels are at their highest in May, wildflowers bloom, and the summer throngs haven’t yet arrived. The months of the year are usually ideal. Tioga Road and Glacier Point Road are both closed in spring (March and April) owing to winter snow accumulation that prevents entry into n the fall, the leaves on the trees change color, making for a beautiful sight. The weather is also mild, so it’s a great time to visit. October tends to be the driest month in Yosemite Valley.

If you’re looking to visit Yosemite National Park during the springtime, be sure to pack your hiking boots, sunscreen, and a picnic lunch!

The park is at its most beautiful during this season, with mild temperatures and plenty of waterfalls flowing. You can expect daytime temperatures to reach around 70 degrees in May, making it the perfect time to explore all that the park has to offer.

Just be sure to bring a jacket for nighttime, as temperatures can get chilly.

Summer in Yosemite National Park (June – September)

Yosemite is busiest during the summer months, and with good reason – the park is absolutely stunning. From the soaring granite cliffs of Half Dome to the rushing waterfalls of Yosemite Valley, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in Yosemite.

The park’s beautiful scenery, which includes the iconic Lake and High Sierra Vistas, continues to attract more vacationers. However, Yosemite can become a major attraction on many Summer Weekends.

Some of the most well-known waterfalls in the Valley were wet by the end of June. Daytime temperatures regularly reached into the nineties. During summer, Yosemite travelers flock to Tuolumne Meadow to see their favorite spots.

The heat and crowding in Yosemite Valley (8600 feet) contrast with the peace and freshness of Tu’Luk Falls. Avoid visiting on weekends, if possible.

Try to visit during September or October if you can’t go during the week. The weather is still warm, but the crowds have decreased somewhat. Later in the season, lodging options available inside the park are easier to find, and the fall colors in the Yosemite Valley make for a beautiful backdrop.

If you’re looking for a quieter experience, try visiting in the spring or fall.

See Related: Joshua Tree National Park Itinerary

Fall in Yosemite National Park

Clouds and Yosemite Valley

When the summer crowds depart, a peaceful calm pervades the Yosemite National Park environment. The air is chillier as winter approaches.., Autumn in Yosemite is incredible. This year’s highlights include gorgeous fall colors, blue skies, and elbow room to enjoy the beauty of nature.

When visiting Yosemite National Park in the fall, you can expect to see some of the most beautiful colors throughout the park.

The leaves on the trees will be changing color and the landscape will be a mix of green, yellow, orange, and red. You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to take pictures without having to fight through crowds of people.

The best time to visit Yosemite National Park in the fall is during the middle of October. The hiking trails through the park are such a different experience in the fall. The colors are so bright and beautiful that it’s hard to keep your eyes on the path.

You’ll want to stop every few feet to take pictures and soak in the views.

Winter in Yosemite National Park (December-March)

Wintertime in Yosemite is quite magical but some areas of the park may be inaccessible due to snow

During the winter, only vehicles can get to Yosemite Valley, Wawona, and parts of the route to Glacier Point (tire chains are required).

Wintertime activities include ice skating, snowshoeing, and skiing. As an additional activity in the winter, you may go ice skating or snowshoeing.

The majority of Yosemite Valley, Wawona Hotel, Badger Pass Ski Area, Yosemite Valley, Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, and the Tuolumne Meadows Grill will remain open. If you’re searching for a white Christmas, look no further!

No matter when you visit, make sure to take some time to wander around the park and enjoy the best things that Yosemite National Park has to offer.

See Related: 10 Best Travel Lightroom Presets

Wawona Hotel

Wawona Hotel Room

image by Kayak

The Wawona Hotel is a historic hotel located in the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias near Yosemite National Park. The hotel is open year-round, with a restaurant, gift shop, and occasional special events.

Badger Pass Ski Area

Badger Pass Ski Area is a winter recreation area located in Yosemite National Park.

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias:

Mariposa Grove Sceneries

The elevation changes within the park itself have a huge impact on the plants and other vegetation you will see. You can see scrub brushes in the lower areas, beautiful oak trees in the higher areas, and gorgeous whitebark pines if you make it up to the alpine zone.

Scientists have studied the plants within the park for years to understand their makeup. If you are interested in some of the research that goes on in the park, you can attend a scientific symposium that is held once every month.

Yosemite Falls

When you visit Yosemite, there is so much available for you to do it can almost be overwhelming. Take a walk through a grove of giant sequoias in the Mariposa Grove, or hop on a guided bus tour to see some of the amazing views the valley has to offer.

If you are of the adventuring mindset, you can take a day hike to see a magnificent waterfall or a wide meadow filled with wildflowers. If that isn’t enough for you, you can even take a backpacking trip up to Half Dome and see the majesty of Yosemite from the top down.

Yosemite Falls Up-close

Since there is so much to do in Yosemite, you may decide to stay the night and explore again the next day. There are cabins available for rental, as well as beautiful hotel rooms inside and outside of the park.

There are also 13 campgrounds available, with restaurants and a grocery store for last-minute necessities. If you want to plan a trip to Yosemite, visit the National Park Service website for help getting your itinerary together.

Related Resources

Lock In Your Travel Now
Looking for Extra Travel Perks?
My favorite travel companion is The Platinum Card® from American Express, which gives me lounge access, Uber credits, upgrades, and plenty of other travel perks. If you want to find out the best travel rewards credit card for you, consider using CardMatch to instantly get matched to a travel rewards credit card that meets your travel needs.
Booking Flights

Use Skyscanner to book the cheapest flight possible. Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine as you can find flights around the globe and from every airline possible. You'll be in great shape to get the best price possible.

You must grab a free trial or join Scott's Cheap Flights Premium to get cheap flight alerts directly to your email inbox. My favorite cheap flight alert was 25,000 Delta SkyMiles to London non-stop.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It's a low cost way to ensure your travel plans go smooth no matter what's thrown at it. Use World Nomads to find the best policy for your travel schedule.
Book Your Accommodation
In order to capture the widest selection of properties and the best price, use Booking.com as they have the cheapest rates for guesthouses, hotels, luxury condos, B&Bs and so much more.
Want More Destination Ideas Direct to Your Inbox?
Be sure to join the ViaTravelers Newsletter for expert tips, tricks and inspiration for your next travel journey!