Best Time to Visit Yosemite National Park

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A river with rocks and trees along with grey mountains in the distance
Millions of people visit Yosemite National Park in California every year

Every year, millions of people from around the country visit Yosemite in California. However, multiple factors go into deciding the best time to visit Yosemite National Park.

The cheapest time to visit the park is during the November-March period. These months have the fewest crowds, so flights and hotels lower their prices. You'll also be more likely to find last-minute deals.

However, the weather is the best between June and September. Temperatures are warm--usually between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit and most days are sunny. The nice weather attracts more tourists, though.

There are benefits and potential drawbacks to consider no matter when you visit Yosemite. Keep reading, and you'll be one step closer to figuring out when you should plan your trip!

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  • 12 Yosemite National Park best time to visit tips

Best Time to Go to Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park Vacation Planning Questions

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There are things to consider when planning a trip to Yosemite National Park
A brown sign on a grey brick wall "Yosemite National Park"
Summer is the peak season with the best weather for visiting Yosemite National Park

When is the best time to visit Yosemite National Park?

Summer (June-September) is the perfect time to plan a trip if you're wondering when to visit Yosemite National Park. This is a popular time to visit the park, though, so you'll likely have to deal with crowds.

Yosemite has the best weather in the summer. Temperatures vary between 82 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and between 50 and 56 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Between June and September, there are, on average, only one to two rainy days per month, so there's plenty of sunshine as well.

The nice weather means the park will be fully operational and you'll have access to all of Yosemite's trails. However, flights and accommodation will be expensive since there's a high demand for them.

A snowy landscape with trees and a large rock in the background
Hotels and airlines offer lower prices for the fall and winter in Yosemite Park

When is the cheapest time to go to Yosemite?

If you want to plan a budget-friendly trip to Yosemite, fall (September-December) and winter (December-March) are the cheapest times to go. While the entrance fee to Yosemite National Park is constant all year, hotels and airlines lower their prices during these seasons.

There aren't many tourists at the park in the fall and winter months since some of the area's trails close until the spring (March-June). However, holiday weekends are the exceptions to this rule. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve can draw people who are looking for a rustic getaway in the wilderness.

If you do plan a fall or winter trip, make sure to bundle up depending on when you visit. September temperatures hover around 84 degrees Fahrenheit, but they steadily decline until they reach a low of 48 degrees Fahrenheit in December and January.

A waterfall with trees and rocks with a sunny blue sky
Summer is the most popular time to visit Yosemite National Park due to good weather

When is Yosemite peak season?

For most people, the best time to see Yosemite National Park is in the summer (June-September), resulting in the park being full of eager tourists.

Families favor going there between June and August since school is out. However, the beautiful weather makes it a popular destination for singles and couples as well.

Rainy days are rare between June and September. There's much less fog so the visibility on the park's trails is good enough to let visitors hike safely. The area's temperatures are also comfortable and usually stay within the 82-90 degree Fahrenheit range.

However, airlines and hotels know that summer is a popular travel season and as there's a high demand for bookings, they're less likely to offer deals.

A snowman in a snowy field with mountains and trees in the background
November to April is the least crowded season to visit Yosemite National Park

When is the least crowded time to visit Yosemite?

Fall (September-December), winter (December-March), and spring (March-June) are the least crowded seasons in the park. Specifically, the November-April period is the area's lowest for tourism.

The temperatures during those months rarely go higher than 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter and spring have the most precipitation. Winter and spring are each blessed with 30 inches of snowfall and up to 30 inches of rain.

To entice people to come to the area between November and April, hotels inside Yosemite National Park lower their prices. However, you might have to book early if you want to go to the park around Thanksgiving or the December holiday season.

A body of water and a walking bridge with trees and mountains in the background
Yosemite National Park temperatures in the summer are between 80 and 90 degrees F

When is the best season to visit Yosemite National Park?

The best time of year to visit Yosemite National Park is the summer (June-September) if you want to hike and have the most access to the park's territory. By this time of year, the winter (December-March) snow has melted and the spring (March-June) rain has stopped. Most days are sunny and temperatures range between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

The nice weather makes exploring the park safe and pleasant. Accessibility to what the park offers is at its best, for example, trails meandering up the valley walls and roads like Glacier Point Road reopen to the public.

