Yosemite National Park: A visit in May

Yosemite National Park in May: In between seasons

Yosemite National Park: One of North America’s most visited National Parks with more than 4 million visitors each year. It spans 1,168.681 sq mi of which only 5,9 are frequented by most tourists. It’s Internationally renowned for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams and Giant Sequoia groves. We visited the park begin May, not the best time of year as some parts of the park are still closed. Furthermore it had been a harsh winter so this didn’t work to our advantage.

Entering the park

Entering the park sets you back $30 per vehicle but having an America the Beautiful Pass grants free access. At the entrance you drive through a big hole in a rock. Right after that you start to see the beauty of the park, passing by the first big waterfall and large fallen rocks. Driving around the corner brings views on El Capitan, Half Dome, and the many other falls this time of year.

Yosemite Entrance

Tunnel View and El Capitan

The stars of Yosemite National Park. Tunnel View overlooks Yosemite Valley. The best way to describe it, is as if someone painted a picture of a perfect valley. As if it was finished and the painter said “Hey, let’s just add this waterfall (Bridalveil Fall), and make this picture perfect!”. El Capitan is the wet dream of anyone who’s in the business of rock climbing. It’s near vertical rock rising up from the valley.

Tunnel View

El Capitan

Vernall Fall Mist and Valley Loop Trail

We walked the Mist Trail to Vernall Fall. It’s quite a steep walk up to the fall, but once you’re there it’s really worthwhile. The roundtrip is about 1.5-2 hours. (From Vernal fall the trail continues to Nevada Fall for another 6.5 mile roundtrip hike, which we didn’t try). Because Glacier Point and Mariposa Grove were closed we wanted to get to Tuolomne Grove instead. Normally this should be possible as this is a stretch of CA-120 that opens earlier. Landslides however caused severe road damage, restraining us from getting there. No worries, as we paid a second visit to Tunnel View and walked a small part of the Valley Loop Trail.

Vernall Fall

Valley Loop
Valley Loop

Yosemite National park in May: is it worthwhile?

Although we think a visit to Yosemite national Park is always worthwhile it’s maybe better to schedule somewhere in July or even August. This way you’re sure everything is open. We felt really disappointed having to miss out on places like Mariposa Grove, Glacier point and Tuolomne Grove. On a positive note, this time of year the many waterfalls are at their strongest due to the snow melting in the mountains.

Yosemite squirrel

Also check out our post about Death Valley National Park!

About Cedric Monbailliu

Hi, I'm cedric. Having visited over 25 countries all over the world, I like to share my experiences and thoughts. I can only hope to inspire you to go out and explore the world!

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