Weather and Climate
Best time to travel
That depends on what you like the most: snowy winters, mild summers, animals, etc.
Yosemite National Park is open year-round (though some roads are closed due to snow from November through May or June). Is there a best time to visit Yosemite? It depends what you're looking for, and each season has its advantages.
Yosemite is always open, and you can enter or leave the park at any time (except for Hetch Hetchy Entrance, which is open approximately during daylight hours). No reservations are required (or available) to enter the park.
(April & May)
The perfect season for waterfalls!
Areas to visit: While Yosemite Valley and Wawona remain accessible by car all year, the Tioga and Glacier Point Roads remain closed due to snow, often until late May (see a list of opening dates since 1980). Tire chains sometimes are required even during spring. When they are, you should carry and know how to use them, regardless of the type of vehicle you are driving.
Climate: Highly variable, with sunny and relatively warm days, but still an occassional winter storm.
Yosemite Valley & Wawona (4,000 ft / 1,200 m): 69°F (21°C) / 39°F (4°C)
Rivers & Waterfalls: As warmer weather begins to melt the snow, even the smallest creeks are rushing with water. You may see many small, unnamed waterfalls and cascades all along the Valley rim. Larger creeks and rivers, along with the better known waterfalls, tend to reach peak runoff in May or June.
Wildflowers: It's too early for wildflowers in the park, though you might see California poppies and other species at lower elevations on your way to Yosemite. Redbud and dogwood also tend to bloom in May.
(June through September)
See lots of the park...and other visitors
Areas to visit: All areas of the park are usually accessible by car by late May or early June, although services along the Tioga Road often open a bit later in June.
Climate: Warm to hot, with occasional rain (usually as afternoon thundershowers, especially at the higher elevations).
Yosemite Valley & Wawona (4,000 ft / 1,200 m): 87°F (31°C) / 51°F (10°C)
Rivers & Waterfalls: Most of the water flowing in Yosemite comes from snowmelt in the high country, so runoff decreases during the dry summer. Peak runoff typically occurs in May or June, with some waterfalls (including Yosemite Falls) often only a trickle or completely dry by August. Other waterfalls, including Vernal, Nevada, and Bridalveil, run all year, however their flow can be very low by late summer.
Yosemite Valley & Wawona- Most blooming occurs in June, with redbud, Sierra onion, lupine, Mariposa lily, pentstemon, and flowering dogwood beginning in May.
Tuolumne Meadows- The season begins in late summer for subalpine flowers. Beginning around July, look for little elephant's heads, gentian, pentstemon, yarrow, and shooting stars.
(October & November)
See lots of the park, but few people
Areas to visit: All areas of the park usually remain open through October, and sometimes into November. However short-term closures may occur due to snow. Along the Tioga Road, services often are not available after September and overnight parking is not permitted after October 14th. Yosemite Valley and Wawona remain accessible by car all year, however tire chains may be required, depending on conditions.
Climate: Quite variable, with weather ranging from hot to cold, dry to rainy or snowy.
Yosemite Valley & Wawona (4,000 ft / 1,200 m): 54°F (12°C) / 35°F (2°C)
Rivers & Waterfalls: Water levels tend to be very low, with waterfalls (including Yosemite Falls) containing little or no water. Some waterfalls, including Vernal, Nevada, and Bridalveil, run all year, however their flow slows to a trickle by fall.
Fall colors: Yosemite is not known for having spectacular fall colors because most of the trees are evergreen. Still, big-leaf maples, black oaks, Pacific dogwoods, and other deciduous trees tend to be showy around mid-October.
(December through March)
A season of snow & solitude
Areas to visit: While Yosemite Valley and Wawona remain accessible by car all year, the Tioga Road is closed (usually by sometime in November). Once closed for the season, vehicles are not permitted between Crane Flat and Tioga Pass, including in the Tuolumne Meadows area. The road to Glacier Point is also closed (usually sometime in November). However from mid-December though early April, the Glacier Point/Badger Pass Road is plowed to the Badger Pass Ski Area where both downhill and cross-country skiing is popular. Tire chains are often required on park roads. When they are, you must carry and know how to use them, regardless of the type of vehicle you are driving.
Climate: Winter in Yosemite is snowy and cold, though sunny and chilly days are not uncommon.
Yosemite Valley & Wawona (4,000 ft / 1,200 m): 53°F (12°C) / 28°F (-2°C)
Rivers & Waterfalls: Water levels tend to be low, but once some snow and rain have fallen, Yosemite Falls begins flowing again (though not at springtime levels).
Climate and Temperatures
Check the National Park Service Website, see below the weblink, for current road conditions and overall park conditions.
Weather can change quickly!
Average Temperatures & Precipitation for Yosemite Valley (4,000 feet / 1,220 m)
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