However, this is also Yosemite's busiest time of year. Hotel and travel costs are at their highest since the hotels and airlines know that people are willing to pay a premium to visit.

A waterfall and a rocky cliff with trees in the distance
Yosemite's waterfalls are most impressive between April and early June

When is the best time to see waterfalls in Yosemite?

Yosemite's waterfalls are most beautiful in the spring (March-June), in particular between April and early June. Since the winter's (December-March) snow will be in the process of melting, tourists will be treated to unceasing cascading waterfalls.

The falls in the park are kept flowing by the rainy days that usually crop up throughout the March-May period. While it's rare for the falls to completely dry up, they can be less impressive during the summer (June-September) as there's less water to feed them.

The best trails in Yosemite National Park to see the waterfalls are the Vernal and Nevada. However, both of these trails are medium-strenuous in difficulty.

Camping tents in a forest surrounded by tall trees
July and August are the warmest months for camping in Yosemite National Park

When is the best time to go camping in Yosemite?

May-September is the best time to plan a camping trip in Yosemite. Summer (June-September) is particularly inviting since it has the warmest climate and the least rain.

Temperatures between May and September reach daytime highs of between 54 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime lows of between 44 and 56 degrees Fahrenheit. You'll likely experience nice weather throughout this period, but July and August are the park's warmest and sunniest months.

If you're interested in camping, the best campsite in Yosemite National Park is Upper Pines. This campsite is large and popular among both tourists and locals. Keep in mind that it tends to book up quickly, especially in the summer.

A large tunnel tree in a forest surrounded by a wooden fence
May and June are the best months to go hiking in Yosemite National Park

When is the best time to hike in Yosemite?

There is never a bad time to hike in Yosemite, but May and June are the best months overall. This is at the beginning of the park's busy tourist season, but crowds usually aren't too bad yet since schools nationwide are still in session.

Mild weather is a feature with only one to three rainy days on average and the temperatures are rarely outside of the 73-82-degree Fahrenheit range.

The Mist Trail to the Half Dome and the Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls are some of the best hikes in Yosemite National Park. You can choose to do the trek yourself or you can book a guided tour.

A river with a bridge and trees along with mountains in the distance covered in snow
Yosemite receives around 29 inches of snow annually

When is the Yosemite National Park snow season?

Many people think since Yosemite is in California, it doesn't snow in the park. That couldn't be further from the truth, though. Yosemite gets around 30 inches of snow every year, but most of this snowfall occurs in winter (December-March).

In particular, December and January are the months that experience the most snow. You can even ski then at the Badger Pass Ski Area.

After January, temperatures in the park start to rise. During the day it can even get into the 50-degree Fahrenheit range. Nightly temperatures can still dip to 30 degrees Fahrenheit, so some overnight flurries are possible until March.

A rocky landscape with trees and mountains with the sun setting in the distance
Yosemite National Park is best visited during the summer months of June-September

When is the best weather to visit Yosemite?

It depends on what your preference is. Summer (June-September) is the best time to visit Yosemite National Park if you want sunshine and the warmest days and nights.

There are usually only one or two rainy days per month between June and September. Average temperatures also range between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and between 50 and 56 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

However, if you want to ski while you're in Yosemite, the best time to visit is in winter (December-March), specifically between mid-December and the end of January.

The best time to visit Yosemite National Park for warmer weather is in the summer
Summer is the worst time of year to visit Yosemite if you don't like crowds

When is the worst time to visit Yosemite?

The worst time of year for you to visit Yosemite again will depend on your priorities. Crowds, costs, and weather all vary during the year, so it's important to decide what factors are most likely to negatively impact your enjoyment.

Summer (June-September) is the worst time of year to visit the park if you don't like crowds. This is the park's busiest season and crowds reach a peak in July and August.

Summer is also the worst time of year to visit Yosemite if you want to save money. Since it's a popular time for tourists, hotels and airlines raise their prices. If you're on a tight budget, this makes this time even less desirable.

