Same great views, less people to share them with.
What’s the weather like?
Quite varied. We’ve visited in October and had warm, dry weather then returned a month later to snow. Weather can also turn on a dime overnight. The best rule of thumb for fall visits is to come prepared for anything. Always check the current conditions in Yosemite before you leave home.
What to do in Yosemite Valley
All areas of the park remain open through October, often into November. All bets are off if it snows, though, so be prepared for temporary road closures and/or the need for tire chains.
Water Levels: Water levels drop off significantly in fall, both in the rivers and waterfalls. Some falls have little or no water. Even year round falls slow to a trickle.
We find the lower water levels and cooler temperatures make for ideal bug-free rock skipping conditions.
Fall color: Yosemite isn’t known for its fall colors since many of the trees are evergreen. But there are maples, black oaks and dogwoods that put on a good show from late October through to the first snowfall.
Biking: Yosemite comes complete with some 12 miles of paved trails – which are much less crowded this time of year. Rental bikes are usually available through late fall.
Bus Tours: Several of the guided bus tours remain running through fall including the Valley Floor Tour, Glacier Point Tour and the Big Trees Tram Tour.
Hiking: The best way to truly experience Yosemite is on foot. Trails are cooler and less crowded in fall, and remain open for use. Trails are not maintained nor are they regularly patrolled; travel carefully and at your own risk.
Mule & Horseback Rides: Guided mule and horseback rides are available through fall. Two-hour, four-hour and all-day Yosemite rides are available. Children must be at least 7 years old and 44" tall.
Ranger & Interpretive Programs: Many of the amazing nature programs available to visitors during the summer are still operating come fall. Take a ranger-led walk, become a junior ranger, go stargazing or cozy up to a fireside storytelling. Check the latest Yosemite Guide for event listings.
Exploring Beyond Yosemite Valley in Fall
Although Yosemite Valley offers iconic views and plenty to do, there are several other spots worth checking out:
- Glacier Point: Glacier Point provides an overlook with an unforgettable view of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls and Yosemite’s high country. The road to it remains open through October or November.
- Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias: The Mariposa Grove (near Yosemite's South Entrance) contains about 500 mature giant sequoias. The road to get there is open through November.
- The Tioga Road: The 29-mile scenic drive between Crane Flat and Tuolumne Meadows takes you through forests and past meadows, lakes, and granite domes. Many turnouts offer broad and beautiful vistas. It’s accessible through sometime in November.
- Tuolumne Meadows: This large sub-alpine meadow flanked by breathtaking peaks remains accessible by car until some time in December.
- Wawona: This small town near Yosemite’s South Entrance is open year round. Take advantage of hiking trails or tour the Pioneer Yosemite History Center.