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Best Time to Visit Yosemite for Hiking

The best time to visit Yosemite for hiking depends on the hiker – while late May and early September are the most popular times to visit due to smaller crowds and mild temperatures, there are trails fit for every time of year in Yosemite.

Read on for a seasonal breakdown of the best times to visit Yosemite for hiking and book your stay with Evergreen Lodge or Rush Creek Lodge

 

Some of the best day hikes in Yosemite give you an incredible view of Yosemite Falls.

Visit Yosemite for Hiking in the Spring

Those who visit Yosemite for hiking in the spring can expect temperatures from the mid-30s to 60s (Fahrenheit). As the snow begins to melt, the waterfalls in Yosemite rush at their full capacity.

Book the Wonders of Yosemite Hike & Tour through Evergreen Lodge or Rush Creek Lodge to see two of Yosemite’s most iconic waterfalls: Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Fall. The snow melt also marks the start of whitewater rafting season.

Trail hiking in Yosemite usually becomes available in lower elevations, like Hetch Hetchy and Yosemite Valley, earlier in the spring. The amount of snowfall determines when seasonal roads and trails reopen, as well as other environmental variables. High elevation hiking is available to those with the proper equipment and experience. 

 

The beauty of Tuolumne Meadows makes summer the best time of year to visit yosemite

Visit Yosemite for Hiking in the Summer

If you visit Yosemite for hiking in the summer, you’ll have full access to the park. All roads are accessible, and all of the park’s campgrounds are open (however, we recommend continuing to stay on top of current conditions). There is also less rainfall during the summer, making it an ideal time for hiking and camping. The temperatures range from the 90s in the valleys to the 70s in the mountains during the day, and dip into the 40s when the sun goes down. 

Head up to Tuolumne Meadows for spectacular wildflower fields and cooler temperatures than the popular Yosemite Valley.

Book the Glen Aulin Naturalist Tour through Rush Creek Lodge or Evergreen Lodge to see Tuolumne Falls and incredible views of the Tuolumne River. If time and weather allows, hikers may get a chance to go swimming during this all-day hike.

 

Valley View Range of Light Tour.

 

Visit Yosemite for Hiking in the Fall

Visit Yosemite for hiking in the fall to be surrounded by breathtaking fall foliage on your journey. The mild temperatures are great for longer hikes, keeping you cool while you explore the majestic Yosemite Valley and surrounding areas. Fall is also peak rock climbing time in Yosemite, so keep an eye out for daring climbers scaling Yosemite’s iconic granite walls, especially world-famous El Capitan during Rocktober.

Book the Yosemite Valley Explorer Hike through Evergreen Lodge or Rush Creek Lodge, which is available year-round, and includes a 4 to 5 mile hike to see Yosemite Valley’s most iconic sights and hidden secrets. The hike is led by an expert naturalist guide who will provide further insight into John Muir’s legacy and how the valley came to be.

Those who visit Yosemite for hiking in the fall will enjoy smaller crowds toward the end of fall. However, the possibility of weather-related road closures rises during this time of year.

 

A group taking a selfie while snowshoeing in Yosemite.

Visit Yosemite for Hiking in the Winter

If you visit Yosemite for hiking in the winter, expect temperatures from the mid-40s to the low 20s. Take a snowshoe hike to access less-traveled areas of the park, go tubing or skiing, or advanced hiking if you have the proper equipment and experience. 

Rush Creek’s and Evergreen’s Giant Sequoia Hike or Snowshoe is available during the winter and spring. Hikers will snowshoe around stunning Giant Sequoia’s while a friendly naturalist guide provides insight about the park and spectacular trees.

Glacier Point beyond the Ski Area, Tioga, and Mariposa Grove Road are all closed during the winter due to snow, which means the eastern entrance of the park is not accessible. During this time of year, we recommend staying at hotels near Yosemite’s West Entrance. Before you visit Yosemite for hiking in the winter, check out the current conditions for the most up-to-date information on closures and storms.

 

The best time to visit Yosemite for hiking ultimately depends on personal preferences and the trail experience each hiker wants. Whether you’ll be here for spring’s rushing waterfalls, fall’s vibrant foliage, summer’s wide open spaces, or winter’s fresh powder, Yosemite National Park offers a year round captivating experience that is only elevated when you end your days at Rush Creek Lodge, Evergreen Lodge, or Firefall Ranch.