Spring is one of the most remarkable times to visit Yosemite and the surrounding foothills. The temperature is mild; the waterfalls are flowing at full force and the hills are dotted with colorful wildflowers such as lupines and poppies. It’s also a perfect time to enjoy this region before the busy summer season begins. We have made your trip planning easy by providing you our best guide to Yosemite’s most dreamy season: Spring!
Yosemite Falls lunar rainbow is also called a “moonbow”
Spring is when the snow starts melting and the waterfalls are flowing at their peak. Come early in the season to see the ephemeral falls that are typically dry by the time summer arrives. Among these brief, but stunning attractions, are Horsetail Fall and Ribbon Fall. Yosemite’s most iconic waterfall, Yosemite Falls, whose multiple cascades can be seen from numerous places around the valley, leaves onlookers speechless. Don’t miss Yosemite Falls “moonbow”, also known as a lunar rainbow, visible on a clear spring night with a full moon.
While the waterfalls in Yosemite are world famous, it’s the unique wildflowers that take your breath away. Wildflowers appear according to elevation, with earliest blooms starting in April at the lowest elevations and gradually emerge at the highest elevations as late as July. The first displays at low elevations are dramatic bursts of tufted poppies, spider lupines, and redbud, bursting out along the Highway 140 corridor of the Merced River. While plenty of sightseeing can be done by the roadside, plan a hike at Hite Cove to stroll through fields of wildflowers.
Poppies emerge in large masses in the Merced River Canyon.
By May, Yosemite National Park has scores of delicate white dogwoods blooming all over the valley floor. Climbing out of the valley, especially along the alpine Highway 41 route, fortunate visitors may even find snow plants emerging from a frosty slumber. For a less travelled hike, check out the Chilnualna Falls hike in Wawona and enjoy the dense forests of southern Yosemite and for a chance to spot a snow plant with its hypnotic, blood-red fronds.
Travel Tip: Drive slow as this is also the time of year when mule deer and American black bears are out foraging with their young
A mule deer forages in a meadow in Yosemite.
Spring is also the best time of the year for outdoor activities – to get out and explore the landscape by hiking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, golfing or even fishing. Plan to whitewater raft the Merced River Canyon. Inquire at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite for a full range of spring activities such as guided nature hikes, archery lessons, stargazing tours, climbing wall, a guided evening flashlight hike and more. Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite is nestled in the Sierra National Forest, just two miles from Yosemite National Park, making it a great basecamp for Yosemite’s most alluring attractions and all the conveniences you would expect from a luxury resort property. You could even call it luxploration!
Mountain biking in southern Sierra
Our top tip: For an excellent Yosemite stay, spend your day sauntering through fields of wildflowers and viewing this year’s epic waterfalls. After a full day of adventures, book a much-needed spa treatment at the Ascent Spa at the Tenaya Lodge. If you’re bringing the kids, Tenaya has you covered with a Kids Camp, to keep them occupied while you unwind.
Tenaya Lodge has pet-friendly and family friendly packages, and amazing spa specials and packages, so check here for the one that’s best for you.
Vernal Falls is one of the most popular hikes in late spring.
Hiking Tip: Hiking is one of the best ways to explore Yosemite any time of the year. With more than 800 miles of trails there is a hike for every fitness level and interest, whether you are looking for Pet-friendly, easy hikes like Mirror Lake or challenge yourself with a strenuous hike such as Upper Yosemite Falls.
So … it’s finally spring time! Check out live conditions of Yosemite on our webcams and be inspired to book your trip today!
Content Sponsored by Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite.