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Hiking

When should you hike a trail? Some hikes lead to fascinating forests, some have tremendous views and others are rich in variety. Share your favorite trails with other hikers and nature lovers.

You can visit Easter Island all year around. You have to be lucky with the weather.

CL Chile

We visited this desert in the month of april. Overall you could say the best time to visit are our wintermonths november to april. The place is considered the hottest place on earth, measured by Nasa. They registered 70 degrees celcius in our summer!

IR Iran

Usually the best time to visit Scotland is from mid April till the end of May but you can be lucky and experience good weather all year round. April is great with the patches of snow, brown grass and blue sky contrast whereas in August you can experience nice green/pink colors. Can be crowded during weekends with good weather but it is still memorable experience.

GB United Kingdom

Open from May 15 to November 15 from dusk til dawn. Best time to visit is either spring or fall during the week. You will have the place to your self! If you go through out the summer (or any weekend) head up early morning, it starts to get busier around noon.

Monthly Weather: Average temperatures in C°: Weather - Morton, Ontario

CA Canada

Yosemite National Park! Mesmerizing and spectacular views! Read on for our complete season guide updated in 2019 or scroll down even further for tips about the most breathtaking places. You can use our quick navigation to find your desired subject:

  1. Spring Months | Season Guide
  2. Summer Months | Season Guide
  3. Autumn Months | Season Guide
  4. Winter Months | Season Guide
  5. Winter Special | Winter Quick Tips
  6. Avoiding Crowds - Busy Times
  7. 3 Must-Know Lodging Alternatives
  8. Glacier Point-Lower-Yosemite Falls-Half Dome
  9. 9 Yosemite Top Tips


Special Tip: If you have limited time and like it hassle-free, take a look at these tours: Yosemite National Park Tours (Service by the excellent provider GetYourGuide). Outstanding guides, stunning experience, and you get picked up and dropped off again at your hotel in case you're staying in San Francisco (depending on the tour)! Quote from a recent visitor: 'Brilliant guides very knowledgeable, had a brilliant day, an amazing place to see, absolutely outstanding!' The tours are also great in winter, as it takes away the headache of driving with tire chains. You might love these (the third one is not available in winter):

 

The Best Time

The best time to visit Yosemite National Park with mostly pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds is either from mid-May until early-June or from late September until mid-October. But still, try to visit mid-week and not on weekends. July and August are always ridiculously busy.

However, despite the crowds, summer brings the most pleasant weather of course. If you plan a summer visit, read our tips to avoid crowds (see below). Waterfalls are at their best in late May, and skiing the Badger Pass lasts through the end of March. Backpackers thrive into early October, while those who prefer to drive do best when all roads are likely to be open July through September. Take a look at our seasonal breakdown. We went to Yosemite ourselves many times, also analyzed thousands of reviews to help you determine the advantages of each season:

Season Guide | Monthly Weather & Highlights
 


Please note: These are temperatures for lower elevations. It gets a lot cooler at higher elevations!

 
SPRING (April - May)

April's showers (and melting snowcaps) bring May's spectacular waterfalls.

Weather: Though it varies, temperatures are getting warmer. Average daytime highs hover around 70, though it is always possible to encounter a late winter snowstorm.

Accessible Areas: Lower elevation and good roads make Yosemite Valley and Wawona accessible all year long. It is difficult to predict the likelihood to enter Tioga and Glacier Point Roads due to residual snow. Crews begin clearing snow April 15, but work can last well into May. Weekends can be especially busy, be sure to arrive early to avoid unnecessary delays.

Highlights: Water is abundant in spring. Well-known rivers and waterfalls reach peak runoff in late May, and this is by far the most popular time to see them. Check out the booming rush of water at Ribbon Falls, which only flows through June. It is one of the tallest waterfalls in all of North America. Don't expect to be wowed by the wildflowers; it's still too early for the blooms, though you might catch a few poppies or redwood along the way.

Crowds: Light in April. It gets busier in May. Especially weekends are crowded in late spring, visit midweek, and get to the main hot spots first thing in the morning. Try to avoid the extremely congested Memorial Day weekend.

 
SUMMER (June, July, August, early September)

Sweet summer weather brings peak level crowds.

