Yosemite Day Hikes and Activities to Beat The Crowds

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Yosemite National Park receives in the vicinity of 5 million visitors each year. In summer, between 5 - 7,000 cars can be in the park on any given day.So, with these figures in mind, can what John Muir described as "by far the grandest of all the special temples of nature," still be enjoyed without having to jostle with the crowds? Absolutely. Pre-trip safe travel planning and preparation is always one of the most important parts of planning any trip. With the current uncertainty of travel, your safety and the safety of others has never been more important.If you decide to travel at this time, please ensure you are appropriately prepared, and you travel responsibly.Yet, as Yosemite's most popular attractions are clustered along the 7-mile valley loop, many fail to deviate from this well-trodden path to take full advantage of one of the USA's premier hiking destinations. With a little planning, it is possible to find solitude in the vast wilderness area to enjoy the breathtaking vistas and waterfalls, giant sequoias, lakes and meadows Yosemite is famous for. The beauty of Yosemite National Park is you have loads of great accommodation choices. If you choose to stay inside the park, you can choose from cabins to grand historic hotels. For a more authentic experience, you may prefer the rustic tent-style cabins. If camping is more your style, there are 13 campgrounds and RV camp facilities, including dumping stations. If you prefer to stay outside the park, there are a vast array of accommodation options available close to each of the five park gates. From full-service resorts to vacation rentals and big chain hotels. There are also loads of unique camping and glamping options offering a unique California experience in local campgrounds and state parks. You don't have to sidestep peak season to skip the crowds at Yosemite. However, the shoulder seasons of fall and spring, and even winter can be very rewarding. The peak season for Yosemite is summer - June, July, and August (between Memorial Day and Labor Day). So while the popular sights in the Yosemite Valley may be busy during this time, it is still possible to avoid the bulk of the crowds, even at the most popular sites with a little planning.Summer is also the best time to enjoy the High Sierra. In winter, the higher elevation trails can be closed or only accessible to advanced hikers experienced in snow and ice hiking.Visit outside of the peak months, and you can be rewarded with a less tourist dense experience, even at the most famous sights. April, May and early June are one of the best times to visit Yosemite Valley. There are fewer crowds, and the waterfalls are at their peak, especially in May and June.The fall months of September, October, and November will also see fewer visitors, but also great weather and an incredible fall foliage display.December, January, February, and March are probably the least popular months to visit Yosemite but also one of the most beautiful and peaceful. Many roads and attractions will be closed, but there are a host of other reasons to visit Yosemite in winter.The ski season is in full swing at the Badger Pass Ski Area with downhill, cross country and snowboarding.There are several winter events in the Yosemite Valley and the possibility of seeing one of Yosemite’s most stunning natural displays – The Firefall at Horsetail Falls. Around the second week of February, when the setting sun hits the upper reaches of Horsetail Fall at the right angle, it illuminates the falls resembling liquid fire. You can get more information on this spectacular natural event here. Plan to be on the hiking trails early – before 8 am. Being early is especially important for Yosemite Valley. Many of the shorter hikes won’t take you far enough from the road to escape the crowds so being early will mean encountering fewer people and more importantly, beating the majority of the day-trippers.