Winter (December-March) is the worst time of year to go to the park if you want to hike or spend a lot of time outside. It can snow up to 30 inches during this season and many of the trails close for safety. The temperatures also tend to stick around the 48-58 degree Fahrenheit range.

Weather, Prices, and Crowds in Yosemite National Park

A river between mountains with a rainbow and trees in the distance
The best time to visit Yosemite National Park depends on your preference

Yosemite in January

January is the best time to visit Yosemite if you want to ski in peace. After the first week into the month, most visitors will have left, so the park will be fairly empty. So, this is the best time to visit Yosemite in winter.

At this point of the year, most of Yosemite's 30 annual inches of snow will already have fallen thanks to the 28-48 degree Fahrenheit temperatures. Badger Pass Ski Area is the park's designated skiing area, and it's open and fully operational during this time.

You'll also be most likely to find budget flights and accommodations. Last-minute deals can pop up, and most places shouldn't need you to book far in advance.

Yosemite in February

February is a peaceful month at Yosemite. Since school is in session, families rarely come to the park. Those who do tend to be California locals who visit on the weekend.

Since there isn't a high demand for tourist amenities, you'll find discounts on travel and hotel bookings. Even the best places to stay at Yosemite National Park will discount their rates to encourage off-season visits.

Don't expect to do a lot of hiking, however. February gets about seven rainy days every year, and the trails can be too muddy and slippery for the public. You likely won't have to deal with much snow, though. Daily temperatures are usually in the low-50s degree Fahrenheit.

Yosemite in March

March can be the best time to visit Yosemite National Park if you want to see nature but don't want to go camping. You'll be able to enjoy the views all over the park in relatively comfortable weather and with few crowds.

Yosemite can get over five inches of rain throughout the month, but the park also only has about nine rainy days in March per year. Temperatures can vary. Initially, they'll start in the low-50s Fahrenheit before reaching 58-60 degrees Fahrenheit after spring (March-June) begins. However, nightly temperatures are still around 32 degrees Fahrenheit, so camping isn't recommended.

There aren't many crowds, but on years when Easter takes place in March, some in-state locals come to the park for the weekend. Those years, avoid booking a trip around the holiday weekend since the rest of the month should be more affordable.

Yosemite in April

According to locals, April is the best time to visit Yosemite in spring (March-June). Most of winter's (December-March) snow will have melted by the beginning of the month and more of the park's trails are opened to the public.

The area's climate is generally nice in April. Temperatures during the day are around 65 degrees Fahrenheit on average. It's not very rainy either. Only six days out of the month tend to have any precipitation, and usually, it's half an inch or less of rainfall per day.

Prices for lodging and travel start to creep up throughout this month, however. More people are traveling which drives up the demand. You'll have less luck finding last-minute deals, but if you book early, you should still have an affordable trip.

Yosemite in May

If you're debating when to go to Yosemite National Park, you should consider visiting in May. Since it's on the cusp between the area's spring (March-June) and summer (June-September) climate, you'll be able to have a good general experience of the park.

May's nightly temperatures can get as low as 44 degrees Fahrenheit, so camping might not be a great option for you. However, days are a comfortable 73 degrees Fahrenheit on average.

With only three rainy days occurring during the month, it's a pretty ideal time to go hiking. You'll also be able to shoot some one-of-a-kind photos, especially if you book a guided photo tour.

Near the end of the month, you'll notice more families in the park and you'll see prices go up more drastically around that time as well. However, you'll still be spared from the peak crowds that come later in the summer.

Yosemite in June

For people across the country, June is the best month to visit Yosemite National Park. Before you plan a summer (June-September) trip, though, there are a few things to consider.

June is the best month for outdoor activities in the park. Since the temperatures rarely get above 82 degrees Fahrenheit or below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, you'll be comfortable while you're outside without overheating or getting too cold. In fact, if you're interested in taking a Jeep tour through the park, this is the perfect month to book one.

However, the park is going to be crowded. Schools nationwide will be out for the summer. A lot of local and out-of-state families will join other tourists who want to take advantage of the nice climate.

You'll also want to be flexible with your budget during the month. You'll have to book your flights and rooms early to make sure you get a reservation, giving you less time to shop around for good deals.