Weather: Ample sunshine. Average temps soar to nearly 90, but cool down significantly under the night sky.

Accessible Areas: Most of the park is accessible now, but it is still possible to discover your own private paradise. Venture outside of Yosemite Valley, and away from the crowds. Take in the stunning views in High Sierra where you will be met by little more than a cool mountain breeze.

Highlights: Waterfall flow is typically still at its peak in early June and often remains high by mid-June. It begins to slow in July due to warmer weather. Vernal, Nevada, and Bridalveil Falls run all year; however, their flow can be very low by late summer. Yosemite Falls may dry out completely by August. Check Yosemite Falls Webcam to see the current flow. Your draw in summer is the spectacular colors of the wildflowers. In the valley, the blooms burst in June. Follow the winding river in Tuolumne Meadows, and enjoy the sub-alpine flowers like gentium or shooting stars. Explore one of the many trails that begin in these meadows, including the route to the summit of Mount Lyell, the highest in the park.

Crowds: June is already busy, while July and August are extremely jammed. Popular spots will be crowded all season, and expect long lines at entrance points. Take a chance and hike a lesser-known trail instead.

 
AUTUMN (early September, October,  November)

Crisp breeze and colorful trees, along with dwindling crowds make fall one of the best times to visit the park.

Weather: Varies. Average daytime temps are in the 50's, but it is not unusual to see drastic ranges. Snow and rain are also possible, especially at higher elevations. Yosemite Valley is your best bet for comfortable daytime weather; though expect it to turn chilly when the sun goes down.

Accessible Areas: Most areas in the park remain open through October, though this is fully dependent on the weather. Services begin to shut down in mid-September, and the park does not allow overnight parking after mid-October. However, most hotels and lodges in Yosemite Valley, El Portal or other nearby accommodations are open year-round. Check our 'Lodging Tips' below. While it's not very likely at lower elevations, you may require tire chains in November.

Highlights: As the snow begins to fall, so does the water. Yosemite Falls has been dry all late summer and early autumn but resumes its flow quickly usually by November (after a little snowfall). From Wawona, your best bet is Chilnualna Falls. You will have to hike to it, but the way it twists and turns through the rocks makes it completely worth the effort. Fall colors peak around mid-October, though don't expect to see radiant hues throughout. Most trees are evergreen, but shades of yellows, orange, and even some purples can be found sprinkled among the trees.

Crowds: Warning! Early September (Labor Day Weekend) sees the highest crowds. After Labor Day it's less crowded but still busy. Even if you visit mid-September avoid weekends and try to get up early. Crowds start to thin out by late September. In October everything is much quieter. As long as the roads remain open, you are likely to have the place to yourself in late autumn, particularly in November

 
WINTER (December, January, February, March)

If solitude is what you seek, winter will be a treat. Check out the official NPS tips: NPS Yosemite Winter Tips

Weather: Cold but not freezingly cold. Snow and wind are a constant presence, though you might find a few sunny days in between storms. Temperatures in Yosemite Valley are more moderate, averages remain in the low 50's, though evening lows can dip below zero.

Accessible Areas: There are few trails visible enough to hike during winter, and once Tioga Road is closed vehicles are prohibited for your safety. However, Yosemite Valley is accessible by car via Highway 140 (El Portal Road). Although you're required to carry tire chains in your car. Alternatively book a hotel in El Portal and use YARTS (read our winter tips at the top and lodging tips below the seasons guide for details about YARTS and El Portal) Ski areas remain open, as the Badger Pass is plowed often. Both downhill and cross-country activities are popular here, and there are some great runs for snowboarders as well.

Highlights: Water is flowing again, thanks to the snow and rain, and it is possible to get some great winter shots of the falls. If you get to Yosemite Falls early enough, it is possible to see it frozen solid. If possible, consider visiting the Horsetail Fall Firefall. Only occurring in winter when the sun is at just the right angle, this natural beauty looks just like a cascading flow of fire. It is truly unforgettable. The peak time for the Firefall is usually from February 17-19. However, it can vary. The sweeping snowy vistas are magical in the winter, and the lack of crowds makes it even better. Yosemite Valley is your best bet to find a route to hike, keep in mind the trails range in difficulty and distance, so plan accordingly.

Crowds: None. You are likely to encounter some crowds at the ski areas, but if your intent is just to visit the park, you may be lucky enough to never see another person.

 
Winter Special | November - December - January - February

Besides our ‘Autumn Guide,’ we collected some special tips for your November and December visit. November is a great time to visit Yosemite National Park with the crowds gone and mostly pleasant temperatures. In December it gets a little colder but it's still worth visiting. You'll love it! Don't forget read our quick tips for your winter visit below the November/December section.


Yosemite Pine (in November) by Rennett Stowe CC BY, cropped

  • Crowds? It’s not busy at all, as the visitor count drops to 30% in the month of November compared to the very busy summer months. It's even less busy in December and January. 
  • Road Accessibility: It’s very likely that Glacier Point Road and Tioga Road will be open until mid-November. However, both roads usually close by the end of November. Check the historic closures here: NPS - Glacier Point Road and Tioga Road Opening & Closing Dates. Tire Chains? When driving in lower elevations (like El Portal Road, Highway 140) tire chains are usually not required. But still, visiting in late November, December or any other winter month means, that you should carry them in your car.
  • Weather? While often still pleasant with temps around 45-50°F, it can also rain and even snow, especially at higher elevations. However, the first snowfall in October/November is usually light and the snow melts very quickly. In late November the ground is generally cold enough for the snow to accumulate, but mostly at higher elevations above Yosemite Valley. In December there can be snow on the ground in Yosemite Valley, but usually for a few days only. Often it's simply cold and chilly with a clear ground in the valley. 

 

3 Quick Tips for Winter
  • Road Conditions: Tioga Road and Glacier Point Road are both closed throughout the winter from late November until late May (sometimes until early June). All other Yosemite Park roads including Wawona Road (Highway 41) and El Portal Road (Highway 140), remain open year-round. However, you are required to carry tire chains in your car in case you need to use them. Find more information about road closures here: NPS Yosemite - Winter Road Closures And detailed information about tire chains: NPS Yosemite - Tire Chain Requirements. Always check current road conditions before you drive: NPS Yosemite - Road Conditions Don’t want to use tire chains? Check our winter accommodation tip just below.
  • Accommodation: Since El Portal Road and Wawona Road are open in winter, you may drive to Yosemite Valley and stay there. However, there are two drawbacks: 1) You’re required to tie carry tire chains and mount them during certain weather conditions. 2) The lodging options in Yosemite Valley are very(!) pricey, actually the most expensive ones there. Solution: You stay in El Portal and decide if you use the YARTS service, which gets you directly into Yosemite Valley or you drive by yourself, depending on the weather conditions. The great thing about YARTS: It operates year-round, regardless of the weather, and picks you up in El Portal right at the ‘Yosemite View Lodge’ (via booking.com). Check out our ‘Lodging Tips for El Portal’ below.
  • Walks/Hikes: The great thing about a winter visit, is the missing crowds. Places which are crowded from summer to fall can be visited now almost in solitude. Even if you don’t want to hike, you should do the super easy walks: Bridalveil Fall Trail, Lower Yosemite Fall Trail, and Cook’s Meadow Loop. Each only requires a 0.5 miles - 1 mile (loop) walk and is open in winter as well. A little more strenuous is the equally stunning Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall Trails. Find great trail information and tips about all the trails on the official NPS website: NPS Yosemite - Hikes
US United States

This hike through the gorge can be done at low water level only. After heavy rainfall, the Apsley River is flooded. Check the weather forecast first. Don't hike through the gorge if there is much rain forecasted. Even roads can get flooded. One day after our hike in November 16 we experienced flooded roads, closed trails, and landslides. A couple of trails got destroyed.

Flooded Apsley River after heavy rainfall close to Bicheno

Crowds

The Apsley River waterhole is popular for swimming in the summer. We saw several people having a look to the waterhole, but none of them hiked the trail through the gorge. It’s still a hidden gem compared to Freycinet.

Climate Bicheno

Pleasant temps around 20° C in the summer from December to March. Nights can be cold. More precipitation in summer. Warmest month on average is January. Winter with mild temps on average around 5-13° C. Frost is not common. In general, the eastern part of Tasmania is much drier than the western. Bear in mind it’s Tasmania rain can always occur.

AU Australia