Tips For Visiting Yosemite In The Summer

Chelsea GonzalesMay 22, 2024

Tips For Visiting Yosemite In The Summer

It’s no secret that Yosemite is one of the country’s very best natural wonderlands. From towering granite cliffs to lush meadows and cascading waterfalls, this place is absolutely magical, and Yosemite in summer is especially spectacular.  

That said, planning to visit Yosemite in summer requires careful consideration and preparation. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to plan an unforgettable adventure in Yosemite National Park.

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Why Visit Yosemite in Summer

Warm weather and clear skies make summer an excellent time to visit Yosemite. The waterfalls are at their most spectacular during June, and by July, all roads and trails tend to be free of snow and ready to use. 

Many people enjoy paddling and swimming in the park during the summer months. Of course, the greenery is also much appreciated, as it makes the beauty of this amazing place even more astounding. 

Must-See Yosemite Attractions

Visiting Yosemite in summer means all trails and attractions should be open and available for you to see. A handful of must-see attractions absolutely need to be on your Yosemite to-do list and are well worth fighting the crowds to visit. 

The following are, in our opinion, the key things to see while in the park:

  • Yosemite Valley is the park’s most famous area, known for iconic landmarks like El Capitan, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls.
  • Glacier Point offers breathtaking views of the valley and surrounding peaks, accessible by car or via a strenuous hike.
  • Mariposa Grove has hundreds of giant sequoias, including the famous Grizzly Giant and California Tunnel Tree.
Yosemite in summer makes for iconic photo shots

Avoiding Crowds While Visiting Yosemite in Summer

As you might have guessed, in addition to being absolutely stunning, summer is Yosemite’s busiest season. The awesome weather in summer, in conjunction with the fact that kids are out of school, means there are enormous crowds around every corner. 

We recommend braving the crowds to check out the must-see sights listed above. That said, we also recommend working some less popular spots into your itinerary and finding ways to beat the Yosemite crowds whenever possible. 

Try the following options for a more peaceful, less packed experience while visiting Yosemite in summer: 

  • Visit during shoulder season. June–August are the busiest months in the park. Consider visiting in May or September for enjoying lower crowd levels as well as pretty weather. 
  • Hike a lesser known trail. West Valley Loop, Merced Grove Trail, and Inspiration Point should all be less crowded than other areas. 
  • Go rock climbing. The park has plenty of secluded rock climbing areas, and the views make every climb worthwhile. 
  • Get out on the water. Summer is the only time that is warm enough for water play in Yosemite. Paddling, fishing, and swimming are available in many places, and finding a secluded body of water is usually possible, making this a great way to escape crowds. 
  • Go out at night. There are far fewer people in the park after dark, and the amazing night skies Yosemite has to offer mean nighttime is one of the best times to be there. Just make sure to pack a flashlight!
  • Stay off the beaten path. Staying outside the park will help you escape the crowds at the end of each day so you can rest and recuperate before spending another day surrounded by fellow outdoor enthusiasts. Outdoorsy Yosemite is a great pick for lodging outside of the park!

Yosemite Accommodation Options

There are several wonderful places to stay when visiting Yosemite in summer. The park itself is home to several lodges and campgrounds. Unfortunately, all of the in-park lodging options are booked many months in advance, making it impossible for last-minute travelers to snag a place to stay. On top of that, the onsite Yosemite campgrounds are very rustic, meaning no RV hookups are available. 

The solution? Outdoorsy Yosemite. As mentioned above, this offsite campground is the perfect escape for the crowds that flood Yosemite in summer. On top of that, this campground has enough sites that availability is likely even if you’re booking closer to your travel dates. 

We love that Outdoorsy Yosemite features large, level, full-hookup sites. The swimming pool, clean bathhouses, and laundry rooms are also welcome, especially after a long day of adventuring in the heat and dirt. 

Don’t want to drive an RV to Yosemite? Not to worry! Outdoorsy Yosemite also has cabins available for rent, and they are absolutely adorable and fully stocked with everything you might need for a comfortable stay. 

Yosemite summer waterfall

Yosemite Summer Safety Tips 

Obviously, you will want to stay safe during your outdoor adventure. Summer in Yosemite is relatively cool, but the usual threats of sunburn and dehydration still exist. Additionally, it’s important to prepare for weather changes, the potential for becoming lost, etc. 

Here are some of our top tips for staying safe in Yosemite in summer:

  • Stay hydrated and wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect against the sun at high elevations.
  • Be prepared for sudden changes in weather, including afternoon thunderstorms in the summer months.
  • Carry a map, plenty of water, and essential supplies whenever venturing into the backcountry.
  • Help preserve Yosemite’s natural beauty for future generations by practicing “Leave No Trace” principles.
  • Pack out all trash, stay on designated trails, and respect wildlife and other visitors.
  • Follow fire regulations and never leave a campfire unattended.

Yes, summer in Yosemite is seriously incredible, and with these tips and a little bit of planning, you’re sure to have an amazing time there this hot season. So book your campsite, pack your bags, rent an RV, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime in Yosemite National Park!

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