Yosemite Weather and Climate

Ernesto Huang/Flickr/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  • 01 of 03

    Yosemite Weather and Climate

    These are average temperatures at 4,000 feet elevation, which is close to weather in Yosemite Valley. Higher elevations will be colder.

    Getting today's weather or a forecast for the upcoming week is easy, but if you want to know what the weather might be 6 months from now - or whenever you're planning your Yosemite trip - some averages may be more helpful.

    If You're Planning a Yosemite Vacation, go to the Yosemite vacation planner for more information. Page 2 of this guide gives some tips for what to wear to Yosemite and what to pack if you're going there.

    Do You Think Metric?

    Click on over to page 3 to find the same information in °C and cm.

    A Few Things You May Not Know About Yosemite Weather

    • You already know that averages aren't perfect predictors, but they can give you an idea. The tables give the typical conditions at a glance.
       
    • Average rainfall is particularly deceiving in California, mostly because it depends on what happens in the Pacific Ocean. When the ocean experiences El Nino conditions, it can rain a lot, but in other years, you'll hardly see a drop all winter. Another thing to be aware of is that a whole month's rainfall often comes in just a day or two.
       
    • Thunderstorms are common in Yosemite, especially in the afternoon at higher elevations. If you get caught in one, don't risk turning into a human lightning rod. Avoid exposed places and metal railings at vista points - and don't take shelter under lone trees. If all else fails, lay down flat on the ground. It may not be dignified, but it's safe.

    Yosemite Weather Records

    • The highest recorded temperature at Yosemite was 109° F in 1977. The lowest was -7°F in 2009. Snowfall varies by elevation, with an average of more than 8 feet at Tioga Pass.

    Yosemite by Season

    You'll find more specific suggestions in these seasonal guides:

    Continue to 2 of 3 below.
  • 02 of 03

    What to Wear, What to Pack for Your Yosemite Trip

    Ernesto Huang/Flickr/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    What to Wear at Yosemite

    You know how to match temperature to your wardrobe selection, so this list focuses more on style and practical considerations you might not think of.

    • Casual outdoor clothing will be appropriate almost anywhere in Yosemite. 
    • If you're attending a special event like the Bracebridge Dinners, Winemaker Holidays or Chef's Holidays, you'll need some dress-up clothes.
    • Pack another extra layer if you plan to go to higher elevations. Temperatures are much cooler up there.
    • Sturdy shoes with thick soles and good traction if you plan to go hiking

    What to Pack for Yosemite

    These are a few things that I have found helpful to have along when going to Yosemite:

    • The air in the mountains can be very dry. Avoid an emergency trip to the local store by bringing lots of lotion, moisturizer and eye drops. If your nose tends to dry out easily, add a bottle of saline nose spray to keep it moister.
    • Strong sunscreen is a good idea, higher SPF than you might use at home. Thinner air at higher elevation means more UV rays get to your skin and you will burn faster.
    • If you plan to do a driving tour, a small, portable ice chest is a good way to carry a few cool drinks and snacks.
    • If your hair tends to fall flat in dry weather, bring extra products to keep it fluffed up.
    • It snows once in a while in the Yosemite Valley and it rains in the winter. Weather patterns vary by year, so the best bet is to check the forecast before you go.
    • If you go in spring and want to hike near the waterfalls, they are flowing fast that time of year. You may want to bring an umbrella or rain jacket with a hood to keep yourself dry in the spray.
    Continue to 3 of 3 below.
  • 03 of 03

    Yosemite Weather and Climate (Metric Units)

    These are average temperatures at 1,200 meters elevation, which is close to weather in Yosemite Valley. Higher elevations will be colder.

    If you're more comfortable with Celsius and centimeters than Fahrenheit and inches and these graphs are just for you.

    If you prefer those units of measure, then we're guessing that you may be an international visitor. If you are, you're not alone.

    Besides the information on the previous page, here are a few more things that may help you plan your trip:

    Yosemite Weather Records

    The highest recorded temperature at Yosemite was 43°C in 1977. The lowest was -22°C in 2009. Snowfall varies by elevation, with an average of about 2.5 meters at Tioga Pass.