Yosemite is one of the best places you can visit if you want to spend a vacation outdoors. The higher terrain provides visitors with many options where they can hike, relax, and enjoy. Yosemite offers different trails for those who want to go hiking. Hikers will surely enjoy the High Sierra.
If you are planning during May, this article will help you prepare for your trip. With the right preparation, you will get to enjoy a safer and enjoyable hike in Yosemite this May. This post gets you up to date on the best month to go and the gear you’ll need.
Preparing for a Yosemite hike can be overwhelming, especially for first-timers. For that, you’ll need to learn everything you need to know before going for a hike in Yosemite in May. Scroll down and get a heads up on the things you need to know.
Is May A Good Time To Visit Yosemite?
Many roads and trails in Yosemite are closed because of snow for most months of the year. Snow comes by October, and it can reach full power in November. It subsides by March but still leaves most parts of Yosemite Park closed.
Seasonal park closures frequently happen, so visitors pick the hot seasons. Summer is Yosemite’s busiest time of year. So, you could expect crowded hiking trails, more traffic on the road, and increased prices in hotel rates.
With this in mind, you might be wondering if May will be a better time. You’re on point. May is the best time to visit Yosemite other than September! All seasonally closed roads and trails open by May.
Moreover, May and September are the months before and after the summer, so there will be fewer visitors. During May, the park is accessible to visitors, and there are fewer crowds compared to other months of the year.
If you want to have a better view of Yosemite’s waterfalls, then visit the park during the latter days of May. You can enjoy the beauty of the waterfalls and appreciate it fresh from melted snow at this time of the year.
During September, comfortable temperatures make it a better hiking experience. Like in May, there are also fewer crowds on hiking trails. However, the waterfalls are less free-flowing.
Compared to the summer months, May and September provide optimal cooler temperatures that Hikers will enjoy.
Hiking Yosemite in May and What To Expect
When hiking Yosemite in May, you can expect cool temperatures and a good climate. Enjoy the sound of Yosemite’s waterfalls for serenity and peace of mind. It is the perfect month to visit Yosemite if you want to achieve calmness and escape from the hustle and bustle of city life for a moment.
You can expect that the average highs of the temperature range in the middle of 60 degrees while the average lows will be in the middle 30 degrees. There are fewer crowds so you can enjoy hiking in the wilderness. Not to disappoint you, but some trails and paths will still be closed in the early days of May.
How Should I Prepare for a Hiking Yosemite in May?
Yosemite’s High Camps are elevated, so be prepared to adjust to changes to altitude. You also need time to practice and condition your body. Here are tips to prepare for Yosemite hiking in May:
1. Adapt to Changes Altitude
Remember to drink plenty of water and take time to adapt to the new altitude of Yosemite. Visitors who are residing below sea level might need more time for adjustment.
It is recommended to book an overnight stay at Yosemite’s ground lodging, like in Tuolumne Meadows Lodge or White Wolf. Staying overnight in the lower grounds can help you adjust more efficiently before going to Yosemite’s High Camps. If you experience any symptoms of altitude sickness, descend the High Camps.
2. Allot Time for Practice
Prepare for your hiking trip by walking several times a day using the hiking boots you will bring on your Yosemite hiking trip. You can also carry your hiking backpack to get used to the weight. Yosemite trails can be tiring if you lack prior preparation. Hiking is made more difficult because of low oxygen due to high altitude.
It is recommendable to walk up to four to five times a week before your Yosemite trip. The Yosemite trails have markings, but rocks are still present along most of the trails. You can follow the steps for easier navigation. Most camp distances are six to ten miles from each other.
Try spending some days at a riding stable if you plan on making saddle trips. It will help you learn to handle horses and condition your body using the saddle for a couple of hours. Riding mules and horses is a taxing physical activity. For that, you’ll need to be in good shape.
3. Ready Your Hiking Boots
Any hiking trip to Yosemite National Park needs hiking boots as your central gear. Choose a sturdy pair, made of good high-quality and light on the feet. Ensure that your boots are well broken in. Walk your new boots for a month before your hiking trip.
