Add Your Heading Text Here

The Best Season For Visiting Yosemite?

Five reasons why Fall is the greatest season of all.

When assessing the best time of year to visit Yosemite, a case can be made for every season. Waterfalls in Spring, alpine lakes in Summer, and snow-covered cliffs of Winter make stiff competition for Autumn, but any seasoned visitor may you—Fall is actually the best time to visit Yosemite. To help you decide when to plan your trip, here are five reasons why, some say, Fall is the greatest season of all.

1. The crowds go home.

Mid-August marks the return of the school year, and with that, a slimming of the crowds. With Yosemite’s most popular season—summer—fading into the rear view, the busses thin, international travel wanes, and annual park visitors dwindle. Visitation decreases to a more enjoyable level for everyone, and about the only demographic of traveler to increase is the rock climbers, who come from around the world to take advantage of Autumn’s prime conditions. That brings us to our next point…

Tommy Caldwell, an El Cap savant and avid fan of Fall, clings to his favorite fabled big wall above Yosemite Valley.

2. The rock climbers come out.

Fall is a fantastic season for rock climbing in Yosemite. Temperatures cool, conditions improve, the rock seems grippier, and the crowds go home. For a climber, there’s no better season in the park and for a casual observer (especially one with binoculars!), climbing makes an awesome spectacle from the valley below. Visitors in this season are known to spend hours on end lounging in El Cap meadow, marveling up at dozens of rock climbers hanging thousands of feet in the sky. Bonus points if you spot Alex Honnold!

3. The colors ignite.

Yosemite captures the essence of Fall as much as anywhere in California, and as the dogwood and maple leaves turn and drop, Yosemite Valley ignites into a lively display of color. Walking along the Merced River, tangerines, canaries, crimsons, and scarlets replace the usual shades of green that line the banks, leaves falling and wafting into into the swift-moving water. Fall’s colorful light show rivals the beauty of any season.

While Fall may not be the season most known for waterfalls, it’s known to put on an excellent display. Yosemite Falls, mid-Autumn.

4. The weather cools.

The season sandwiched by summer and winter has the best of both worlds. Autumn starts warm by day, cool by night, with crisp, clear in the mornings, and often eventful weather later in the day. While many days open with bluebird skies, afternoon weather varies drastically across Autumn in the Sierra. By mid-afternoon the sunshine can eclipse with billowing clouds, giving way to spectacular thunderstorms. It’s an exciting time of year for weather.

5. Shoulder season discounts.

Many of the local businesses, hotels, and guide services offer discounts during these months in order to encourage people to enjoy the beauty of the Fall – including Lasting Adventures! Sign up for our newsletter to get periodic updates about our current offerings and find out about new programs and adventures we will offer.


Trips by Destination

Trips by Type

Camping Programs
Lodge-Based Programs