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May or September

Boston...
Level Contributor
164 posts
11 reviews
13 helpful votes
May or September
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We are going to be la from may 12-16 and wanting to do sequoia, king canyon and yosemite from may 16-23 (wanted to do cpl days in san fran too but being to stretched so eliminated san fran)

I am photograher and like to get some good shots as well as not get trafficked jam in May as it is summer and ppl are gonna be out in droves with vaccination done...

Is just better to come back in Sept ? Less crowd maybe ? Roads will still all be open hopefully ?

And instead in may do maybe rt1 from la to san fran or anyhing in southern la near san diego?

(Deleted previous post due ro a swear word i used and gave more details here as well)

5 replies to this topic
Elk Grove...
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong
Level Contributor
23,647 posts
5 reviews
8 helpful votes
1. Re: May or September
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In May, the advantage is having water flowing in many waterfalls. In mid summer they start to dry up. In September/October the flows become minimal. Road closures (Tioga Road, Glacier Point Road) happen typically sometime in November. So October is still good. But days are getting shorter. In May you get very long day light hours, that's a plus. Weather-wise, May - there may still be a small chance of snow but not too likely. September/October typically have no such worry.

This year is really different, with the Covid situation. People had accumulated many vacation days from last year and they may jump the typical summer-start for their vacation.

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
89,226 posts
188 reviews
151 helpful votes
2. Re: May or September
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Hi again

For feedback about a possible trip from San Francisco (easily abbreviated SF) to L.A., I suggest the California state forum. You can read about the landslide on Hwy 1 and its possible reopening in July.

If you can find lodging in a reasonable location (in or near Yosemite Valley), May would be fine. Visitors are already filling up Yosemite. Entrance gates have a long wait at popular times. No shuttles means you need to park and then walk in the Valley.

September is still quite busy and may even have more visitors than May. These visitation statistics have not been updated: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/visitation.htm

Definitely use the Top Questions on the right, the NPS website, and www.YosemiteHikes.com (if you want to hike.)

Incline Village...
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12,980 posts
1 review
6 helpful votes
3. Re: May or September
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September is fire season.

It has remained hot and dry through summers in the last 5+ years and this means there is a significant risk of smoke, and road or trail closures.

Maybe May is a better choice

California
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1,524 posts
58 reviews
63 helpful votes
4. Re: May or September
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I agree with the May suggestions. And, if you could go to Yosemite before LA, it will be even better. Most public schools in CA will probably be open in-house by then, so usual summer crowds starting in late May/early June could hold true.

Fremont, California
Level Contributor
58,994 posts
8,638 reviews
3,996 helpful votes
5. Re: May or September
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May is best for waterfalls.

September is good weather and the combination of seeing Yosemite and the Eastern Sierras is awesome.

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