Travel tips you can trust
When to come
to Yosemite National Park
Early May and late September
Early May and late September The first period is the best all-around time to visit. The second is the next best.
May and early June
Yosemite National Park's waterfalls are most vigorous then. They typically dwindle to a trickle by late Summer and Fall.
Mid-May to mid-September
The lion's share of the three million annual visitors come in this period. During this peak tourist season, you will likely experience overwhelming crowds and traffic clogged roads. To make matters worse, middays in midsummer are typically hot (32°C or 90°F). If you do visit in the summer, try to avoid weekends and holidays - and see the principal sights early or late in the day when the heat and crowds are less severe.
Snow can be heavy, enough to close many roads. On the positive side, Yosemite becomes a winter wonderland.
It is about 970 meters (3200 feet) above the valley floor and offers a fabulous vista of the valley, Half Dome, and more. Glacier Point is my favorite lookout.
Camera-friendly views of Half Dome are seen from the valley floor level as you walk across Sentinel Bridge.
Seconds before you exit the tunnel on the main road heading into Yosemite, the valley suddenly comes into view and is artistically framed by the Wawona Tunnel's curved ceiling. This is a popular postcard shot and is most people's first view of the valley.