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Private: Explore Yosemite with these Year Round Ideas

Yosemite National Park is a paradise for more than just nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers—people come from all over the world to stay at its historic hotels, tour local wineries, and enjoy the simple things, like stargazing, camping, and being among some of the oldest trees alive.

Although nearly 75% of visitors come to the park between May and October, there’s plenty to do, see, and experience year round. From winter sports to one-of-a-kind experiences you won’t find anywhere else, Yosemite is as exciting in the cold months as it is in its peak summer season. Whenever you decide to go, here are some things you shouldn’t miss:


Spring in Yosemite is a magical time when the snow begins to melt, and the park bursts into bloom. Some of the must-see spectacles during this season are the world-famous waterfalls in full force. The Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Fall, and Vernal Fall are all at their peak, making for spectacular views (and beautiful pictures). Hiking trails open up as the snow recedes, allowing visitors to explore the lower elevations, such as the iconic Yosemite Valley.


For everyone from professional photographers to people who just snap pictures for fun, the abundance of wildflowers in the meadows and the lush greenery make for stunning shots. Consider embarking on the Mirror Lake Loop Trail, where you can capture the reflection of Half Dome on the tranquil waters of the lake.


Summer in Yosemite brings warmer weather and an influx of outdoor enthusiasts eager to take advantage of the extended daylight hours. This is the ideal time for high-altitude adventures, including challenging hikes to the top of Half Dome or Glacier Point, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Camping is an essential Yosemite experience, and there are numerous campgrounds to choose from. Be sure to book well in advance, as they tend to fill up quickly during the peak season. Alternatively, explore the park's many lodging options, such as the historic Ahwahnee Hotel, a National Historic Landmark hotel in Yosemite Valley that’s been impressing visitors with its dining, decor and architecture since 1920.


As summer fades into autumn, in Yosemite National Park the leaves of deciduous trees, such as dogwoods and maples, turn brilliant shades of red, orange, and gold. The weather cools, and fewer crowds are at the Park, making it an excellent time for a more tranquil visit.


Hike the Mist Trail to witness the breathtaking spectacle of the Vernal and Nevada Falls surrounded by vibrant autumn hues. With cooler nights, fall is a great time to camp in Yosemite and spend some time around the campfire roasting marshmallows and appreciating the brightness of the stars. Additionally, autumn is the time for wildlife viewing, as animals prepare for winter. Keep an eye out for mule deer, black bears, and perhaps even a glimpse of the elusive bobcat.


Winter in Yosemite means snow-capped peaks and a serene atmosphere. While some roads and trails close due to snow, there are still plenty of activities to enjoy. Badger Pass Ski Area offers skiing and snowboarding opportunities for all skill levels, and guided snowshoe walks are available for those who want to explore the park's winter landscape at a slower pace.

Visitors will relish seeing the frozen beauty of Horsetail Fall, also known as the "Firefall," which appears to flow like molten lava when the setting sun illuminates the waterfall.


Celebrated annually since 1927, the renowned Bracebridge Dinner transforms The Ahwahnee Dining Room into a Renaissance-era hall filled with Christmas festivities. The evening is a one-of-a-kind experience that includes theater, music, and a multi-course, five-star dinner prepared by the hotel’s world-class chefs.

o matter what time of year you’re visiting Yosemite, Amtrak San Joaquins makes it easy to get into the park. When you take the train, your Yosemite Area Regional Transit System (YARTS) ticket is included! You can get to Yosemite by getting off the train at the Merced station and taking Route 15—a Thruway Bus serviced by YARTS—directly into Yosemite Valley.


Even without a car, you can still get around once in the Park! Just take the free Valley Shuttle, offering 19 stops throughout the Park. Shuttles run daily every 10 to 20 minutes, and they’re a great way to save on gas, meet other travelers and conveniently navigate the Park without having to worry about limited parking. Happy exploring! To read more about things to do in Yosemite click here. 

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