Best Time To Visit Yosemite | Ideal & Worst Months For Travel
Best time to visit Yosemite: Yosemite National Park is one of the most stunning national parks to visit because of its famous views and panoramas, enormous sequoia trees, tall granite cliffs and domes, and deeply cut valleys.
No matter what your travel objectives are, find out when is the ideal time to visit Yosemite with our fast travel guide!
See the overall best time to visit Yosemite below if you want to travel when the weather is great and park activities and tours are in full gear.
The cheapest time of year to travel is important information for travellers on a tight budget.
The least crowded time of year to come would be appreciated by those who wish to escape the greatest crowds of peak season! Our guide has all of this information and practical travel advice to help you enjoy your trip to the fullest.
I’ll start by explaining what makes Yosemite National Park unique and why you should go.
The Reasons Yosemite National Park Should Be Visited
There are several reasons to visit Yosemite National Park in California if you’re considering about doing so.
Innumerable animal species, magnificent granite domes and cliffs (including El Capitan and Half Dome), some of the highest waterfalls in the world, spectacular panoramas, and panoramic views may all be found in this national park in the Sierra Nevada highlands.
Yosemite is one of the country’s oldest national parks—did you know that? As a result of Lincoln’s signing of the Yosemite Land Grant in 1864, Yosemite was the first area of land in the United States to be preserved.
In 1890, it was designated as a national park, the third in our country’s history. Since then, the annual number of visitors to the park has surpassed 3 million.
Several tourists come to admire the enormous huge sequoias, which are the tallest living objects on the earth and are also the largest trees in the world.
The famed sequoia groves in the park have some trees that are more than 3,000 years old! One of Yosemite’s oldest and largest sequoias, the 209-foot-tall Grizzly Giant boasts a mind-blowing 96.5-foot trunk diameter.
Seeing these enormous creatures in person is both peaceful and inspirational. It’s one of the reasons Yosemite is a place that everyone should see.
More than 400 animal species, including black bears, bighorn sheep, mule deer, bobcats, red foxes, and hundreds of other bird, reptile, and fish species, may be seen in the park.
Bring your binoculars to Yosemite to see distant animals in the vast, open expanses! The enormous granite formations in the area are another incentive to visit Yosemite.
Granite is the main rock that creates the unusual scenery and formations of Yosemite, ranging from smooth, circular domes that are mind-boggling to tremendous, black cliffs that protrude into the sky.
You’ll be astounded at how the sun highlights and illuminates Yosemite’s enormous granite monuments.
El Capitan and Half Dome, two sheer granite monoliths, seem to be on fire when the sun sets due to the sun’s blazing orange-red glare.
Make sure you’re here around sunset to experience this spectacular sight; your eyes won’t believe the fiery, searing aspect these formations take on! The park also has some of the highest waterfalls in the world.
The renowned Yosemite Falls (2,425 feet), Snowcreek Falls (2,140 feet), Sentinel Fall (1,920 feet), Staircase Falls (1,700 feet), and Ribbon Fall will all be accessible to you (1,612 feet).
As soon as you approach the park, you’ll encounter Bridalveil Fall, one of Yosemite’s most recognisable waterfalls even though it’s not the largest.
There are lots of places to stay, eat, shop, visit museums, galleries, and stay in excellent accommodations while you’re there.
There are seven or more in-park lodges, ranging in style and price from the historic White Wolf Lodge to the The Ahwahnee hotel (a National Historic Landmark).
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You may book a luxurious room at the Wawona Hotel, a canvas tent in Curry Village, or a lodge at Glacier Point Ski Hut to take advantage of Yosemite in the winter.
One of the park’s most well-liked attractions is the Yosemite Museum, which presents the illustrious past, works of art, and antiquities from this region of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
On your way in, be sure to stop by (and check out the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center next door) to find out about the greatest viewing sites and hiking routes in the park.
The neighbouring Ansel Adams Gallery features works of art and photographs by other artists in addition to the famed photographer’s classic photographs of the park. For your convenience, the park also has gift shops, convenience stores, and petrol stations.
Within the park’s boundaries, there are food choices ranging from quick casual to expensive — ideal for a satisfying lunch after a tiring day of trekking and sightseeing!
You have a wide variety of alternatives for eating properly while you’re there in the park, including pizzerias, coffee shops, pubs, barbecues, and fine dining establishments.
Yosemite offers trails that snake through stands of enormous trees, record-breaking
waterfalls, soaring granite cliffs and domes, and river-carved valleys with a pleasant Mediterranean climate. It’s obvious that there’s a lot to do and see here!
