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Dennis Park
(dpark) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Yosemite on 01/19/2013 22:44:22 MST Print View

I would like to do a weekend in Yosemite in spring but would like to avoid any significant snow. What time of year would you all recommend? Any good destinations to consider? Thanks.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Yosemite on 01/19/2013 23:06:40 MST Print View

You probably want to define what you mean by "spring."

The peak snow depth usually occurs around the second or third week of March. After that, there may be more snow storms, but overall it is melting faster than it is piling up. For a month or two after that, we normally call it springtime in Yosemite. Then the Tioga Road opens. After that, we call it early summer. However, there is a lot of variation depending on the snowpack. Two years ago it was a big snow pack that was late melting. One year ago it was a light snow pack that melted out very early.

You can do trails in Hetch Hetchy starting around April, but they are better in May. You can't effectively do the trails in the high country until the Tioga Road opens, and sometimes not for several weeks after that.

--B.G.--

Dennis Park
(dpark) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: Yosemite on 01/19/2013 23:29:47 MST Print View

For high country areas, when do the mosquitos usually come out?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Yosemite on 01/19/2013 23:42:03 MST Print View

I've camped in the high country where 90% of the ground was still snow-covered, and we pitched tents on the few bare spots. Already the mosquitos were out.

If you are trying to avoid the mosquitos, then hope for a light snow winter. That leads to an early spring, which leads to a dry summer. Also, if you go high, even though there is moisture from the last snow melting it will be cool enough to discourage the mosquitos.

Also, I seldom camp near a lake or stream in Yosemite, since that is where the mosquitos are found. Instead, I will camp up vertically 100 or 200 feet above the water level where it is drier.

In other words, figure out where the mosquitos ought to be, and then go somewhere else.

--B.G.--

Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
Yosemite in Spring on 01/24/2013 16:36:04 MST Print View

The obvious choices are the Rancheria Falls trail out of Hetch-hetchy (or something else in that area: Laurel Lake, etc,) or the North Rim, which in a light snow year gets enough sun to be passable.

Anything above 7500 feet or so is almost certain to have a lot of snow through March...

Elizabeth Tracy
(mariposa) - M

Locale: Outside
thoughts on 01/26/2013 14:26:08 MST Print View

Hi,

If you would prefer to avoid both snow and skeeters, especially in a potentially higher-than-average snow year, then August or early September are actually the best times. Skeeters can last through July depending on snow conditions. Downside about August and later is that all the waterfalls in Yosemite are not as gigantic. (Yosemite Falls even dries up entirely sometimes.)

As balzaccom suggests, Hetch Hetchy or the North Rim of Yosemite Valley will be the first to become snow-free, or at least only scattered snow patches, for backpacking. Around May sometime, most years. And the waterfalls are their hugest in May. You will have skeeters though.

Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, generally one-way from White Wolf to Tuolumne Meadows (~32 miles) is a classic and stunning trip a big later, usually June or the first two weeks of July. This year, with a larger than average snowpack I'd be hesitant to reserve a trip there before June 15.

I live in the Bay Area too. In the actual spring (Feb-April), I stick to backpacking locally such as to Pt. Reyes or Big Basin or Ventana Wilderness. Southern Utah is also terrific at this time. If you want to go to the Sierra, snowshoeing on a bright sunny day is always beautiful.

- Elizabeth

Elizabeth Tracy
(mariposa) - M

Locale: Outside
p.s. on 01/26/2013 14:32:35 MST Print View

p.s. If you do go in August, Hetch Hetchy and North Rim of Yosemite Valley will both be way too hot. For a weekender in August I'd do a trip out of Tuolumne Meadows. Young Lakes or Ireland Lake are two great overnight destinations from TM.