Expect the possibility of having sore feet and blisters from hiking. With this in mind, you should prepare extra socks, moleskins, foot pads for comfort, and extra pairs of running shoes for backup. Check out Adventure Medical Kits Pre-Cut and Shaped Moleskin Blister Dressing on Amazon.
4. Hotels and Accommodation
Although there are fewer crowds, it is better to prepare your bookings ahead of time. Book your campsites months in advance before they reach full capacity. Remember that it is always better to book in advance to get good bargains on accommodations.
What are the Dangers of Hiking Yosemite in May?
Yosemite National Park has over 800 miles of trails. Within these trails, many hikers get injured or lost. Yosemite’s Search and Rescue (YOSAR) conducts missions to assist injured hikers and search for the people who get lost in the wilderness.
There are approximately 250 emergency incidents in the park annually. Park rangers address these emergency incidents together with the search and rescue personnel.
Here are some tips to achieve safe Yosemite hiking:
- Bring flashlights and a headlamp for the hike
- Bring a water bottle and drink water frequently (at least 1 quart every 2 hours)
- Choose good footwear that has traction.
- Know your limits if you have minor/moderate existing health or medical issues. Stay on the marked trail.
- For hiking groups, set a meetup point and contact person
PRO TIP: Use the HIKE SAFE acronym to have a safe hiking experience in Yosemite National Park:
- Have a backup plan
- Inform a trusted person of your whereabouts
- Keep signal equipment like whistles and flashlights
- Eat well and drink a lot (of water)
- Stay on track by following the trail
- Ask for HELP!
- Flashlights for dark nights
- Expect changes in the weather
Top Gear For Hiking Yosemite In May
You need to prepare your gear for Yosemite hiking in May. These things are the non-negotiables you’ll need for your hiking trip. Here is a list of the top gear for hiking in Yosemite:
1. Hiking Boots
As mentioned earlier, hiking boots are your main gear for Yosemite hiking. Opt for hiking boots with high-ankle support, good quality, and traction. Check out the best-seller Timberland Men’s White Ledge Mid Waterproof Ankle Boot on Amazon. Use good hiking socks for comfort, warmth, and protection to your feet while hiking.
2. Extra Clothes
There can be sudden shifts in temperature when you hike Yosemite. Hikers prominently experience temperature shifts upon reaching higher altitudes. Prepare for any changes by bringing extra clothes so you can adapt well. Also, it’s best to pack breathable and lightweight clothes, hats, sunglasses, and capes.
3. Water and Bottle
Going hiking can be tiring. It will trigger more sweat release and can often lead to dehydration. Bringing too much water in your bag can add stress to hiking so bring just the adequate amount.
You do not want to be carrying around heavy objects throughout a full day of hiking. Another option is to bring a water bottle or flasks and iodine tablets for filtration. You can find water sources around the hiking trail to get water for drinking after purifying it. Check out DEVICO 32oz Water Bottle with Time Marker on Amazon.
4. Treats and Some Snacks
Feel free to bring your tasty treats and snacks. The hike will take you several hours to ascend and descend from hiking trails. Prevent hypoglycemia by having snacks in your pocket so you can easily reach them when you get hungry.
You can also purchase ready-made lunches in the following Yosemite locations:
- June Bug Café (Midpines)
- Jantz Bakery (Mariposa)
- High Country Health Foods and Café (Mariposa)
- Degnan’s Deli (Yosemite Valley)
- Sun and Insect Protection
Expect long sun exposure and increased vulnerability to insect bites when hiking. In planning your hiking trip, do not forget to prepare sunscreen and insect repellants. Yosemite has a lot of mosquitos so that you can be safer with insect protection.
5. Assemble An Emergency Kit
You can find First Aid Kits in local stores or choose to assemble one for a hiking trip. Check out Atlas Survival Emergency Trauma Kit on Amazon.
Put together bandaids, antiseptic solutions, cotton, alcohol wipes, and gauze pads. Whistles are useful when you get lost in the wilderness and need to signal searchers and rescuers for help.
Recap / Final Thought
Yosemite is a great choice to spend your vacation. If you plan on hiking, May is the best month to visit Yosemite. In preparing for your Yosemite hikes, you must plan ahead of time and condition yourself before hiking. Preparing your hiking gear and other essential items will also help you enjoy the full experience.