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'Skógafoss! With a stunning 60m drop it's one of the biggest and most impressive waterfalls in Iceland.

Skógafoss! An astonishing waterfall in Iceland. Read on and learn about the best time to visit, how to avoid the crowds and more must-know tips.

Season Overview

Skókafoss is an excellent year-round destination. However, the best time to visit depends on what you’re looking for. Less crowds and cooler conditions or pleasant temperatures with the downside of a packed and crowded place? Read our season overview:

Winter / Early Spring (November - April)

Although winter conditions can already occur in October, it’s usually November/December when heavier rain, strong winds, more fog and especially snowfall and ice are coming to Iceland’s south coast. It’s getting colder in winter months but not as cold as many visitors think. Average high temperature during the coldest months (December, January, February, March) is 3°C / 37°F. Be careful at the base of the falls, as it’s often covered with ice between November and April. Also keep in mind that days are short in winter. Between mid-November and the end of January there are only 4-6 hours of daylight on average. That’s important to know in case you want to photograph the waterfall: Sunset - Sunrise Reykjavik The great advantage in winter: It’s definitely less crowded. However, even in winter it can be a little busier at popular Skogafoss sometimes.

Late Spring / Summer / Early Fall (May - October)

The pleasant temperatures start in late May. On a warm summer in July or August day temperatures can even climb up to 20°C at times. Average daily sunshine in July/August is 5-6 hours. The perfect months terms of mild temperatures months are June, July and August. Great shoulder months for a visit without the harsher winter conditions as well less crowds and cheaper rates are May and September/October. July and August are the months when it gets very crowded with the highest rates for hotels and flights.


Avoiding the Crowds

Due to its popularity it’s usually very busy at Skógafoss, even more so in peak summer months. Tour busses, many cars, people to the falls and back from the parking lot. However, while some complain about the crowds, other visitors say it doesn’t feel too crowded, even during high season.There is definitely plenty of free parking, which means you don’t have to worry about getting a parking lot, even in July or August. Also the climb to the top is not too crowded since a good portion of the visitors stay at the base area. On the other hand, it’s a different experience to enjoy such a stunning waterfall with less people in general. The well-known way to dodge the crowds is visiting in the cooler months with less daylight. Although less crowded, you won’t experience real solitude at Skógafoss in winter, it’s just too popular. Thus, two other great options to avoid tourist crowds are:

  • Visit Early/Late:  Usually it’s a great idea to get to the famous waterfalls in Iceland very early to avoid the crowds. The reason: Most visitors and especially the tour busses usually don’t arrive before 10 a.m. However, at Skógafoss the early mornings can be busy in summer with campers due to the very close campground. Visiting later in the day? In general, after 5 p.m. crowds start to dissipate. Some even visit at night for real solitude. Tip: We wouldn’t drive directly from a hotel in Reykjavik. Rather check hotels close by (Skogar Hotels). They are pricier than in Reykjavik but it's worth it to stay closer. Then you can visit this waterfall twice: During daytime/morning and then later or even at night. That way you dodge the crowds enjoy walking around, take photos during different light conditions. Trust us, it’s 100% worth it!  After your second visit or on the next morning you can continue to Seljalandsfoss and still have plenty of time. As recommend: It’s not a good idea to visit both waterfalls on one day starting from Reykjavik and returning there.
  • Climb to the Top / Walk Along the Path: Even if you visit in peak season and the base area is packed: Climb the 400 stairs and then walk the path along the river. Many visitors stay at the base area, some walk to the top and only very few continue walking the path along the river. Check the details about this great path in the text below (How to Visit)

Weather and Climate

The south coast and it’s waterfalls experience cold winters (around freezing) and mild summer months with temperatures around 11°C (52°F). However, Iceland’s south coast experiences a milder climate in winter than you might think. This is due to the Gulf Stream that flows along the west and south coast, bringing pleasant air from the Caribbean. The summers are short with only 3 months where temperatures are considered warm. Regardless of the season: Weather in Iceland can change very quick. Always be prepared and pack an extra sweater as well as rain gear. Please note, that the temperature chart below shows the average high temps from a weather station (Stórhöfði) which is located 40 km from Skogafoss and on a small island. Degrees can vary at the waterfall.

Waterfall
IS Iceland

Yosemite National Park! Mesmerizing and spectacular views! Read on for our complete season guide updated in 2019 or scroll down for tips about the most breathtaking places: Half Dome, Lower Yosemite Falls, Glacier Point ,read our 3 Must-Know Lodging Options Guide and the 9 Top Tips before visiting below.

Special Tip: If you're coming from San Francisco and love it hassle free, take a look this excellent day tour: San Francisco to Yosemite - Small Group Tour. Outstanding guides, stunning experience, and you get picked up and dropped off again at your hotel in San Francisco! Quote from a recent visitor: 'Brilliant guides very knowledgeable, had a brilliant day, amazing place to see , absolutely outstanding!'

The best sweet spot months with mostly pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds are mid-May until early-June and late September until mid-October. July and August are ridiculously busy. However, if you can only visit in summer, we have great 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:


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. Itbegins 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. In late fall, your best bet is Wawona and Yosemite Valley, but even there you may require tire chains.

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 usally 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.

 

WINTER (December, January, February, March)

If solitude is what you seek, winter will be a treat.

Weather: 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. 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 make 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.

