Yosemite National Park is one of the most scenic and popular destinations in California, attracting millions of visitors every year. If you are planning to visit this amazing place, here are some tips and information to help you make the most of your trip.
Best Time to Visit Yosemite National Park
Best time to visit Yosemite depends on your preferences and activities. The park is open all year round, but some areas and facilities may be closed or limited depending on the season and weather conditions. Generally, spring and fall are the most pleasant seasons, with mild temperatures, fewer crowds, and beautiful colors.
Spring is also the best time to see the waterfalls, as they are at their peak due to the snowmelt. Summer is the busiest and hottest season, with many visitors flocking to the valley and the high country.
Need to make reservations well in advance for lodging, camping, and some activities. Winter is the quietest and coldest season, with snow covering much of the park. To carry tire chains and check road conditions before you travel. Winter is a great time to enjoy skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating.
Yosemite National Park Entry Fees
To enter Yosemite National Park, you need to pay an entrance fee or have a valid pass. The entrance fee is $35 per vehicle, $30 per motorcycle, or $20 per person on foot, bicycle, horse, or non-commercial bus. The fee is valid for seven consecutive days.
Also purchase an annual pass for $70, which allows unlimited entry to Yosemite for 12 months from the date of purchase. Alternatively, you can buy an America the Beautiful pass for $80, which allows unlimited entry to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including all national parks, for 12 months from the date of purchase.
There are also some free entrance days throughout the year, such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, National Park Week, National Public Lands Day, and Veterans Day.
Reservations Yosemite National Park
Due to the high demand and limited capacity, some areas and activities in Yosemite require reservations. These include lodging, camping, wilderness permits, Half Dome permits, shuttle buses, tours, and special events. Make reservations online, by phone, or in person, depending on the availability and the type of reservation.
Things to Do Yosemite National Park
Planning to visit this amazing place, here are some of the things you can do:
Summit the iconic Half Dome: Half Dome is a granite dome that rises more than 4,700 feet above the valley floor and offers a challenging but rewarding hike. Need a permit, a good fitness level, and a lot of courage to climb the steep cables to the top, but the views are spectacular.
Experience the magic of El Capitan: El Capitan is one of the world’s largest granite monoliths and a mecca for rock climbers. Admire its sheer face from the valley floor, or join a guided climb to experience the thrill of scaling its walls.
See the Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View Lookout: Tunnel View is one of the most popular viewpoints in Yosemite, where you can get a panoramic view of the valley and its landmarks, such as Half Dome, El Capitan, and Bridalveil Fall. The lookout is located at the end of the Wawona Tunnel, along one of the main roads into the valley.
Drive Tioga Road: Tioga Road is a scenic route that crosses the park from east to west, passing through meadows, forests, lakes, and mountains. It is the highest road in California, reaching an elevation of 9,945 feet at Tioga Pass. Along the way, you can stop at various attractions, such as Olmsted Point, Tenaya Lake, Tuolumne Meadows, and Lembert Dome.
Photograph Yosemite Falls in spring: Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in North America, with a total drop of 2,425 feet. It consists of three sections: the Upper Fall, the Middle Cascades, and the Lower Fall. The best time to see the falls is in spring, when the snowmelt creates a powerful flow of water.
Stroll to Glacier Point lookout: Glacier Point is another stunning viewpoint in Yosemite, where you can see the valley, the high country, and the Sierra Nevada range. It is located about 30 miles from the valley, and you can drive or take a shuttle bus to get there.
Hike to Columbia Rock and beyond: Columbia Rock is a rock formation that offers a great view of the valley and the falls. It is located along the Yosemite Falls Trail, about a mile from the trailhead.
Bike to Mirror Lake: Mirror Lake is a seasonal lake that reflects the image of Half Dome and the surrounding cliffs. It is located at the base of Tenaya Canyon, about 2 miles from the valley. Rent a bike or bring your own and ride along the paved bike path to the lake. Hike or take a shuttle bus to the lake.
Yosemite National Park is a wonderful place to explore and enjoy nature, history, and culture. Whether you are looking for adventure, relaxation, or education, you will find something to suit your interests and needs.