Of course Yosemite is amazing all year round, but there are a number of reasons why you may want to choose the fall for your visit. As with any national park, make sure you check (and recheck) to be sure any hiking trails or other areas you really want to visit are both open and accessible. Here are the 5 top reasons to visit Yosemite in the fall.
#1 Less Crowded
If you have been planning to visit, then you may have seen articles and posts describing how crowded the Park is in the summer months. However, after Labor Day and through the beginning of November, the crowds start to thin out. That means the hiking trails will be less crowded. In fact, if you visit during the week, you may find yourself the only person on some of the trails at times.
#2 Perfect Weather
Did you know that there is less chance of rain during September and October than during the summer months? What’s more, the temperature is perfect for hiking and other outdoor activities. You’ll enjoy warm days and cool nights. Here are the ranges:
- September: days average in low 80’s, nights in mid 50’s
- October: days average in low 70’s, nights in mid 30’s
- November: days average in low 50’s and nights in low 30’s
Mother Nature isn’t always totally predictable, so make sure that you check the weather just before leaving for your activities. There can be snow in October or November, which causes closure of some roads or slippery conditions. And no matter what the weatherman says, ALWAYS bring sunscreen, sunglasses, bug spray, water and a jacket.
#3 Easier Parking
Along with the lessening crowds comes more parking availability. This means that you may be able to park closer to where you want to start your hike. The result is time saved because you are both avoiding the wait for the shuttle and the circuitous shuttle route. So you have more time to do what you came to Yosemite to do! When planning, check to make sure the shuttles are still operating (should you choose to use them).
#4 Available Accommodations
Unlike the summer months when reservations must be made months in advance, the fall may offer more availability because there are fewer visitors. This typically applies more to weekdays than weekends. Be especially aware of several dates when entrance to the Park is free: September 25, 2021 (National Public Lands Day) and November 11, 2021 (Veterans Day).
#5 Fall Color
Yosemite is not necessarily known for spectacular fall color, mostly because many of the trees are evergreens. However, the Yosemite Valley, and Wawona Meadows in particular, have black oaks, bigleaf maples and dogwoods with beautiful fall color. There will be plenty of instagram-worthy shots!
After September 30, 2021, reservations for driving into Yosemite are no longer required. (Note: reservations were never required for entrance through Hetch Hetchy). If you need help planning your trip, please call us! We also have packages with our affiliate, Balanced Rock, that offer guided tours into the park. We want to make sure you experience and love all of these 5 top reasons to visit Yosemite in the fall.