As one of our most well-known national parks, Yosemite spans almost 1,200 square miles in Northern California, and includes all types of natural wonders, including waterfalls, forests, valleys, and more.

 El Capitan, Yosemite National Park

Things to Do in Yosemite

Whatever outdoor pursuit you’re in the mood to attempt, Yosemite likely caters to it. With summer activities like biking, hiking, climbing, and horseback riding, and winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing, the park is a perfect year-round vacation destination. Plus, it’s open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so there’s truly no bad time to visit. However, certain times are better than others for flora, fauna, and scenery, so it can pay to be strategic if there’s something in particular that you want to see.

It may go without saying, but if you’re hoping to take in the flowing waterfalls or catch a glimpse of blooming wildflowers, you won’t see much of either in the dead of winter, or even the fall. Instead, plan your trip for late spring and early summer, when the snow finally melts away and the park comes alive.Yosemite Waterfalls behind Sequoias in Yosemite National Park,California

Can’t get enough of the snow? Badger Pass Ski Area is a popular spot in the winter, offering both cross-country and downhill trails. And if you’re just looking for a peaceful, quiet hike, autumn is the best time for it. While the waterfalls are mostly dried out and there’s not much to see in terms of fall foliage, there also aren’t as many tourists; you’re more likely to get the trails to yourself!

 Where to Stay at Yosemite

There are also plenty of camping options at Yosemite. No reservations are required, but they’re your best bet during spring and summer, as the 13 campgrounds fill up quickly in peak season. Overnight hiking is popular among visitors, but you’ll need a wilderness permit if you’re keen to explore the great outdoors after dark. For those who aren’t in the mood to rough it, but want to stay close to the action, there is also a wide variety of lodging. Take your pick from B&Bs, hostels, vacation rentals, hotels and motels.

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

Next October, the park observes its 125th anniversary, so it’s a prime time to explore everything it has to offer and attend one of the many events being held to commemorate the milestone! Make your plans sooner than later to secure your spot at the scenic celebration. Yosemite is on our list of the best places to stop on a west coast road trip