Ready for a fresh outlook? For that energizing sense of renewal, only spring can bring? Then head up to Yosemite Mariposa where the snowmelt-fed Merced River flows fast and true, where spring wildflowers explode in a royal palette of oranges & blues, and the waterfall mist dances in the warm sunlight as a yearly rite of passage. Yosemite in March, April or May is not to be missed.
After what feels like the longest winter in memory, we could all use a reset. With the much-anticipated debut of nature’s biggest show just around the corner, there’s no better time to visit Yosemite National Park and get a jump on the rejuvenating spectacle of spring and plan your visit to Yosemite Mariposa today. Read on to discover where to stay in Yosemite in spring, what to do in Yosemite in March, what to expect from the weather in Yosemite in April, where to hike in Yosemite in May, and more!
With 1,500 square miles of diverse beauty that ranges in elevation from 900 to 12,000 feet in Mariposa County, and another 1,200 square miles of Yosemite National Park, the stages are many and they’re all set for your spring getaway to Yosemite Mariposa. Here are just a few activities to inspire your visit. (You can find even more ideas to fill 5-days of exploring in this Yosemite in Spring itinerary.)
There are many amazing views of Yosemite’s spring waterfalls. (Pictured: on the trail to Upper Yosemite Fall. Photo: Chris Migeon)
The pinnacle of spring activities in Yosemite National Park, there are dozens of waterfalls ranging from hundreds to thousands of feet that burst with snowmelt as they plummet from the Park’s granite monoliths. Best waterfalling: Yosemite Valley and Hetch Hetchy.
With over 1,500 species of wildflowers, Yosemite Mariposa covers the color spectrum with everything from iconic orange California Poppies to blue lupine and scarlet monkey flower. The show begins in March at the lower elevations on the western edge of the county, and unfurls eastward towards higher elevations as the temperatures warm and the snow melts. Trailside or roadside, not to be missed! Best wildflowering: Hite Cove, Wapama Falls, and Wawona Meadow.
Enjoy a spring hike in Yosemite. Pictured: The Mist Trail just below Vernal Fall. Photo: Patrick Pike
Spring hiking in Yosemite Mariposa follows one simple rule — if the trail is clear of snow, it’s guaranteed beautiful. That means know your elevation, weather conditions, and don’t forget to bring your camera! Best nature strolling: just about anywhere (other than Tioga Road, which stays closed until late Spring)
Keep your eyes open to catch a glimpse of Yosemite’s wildlife.
From bears to birds, and fish to foxes, Yosemite Mariposa plays host to nearly 100 mammal species and over 250 species of our feathered friends. For those that hibernate, spring means it’s time to wake up and eat! Learn all about Yosemite’s wildlife by seeing it for yourself! Best wildlifing: Stockton Creek Preserve, Merced River, Cook’s Meadow.
Immerse yourself in authentic gold-country history at the Mariposa History Center.
A spring shower about to pay an unexpected visit? Not a problem. Yosemite Mariposa has plenty of indoor intrigue with its Mother Lode of museums. Learn about Native American history, ecology and the Gold Rush just to name a few. Best history buffing: Northern Mariposa County History Center (Coulterville, CA), Yosemite Museum (Yosemite Valley), Mariposa Museum & History Center (Mariposa, CA).
History is everywhere in Mariposa County, you just need to know where to look. Learn about the museums, people and artifacts that can be learned about in our video series, Mariposa Gold. View the playlist on Youtube here and get a preview of the series with the video below.
Enjoy a delicious meal at the outdoor patio at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite.
Located on the eastern flank of the Great Central Valley — our nation’s breadbasket for fresh food and top flight wine — Yosemite Mariposa offers dining choices galore from salmon cake salad to smoked rib-eye, and portobello ravioli to lemon chicken. As the days warm, Yosemite Mariposa’s festive outdoor tables become the perfect venue to share travelers’ tales. Best foodie touring: so many restaurants to choose from!
The weather can be variable due to elevation, but always warming week-to-week with average springtime temperatures ranging from the low 60’s to the high 70’s in the town of Mariposa (≈ 2,000 foot elevation) and the high 50’s to the low 70’s in Yosemite Valley (≈ 4,000 foot elevation). Nights are cool, so wear layers, and be prepared for the occasional rain/snow shower. They rarely stick around for long!
When visiting Yosemite in March or April, keep in mind that Highway 120 East (also known as Tioga Pass) is usually closed during winter, and the road opens to Yosemite in May. The other 3 entrances to Yosemite (the South Entrance and the western Arch Rock and Big Oak Flat entrances) remain open year round, but snow-free roads aren’t guaranteed, so it’s recommended you carry chains in your car until at least mid-April. Check our road conditions page and weather resources for more information.
Try out some of Yosemite Mariposa County’s less traditional lodging options, like staying in a beautifully furnished Airstream trailer at AutoCamp.
The spectacle of spring in Yosemite Mariposa lures curious visitors from far & wide, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead if you want to visit Yosemite in March, April or May. The foundation of all memorable trips is booking your accommodations in advance. From world-class resorts to stream-side camping, from Airstream armadas at Autocamp to fully equipped vacation rentals, Yosemite Mariposa has the perfect lodging choices for you. Check out the tent cabins at Curry Village or the Yosemite Valley Lodge for family accommodations. As we like to say…book now, relax later!
The Beatles had it right when they do do do’d about the ice slowly melting and the smiles returning to our faces. As the days get longer, spring invites us to get out of the house, clear our minds, and welcome the start of a healthy year. Whether you’re coming up to sightsee or get out on the trail, let us help you with the legwork of getting your legs working!
Whether you’re looking for a peak challenge or just a few days to get away from the computer and relax and recharge, Yosemite Mariposa County has affordable and fun options for everyone.
Autumn in Yosemite Mariposa County is the season locals wait for all year for its fine weather and quiet forests. It’s a great time to get away to the mountains with the kids (or maybe just sneak off on your own!)
Choose to stay in historic hotels and lodging in Yosemite Mariposa County and experience this region’s legacy firsthand. Staying in these historic places makes you a part of their long-standing history, and adds a unique dimension to a visit to Yosemite Mariposa County.