Yosemite in July

July is the best time of year to go to Yosemite National Park if you want to swim in the great outdoors. Since the temperatures hover around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, it'll be warm enough to make the trek to one of the park's rivers, lakes, or pools.

You won't be the only person with that idea, though. July is one of the busiest times. in the park reaching hundreds of thousands of visitors over the course of the month. Campsites, hotels, and tours will be booked solidly.

That also means July isn't the month for budget travelers to visit Yosemite. Companies don't need to lower prices because the demand for their amenities is so high, so you won't find many deals unless you book months in advance.

Yosemite in August

August is the best time to visit Yosemite in summer (June-September), especially later in the month. The park is still crowded, but as schools start their term, fewer families and college students will be visiting during that time.

Temperatures are around 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night. It's also the driest month in Yosemite. It's not uncommon to have zero rainy days in August.

Prices in August can be hit-or-miss. For the first week or two, you likely won't find many deals. However, some last-minute specials can pop up starting halfway through the month onward.

Yosemite in September

If you asked locals, they'd tell you September is the best time to visit Yosemite in the fall (September-December). Throughout the month, crowds start to thin out, but it's also still fairly warm so it's easier to enjoy hiking, camping, and swimming.

With daytime temperatures averaging at around 84 degrees Fahrenheit and nightly temperatures rarely dropping below 50, you can do virtually any outdoor activity. You don't even have to worry about rain. There are, typically, only two days of precipitation, and the monthly rainfall rarely goes over an inch.

Travel and accommodation costs also start to steadily drop in September, especially after Labor Day. You don't have to worry about reserving your plans months in advance.

Yosemite in October

October is one of the cheapest times to fly to the park. If you want to fly to the closest airport to Yosemite National Park, Fresno Yosemite International Airport, you'll have the most luck finding budget-friendly tickets during the month.

Weekends can get busy in the park as people flock to see the leaves change color. These crowds usually comprise those who live around or near Yosemite.

These locals don't usually book hotel stays so you'll be able to find budget-friendly accommodation even if up to the last minute.

The weather is mild and the area dry, receiving less than two inches of rain and the temperatures tend to stay steady at around 71 degrees Fahrenheit.

Yosemite in November

To many people, November is the best time to travel to Yosemite National Park. The park isn't typically busy except around Thanksgiving weekend, so it's a good option if you want to avoid crowds while you travel.

The lower crowds also make November a relatively budget-friendly period. Hotel rooms and flights are often discounted in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving to draw more travelers to the area throughout the month.

November's climate isn't ideal for camping, but if you're staying at one of the hotels or lodges around the property, you'll be comfortable. Days are fairly warm for the fall (September-December), often between 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit. Evenings can see temperatures dip to 32 degrees Fahrenheit though. It rarely snows in November, but rain is possible.

Yosemite in December

Visiting Yosemite in the winter (December-March) isn't very popular, but the park is still beautiful during the season. Over the course of December, temperatures in the park drop drastically leading to an average daily high of 48 degrees Fahrenheit.

It's not uncommon to find snow on the ground in December. 12.5 inches of snowfall is the average amount that usually occurs throughout the month. As long as you bundle up, it's the perfect time to book a snowshoe hike tour.

The crowd levels in the park during the month can be unpredictable. A lot of Californians enjoy going to the park around the holidays. To get the best deals on a December trip, it's recommended you book your travel and lodging early.

In Summary

Yosemite National Park is one of the most famous natural landmarks on the west coast, and it's not hard to see why. It has dozens of trails to explore that let you see the countless waterfalls, sequoias, and breathtaking views.

You can have a fun and memorable time no matter what month you decide to visit. However, your Yosemite experience will change depending on the time of year.

Hopefully, this article has helped you figure out your travel preferences so you can have the best trip possible. Now, what are you waiting for? Start planning!

This article was edited by Henry Grahame.

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Written by Gabrielle T

ggtraveler1213 WRITER Gabrielle loves all things travel and culture. She is originally from the USA, but she has lived in Italy for over a decade. She's always ready to pack her bags, grab her passport, and head out on an adventure!


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