Visiting Yosemite in the Fall — September and October
Fall is our favorite season in Yosemite. The crowds depart the Valley, including families return home with children for school. We always feel like the Valley has been liberated, with the quiet magic of the forest returning. Just step a little bit off the trail and you are quickly in your own private Yosemite . The weather is crisp but the sun is usually shining. Trails are free of snow making high country adventures possible. And, you can find a parking place again!
As rock climbers, our clan even has a special name for the season — ROCK-tober . Lower temperatures make it easier for climbers’ fingers and feet to stick to the rock. Days are just long enough for adventure and the temperature for moving over the rock is not too hot, not too cold, but ahhhh… just right.
Fall attractions include the changing colors, for photography or simple admiration, hiking in areas that present a snow covering in spring but are unpleasantly hot in summer, the annual parkwide public service event Yosemite Facelift , and the migration of climbers to the Valley, including El Capitan. Look through a telescope at climbers ascending in El Capitan Meadow or try it out a little rock climbing yourself, maybe with the world-class guides at Yosemite Mountaineering School .
The only downside we can think of at all to visiting Yosemite in the fall is that waterfalls will not be running. Otherwise, we find it quite perfect, which is why October is our favorite month of the year.
Uncrowded, mostly sunny weather without the intense heat, no mosquitos, more parking spaces, access to high places, great hiking, great rock climbing, fall colors.
Most waterfalls will not run at all in the fall, or if they do, just a trickle. It’s a little chilly in the mornings and evenings throughout Yosemite, and especially at higher elevations, including our homes at 5500 feet. Bring an insulated “puffy” coat, a hat and a scarf and enjoy the comfort and style of your fall outdoor wear.