National Parks Tips

Best time to visit Yosemite for fall colors

fall colors next to a river in and mountains If you’re chasing beautiful fall colors in Yosemite National Park, the best time to visit is towards the end of October when the reds, oranges, and yellows are likely in full display. Yosemite National Park is filled with evergreen trees, but the fall colors come from the aspens, dogwood, sugar maples, big leaf maples, black oaks, deer brush, and white alder trees.

The fall colors vary from year to year but typically appear during the last half of October and last through the first winter storms around the beginning of December.

Visiting Yosemite in the Fall is a great choice as you will be able to experience the park as the seasons are changing as you see the humbling granite peak Half Dome in the distance, the gargantuan El Capitan, and the various other granite peaks.

Can I visit Yosemite in October?

For those of you thinking to visit the national park in October for the fall colors, Yosemite national park is open 365 days a year 24 hours per day, so yes you can visit the park in October. October is a great time to visit the park as there will be cooler temperatures, less park visitors, and the beginning of the fall foliage.

The average temperatures in October range with a low of 41 to a high of 72, so be sure to bring a jacket! October on average only has about 3 days of rain, so bring a rain jacket just in case. October is surprisingly still a busy month with an average of 558,443 visitors to the park on average during 2017-2019.

Are there waterfalls in Yosemite in October?

The massive Yosemite waterfalls are in full display in the spring as the snow melts. The towering waterfalls are raging all the way through summer with their absolute peak between May and June. By the end of August the colossal Yosemite Falls is likely a stream or has unfortunately dried out waiting for snow build up. If you’re going to visit the park to see the waterfalls, Fall is not an ideal time to see the falls. I recommend visiting the park in the Spring or start of Summer time to see the beauty of the waterfalls at full force.

Is October a good time to go to Yosemite?

yellow trees in between mountains

October is a a fantastic time to visit Yosemite. October is the start of the fall colors, there will be slightly less people out on the trails, more lodging available, and temperatures will be much cooler compared to summer months. Yosemite is open 365 days a year, so you do not have to worry about park closures during October.

Where should I go in Yosemite in the fall?

grass and trees next to mountain peak

Yosemite National Park is absolutely gorgeous during the fall with the sprinkles of yellow, reds, and oranges scattered throughout the various trees. If you are going to see the beautiful fall spectrum the best places to go are:

  • Tuolomne Meadows
  • Glacier Point
  • Lower Yosemite Valley

These areas have the most dense congregation of trees with fall colors and will offer stunning views of Yosemite.

I would suggest avoiding hikes to Lower Yosemite Falls, Upper Yosemite Falls, Vernal Falls, or any other waterfall hike as they will have likely dried up in the fall and you will just be staring at a flat granite wall.


giant granite peak half dome in yosemite national park

Situated in Northern California, Yosemite National Park features sweeping views of Yosemite Valley, grand granite peaks, remarkable wild life such as bears, deers, and plenty of squirrels. and an endless number of hiking trails. Visiting Yosemite in the fall is a splendid choice as the natural beauty mixed in with the yellows, reds, and oranges is just magical!