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Yosemite in May (Early vs. Late)

Travelling to and visiting Yosemite National Park. How to get there, what to see or do, and other Yosemite trip advice.

Moderators: Wickett, dan

Yosemite in May (Early vs. Late)

Postby Kris » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:09 am

I've been thinking about visiting Yosemite in early May, but now I'm wondering if spring snow is a yearly thing, deterring hikes up Half Dome or access to the backcountry hikes? What are some of the limitations to visiting in the first half of May versus the second half of May? Are there shuttles at that time? I really want access to the whole park, but want to avoid high season onslaught of vacationing families and heat in June/July/August. Thanks.
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Re: Yosemite in May (Early vs. Late)

Postby dan » Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:31 pm

The Half Dome cables are often up by Memorial Day (no guarantees!). There's usually a lot of spring snow in May.

I recommend early June, before school is out and when the water is high. Late May is second best.

The Valley shuttles operate year around. The Tuolumne shuttles are summer only--definitely not May. The Wawona shuttle opens early June.

Avoid Memorial Day weekend at all cost. This is the most popular weekend of the year for Yosemite.

All these dates are subject to seasonal and operational variations--there just a rule of thumb based on my personal experience.
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Re: Yosemite in May (Early vs. Late)

Postby Wickett » Sun Feb 22, 2009 2:10 am

Kris wrote:I really want access to the whole park, but want to avoid high season onslaught of vacationing families and heat in June/July/August. Thanks.

I love September for all access. You do not have the heavy water flow, but the lack of bugs, people, and easier availibility of permits make it attractive.

One especially wonderful thing that is unique to the lower water flow is sliding down the cascade that is in front of Moraine Dome and the one from Lost Valley into Echo Valley. Both are natural waterslides, smooth granite into a deep pool with a great view to cap it off.

*Of course use caution and comon sense, you are in the wilderness without an easy evac route.*
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