 

How to Avoid the Crowds

Your best bet to avoid the crowds is to visit in spring, late autumn, or winter. However, even in summer you can dodge the tourist crowds. Follow our tips below to get the most out of your visit. 


Get up early: 
There is nothing more spectacular than a Yosemite sunrise, and if you can make yourself get up early, you will essentially have the place (almost) to yourself. Take advantage of the morning's first light, and your reward will be some phenomenal photos. Park rangers suggest starting before 9 a.m. Although not packed, very popular places can already get busier between 9 and 10 a.m. in the peak months. The earlier you arrive, the better.

Stay up late: 
If you are not an early riser, you might prefer the big sky at night. Under the light of the moon and millions of stars, you can't help but feel amazed at what nature has to offer. The park hosts free astronomy lessons, but to truly avoid the crowds, try to find a more remote spot instead. These night sky views are unforgettable. Crowds start to dissipate after 5 p.m.

Venture away from the main tourist sites: 
Sure, they are likely the reason you chose Yosemite, but the same is true for everyone else. Consider a visit to the High Sierra, where there are no crowds and expansive views. This makes a great location for a multi-day hike, or a home base for camping.

Step out of your comfort zone: 
Or your vehicle. Most tourists visit the park in their cars which can create traffic jams and on top of that, you only get a glimpse into what Yosemite has to offer. Park your car and take a hike instead. A little mountain fresh air is good for the soul, and the best part is, the views only get better as you go. Trails range in difficulty and distance, so be sure to consider your physical ability and time frame as you plan. Avoid the Mist Trail unless you arrive first thing in the morning, as it is one of the most popular, and does see a lot of crowd action as the day wears on.

Pack a cooler: 
Pull off somewhere special to enjoy a private picnic. You will thank yourself when you see the lines at the restaurants. Not only do you have the freedom to choose when and where you stop, you have full control of your food choices. Park dining options are great in a pinch, but tend to offer mediocre food, for pretty steep prices.


Yosemite Firefall (Winter / See Tips Above)


Firefall by Ken Xu, CC BY, cropped

 

Hiking
US United States
5

Douglas Apsley National Park declared a National Park in 1989 after public protest against clearing local forests for the paper manufacture.

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.

Hiking
AU Australia
5

The impressive Krimml waterfalls are the highest in Europe, the fifth largest in the world located in the National Park "Hohe Tauern" in Austria.

The waterfall and trails are open all year. You have to pay an entrance fee from mid-April/ May until end of October daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. last admission at 4.30 p.m.

An average of 450,000 m³ of water plunges down the falls a day in summer which is 5.6 m³ per second. The waterfall is at its peak late evening due to the midday melted water of the glacier.

Best sunlight for the waterfalls at noon. The waterfall has only a fraction of water in winter.

In winter, you walk at your own risk and it can be a bit difficult to hike to the topmost part; the lowest part is mostly possible. Every Wednesday a guided torch hike is offered at 8.30 p.m. Meeting point is the bandstand in Krimml.

Crowds:
It is a very popular natural spectacle with more than 400.000 visitors each year therefore very crowded at Eastern and in summer – viewer people in the morning. Very special in winter.

Waterfall
AT Austria
5

The Kauri walk is an alternative if you are limited in time to see the biggest kauris in the north in the Waipoua Kauri Forest.

Coromandel is a year-round destination with a mild climate. The summer is the best time with pleasant temps but also the busiest time of the year. However, Waiau and the Road 309 are not much trafficked due to the remote location. 

Weather

The precipitation on the Coromandel peninsula is sometimes significant even in summer. The weather is influenced by the mountain range and the sea. The "driest" months are January to April. The warmest months are December to March mostly between 20 to 25°C, April is a bit cooler but still nice. Most precipitation during winter with its peak in July which is concurrently the coldest month. The winter temps can be 10 to 12°C and drop until 6°C. Frost is not common.

Crowds

Due to the narrow, winding, gravel Road 309 and the remote location, it's rare to experience it busy.

Forest
NZ New Zealand
5

First of all, if you like to hike to the falls; don't leave any valuables in the car! Car break-ins happened recently. The falls are located in the northern part of the Waitakere Ranges.

Unfortunately, parts of the Waitakere Ranges got closed due to the Kauri Dieback disease in May 2018. Also, the trail to the Fairy Falls is closed at the moment. Check out which trails in the Waitakere Ranges are open and which ones are closed. PDF Hiking Trails Waitakere More information about the disease, and the status of closures for hikes and campgrounds can be found here.

If you travel to the famous Piha Beach, don't miss this marvelous rainforest and the Fairy Falls. The falls are most impressive after heavy rainfall, but hiking is much for fun in the drier season with pleasant temps from November until April. Important; if you like to hike to the falls don't leave any valuables in the car!

Weather

Warmest and driest months are during summer from December to March with pleasant temps. Coldest months in winter from June to August. Most precipitation during winter but rain already starts in May with its peak in July. Anyhow, moderate to significant rainfall can always occur. 

Crowds

It is a popular trail and easily accessible. Anyhow if you have any mobility issues, it might be too steep to get to the falls. Especially during summer; the peak season and at weekends more people walk this trail. Nevertheless, this hike is still not overrun. Less busy in March, April and November with cooler temps but still lovely.

Forest
NZ New Zealand