But if you go at the correct time of year, you’ll have a greater experience. No matter what your travel objectives are, check out the ideal time to visit Yosemite below (weather, budget, crowds, and more).
The Ideal Season To Visit Yosemite
- The ideal months to visit Yosemite are May through September.
- Low rainfall, plenty of sunshine, and warm temperatures
- Peak season brings more visitors, a fully open park, and more events.
May through September are generally the finest months to visit Yosemite, with May, June, and September being the best.
By scheduling your trip at this season, you may escape Yosemite’s 95% annual rainfall.
You may take use of the park’s amenities, including its services, roads, and accommodation, while enjoying warm, dry weather.
Yosemite’s peak season is from May through September/October, when around 75% of the park’s yearly visitors come.
During this time of year, there will undoubtedly be more people around, but it’s worth it because of all the advantages of spring, summer, and early autumn.
At this period, every shuttle, road, trail, and section in the park are accessible. When the rain and snow from the winter and early spring have melted, the cascading falls are roaringly streaming.
Throughout the summer months, there are several excursions, guided hikes, and everyday activities taking place, and attractions are operating at full capacity.
You’ll have the most accomodation alternatives at this time; just make your reservations in advance to avoid hitting “no availability” barriers as the busy season draws near.
Camping is ideal during these bright, warm months, when highs vary from a cosy 70F to 80F in May, June, and September to sweltering 90F in July and August.
Best Season To Visit Yosemite
- The cheapest months to visit the park are from October through February.
- Off-season discounts on hotels and attractions
- Easier reservations + more lodges available within parks
The ideal time to visit Yosemite on a budget is from October through February since low season prices start in October and continue through the winter.
Although the low season may be rather damp and rainy, there are plenty of indoor activities and attractions to keep you occupied when the weather stops you from going outside and exploring.
Less people visit the park during the cooler autumn and winter months, seasonal road and area restrictions are in place (along with lower pricing for accommodation and activities), and the park’s Badger Pass ski facility offers plenty of excitement for winter visitors.
Since more of the park is closed in the autumn and winter than it is in the summer, October to February is the least expensive period to visit.
At all of the in-park lodges, you’ll discover that it’s much simpler to find open rooms to reserve at this time of year.
Also, the majority of lodges start offering significant reductions on their prices in October, with even greater savings being offered throughout the winter.
From October to February, the majority of the in-park lodges will cost you about $60 less each night. If you can stand the cold, camping at a park will save you a tonne of money.
Other affordable lodging alternatives outside the park include nearby hotels, motels, and Airbnbs.
Except on days when there is no admission price, like Veteran’s Day (November 11) and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, you can’t really avoid paying the $35 necessary entry fee (valid for 7 days) (mid-January).
You have a wide choice of alternatives for wintertime recreation in the park, including skiing, snowboarding, showshoeing, ice skating, ranger-led walks, snow tubing, and winter camping.
The Badger Pass ski area provides weekday specials as well as child and senior discounts. Free for children under 6! Use the complimentary shuttle service that will take you from Yosemite Valley up to the lodge.
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Yosemite’s Lowest Visitation Season
- At Yosemite, December through February saw the fewest visits.
- Cold weather, park road and trail closures, and snow and rain cause fewer visitors.
- Clear, less populated routes and view locations with more affordable accommodation
The ideal time to visit Yosemite is from December through February, with the exception of the end of December, if you want to escape the heavy tourist traffic of spring, summer, and early autumn (when holiday travellers arrive).
The least active month overall is January. Yosemite gets the majority of its precipitation during this time, mostly in the form of snow and rain.
The valley has lows of -2F and highs of 50F, with colder temperatures at higher altitudes. As a consequence, at this period, a few park sites and park roads are seasonally closed.
These variables, however, won’t be an issue for a visitor looking for the least amount of people as they’re the reason so few people visit Yosemite at this time of year!
After being fueled by all the rain and snowfall from the autumn and winter months, the falls are flowing.
The cold weather in the park might make camping a bit more difficult, but the in-park housing alternatives provide a warm and comfortable shelter to escape the chilly weather.
For those who want a challenge, 4 campsites are still available throughout the winter, while hotel options close to the gates are open all year.
From the middle of December until the beginning of March, snow tubing, snowshoeing, and skiing are all permitted at the Badger Pass ski resort.
To escape the cold without having to deal with large crowds, go ice skating at the Curry Village rink, trek to Mirror Lake, or spend some time to explore the Yosemite Museum and tourist centre.
Yosemite’s Worst Season To Visit
- The worst months to travel are July and August.
- There are a lot of people and it is really hot.
- Limited lodging options plus higher costs
It only makes sense to focus on the worst months to visit Yosemite now that we’ve looked at the best ones, which turn out to be July and August.
