Visiting Yosemite in the Spring is a huge treat. It’s the ideal season for waterfalls, warmer weather, plentiful rivers and creeks, blooming flowers, reopened trails and roads, smaller crowds and inexpensive lodging. You’ll soon realize it’s pretty on, for being off-season.
1. Go Chase Some Waterfalls
Waterfalls and cascades are at their peak volume and power during the Spring season, thanks to the snow-melt. Did you know that three of the world’s tallest waterfalls are located inside Yosemite National Park? Yeah, we make all of the lists. Can your camera lens can handle the full 2,400 ft of Lower Yosemite Falls? While you try to take that perfect shot, make sure to bring water resistant/proof gear, as there will most likely be moisture in the air. A few great waterfall hikes include Chilnualna Falls, Bridalveil Falls, Nevada Falls, Upper Yosemite Falls and The Mist Trail (Vernal Falls). Don’t forget the seasonal Staircase and Ribbon Falls!
2. Enjoy the Raging Rivers and Creeks
Once again, thanks to the plentiful snow melt, the water in the area is certainly flowing, or just about raging in the area. Why not sit back and enjoy the ever-flowing streams, or take a ‘refreshing’ dip in a nearby water hole?
3. White Water Rafting
Every adventurist and thrill-seeker knows that raging rivers = great water rafting. This is a seasonal activity, and Spring is the perfect season. Whether you are a beginner or pro, whitewater rafting in the Merced River and Yosemite Valley range from levels 2-4, depending on the water conditions.
4. Stop and Smell the Wildflowers
You will most likely spot budding and blooming California poppies, Redbud, Hyacinth, Lupines, and Dogwood, especially in the Mariposa County Foothills. Did we mention you should pack your camera? Take a run through the colorful meadows and get your Instagram filters ready.
5. Take a Hike!
Hiking during spring is ideal, with little traffic, great weather (40-60 F), and reopened trails throughout Yosemite Valley, Hetch Hetchy and Wawona. In addition to the recommended waterfall hikes (see #1), we recommend the 13-mile Valley Floor Loop, because you will pass through or near Bridalveil and Yosemite Falls, the strong-flowing Merced River, as well as Half Dome, Three Brothers, Cathedral Spires and El Capitan.
In addition, in June of 2018, after three years and $40 million in restoration, the famous Mariposa Grove has re-opened! There is so much to explore under the giant Sequoias, which are unique to California. New highlights of the restored area? Wooden boardwalks over the sensitive wetlands, native plants, and improved hiking trails with interpretive signs and modern flush toilets. To get there, visitors will now park in a new lot approximately two-miles away, at the Southern entrance of the national park and take a shuttle to the entrance of the grove. Mind you, there will be parking accommodation for disabled visitors even during off-season.
6. Horseback Riding
Another way to explore and experience everything the park has to offer, and channel that inner early pioneer. Easy to challenging riding trails are available throughout the park for every rider to enjoy.
If you’re not feeling hiking, or horseback riding, then biking may be just the activity for you! There are over 12 miles of paved trails, specifically for biking, that are mostly flat in Yosemite Valley. Our favorite is the 12-mile loop that gives you a great feel and view of the area. Don’t forget your helmet!
Open from Spring to Fall, Yosemite Big Trees Lodge Golf Course has all of the greens you need (California joke)
9. Go Fish!
Stream and River fishing begins in late April, however, lakes and reservoirs are open all year-round. Make sure to follow all park fishing regulations and decontamination protocols. Want to share your fresh caught trout with us?
Spring is a great time to start anew, to sit and be calm with your thoughts. Why not do it at Artist Point? With one of the best overlooks of the park, it naturally places you in quiet and contemplative awe.
Stay nearby the action!
Our stunning Redwoods In Yosemite cabins are located at the Southern entrance of Yosemite, just a few miles from the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. Relaxing and private, these fully equipped vacation cabins border the wild and scenic Merced River, the historic Wawona swinging bridge and Chilnualna Falls (the second highest vertical drop waterfalls in Yosemite)! Our Event Center includes full use of the Fireside Room and adjacent deck, with state of the art audio and visual equipment and a catering kitchen. Many of our cabins are pet friendly, some feature spa tubs, and all have private decks with BBQ’s and upgraded linens for that, “Home Away from Home” experience.
Adventure insights and story: Christina P. Kantzavelos Buen Qamino
Photo credit: Nancy Robbins