Yosemite National Park has its warmest temperatures and most tourist traffic during these months of the year.
At this time, you’ll have to contend with the densest crowds, difficult visibility from vantage points, and oppressive heat on the trails.
As July and August are the busiest months of the year, this is also when most tourists visit Yosemite. The in-park hotel fills up rapidly, leaving few (if any) openings for hurried visitors.
As a consequence, the cost of lodging, camping, and canvas tents increases. So, the price of this hot, crowded Yosemite experience will increase.
The good news is that there are currently no road, trail, or park service closures taking place, and the park is fully operational.
Everything in the park will be open to you, but you’ll need to determine whether battling the crowds and heat is worthwhile.
What else should you be aware of to have the greatest vacation possible to Yosemite? Consider these suggestions to get the most out of your Yosemite excursion!
Think Of Setting Up A Camp There
Think of setting up a camp there.Camping is more affordable than any of the in-park hotel options, and it’s a terrific opportunity to get a closer look at the area.
There are 13 campsites in Yosemite, and 4 of them are available all year (just pack plenty of blankets and cold weather gear in winter). In addition to saving a ton on hotel, your family will love camping in this lovely area.
Keep Up With Seasonal Closures
When snow starts to fall and the temperatures drop in the late autumn and early winter, Yosemite shuts several roads, trails, and services.
The sole route that links the whole park, Tioga Road, is always closed from November to May. Several hotels and campers close their doors in October and reopen in April.
The park’s free shuttles and buses can be closed throughout the winter, so be sure to check in advance to see what’s available before you make travel arrangements.
Understand The Criteria For Tyre Chains
Tire chains are necessary in Yosemite if you want to travel during the cooler months, which are typically November through March.
Avoid travelling through the park in the winter without tyre chains to guarantee safety and greater control on the roads since the snow and ice conditions inside the park might change unexpectedly.
Choose the lower-elevation access sites in the late autumn or early spring to avoid the tyre chain restrictions, and stick to the warmer months.
In The Busiest Season, Reservations Are Necessary
Yosemite requires reservations from visitors who aren’t staying in the park’s accommodation or campers due to the high volume of visitors the park receives during the busy season.
From May 20 through September 30, you must make a 3-day reservation in advance ($2 charge), but only if you access the park between 6AM and 4PM.
Attempt to book reservations here at least 7 days in advance of your visit. When you get there, you’ll still need to pay the additional admission price.
There will be an entrance charge. Most visitors to Yosemite must pay an annual $35 admission fee, valid for seven days.
Entry is $30 for motorcyclists and $20 for pedestrians and bikes (free for those under 15).
Veterans with a free annual pass, anybody with a lifetime or yearly pass, 4th students attending as part of the Every Child Outside initiative, and fee-free entrance days are the only exceptions (4-5 each year). Find out more here.
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Get As Much Exercise As You Can
Yosemite has a tonne of attractions and activities for people of all ages and skill levels. When you go, you can go
- Rock climbing
- Horseback riding
- Bird and wildlife watching
taking pictures, going on guided hikes and tours, exploring museums and visitor centres, having meals and picnics in the park, skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating. Take part in as many things as you can to make the most of your Yosemite vacation!
Last Words On The Best Time To Visit Yosemite
In general, May through September are the finest months to visit Yosemite, with May, June, and September being the very greatest months.
The park is completely open and bustling with activity, the weather is nice and dry, and the magnificent falls there are flowing vigorously. The greatest time of year to see Yosemite in all its glory!
The Best Time to Travel
The cheapest months to travel are from October through February, when the weather cools down and the number of tourists declines.
Several hotels and campsites are still operational, offering low prices to make your stay more affordable.
Take advantage of the Badger Pass ski area’s winter pricing and less crowds for a tranquil getaway!
The Best Time To Travel
The ideal time to visit Yosemite is early to mid-December through February since it will be the least crowded and you may not see another hiker or tourist while you’re there (with January being the least busy of all).
Aim to come before or after the holidays for the least congested (and most affordable) experience as the end of December gets packed with arrivals from holiday breaks.
The Wrong Time To Travel
In any case, avoid travelling during the busy summer months of July and August. This time of year is the warmest, the busiest of the year for crowds, and prices rise as supply declines.
To beat the heat and escape the busiest times of year, you should visit in late spring or early summer (May–June) or late summer or early autumn (September–October).
Yosemite is unquestionably, totally, completely worth seeing because of its famous vistas of massive granite domes and cliffs, groves of old gigantic sequoias, verdant valleys teeming with vegetation and unusual fauna, and tumbling waterfalls among the highest in the world.