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Weather and Seasons

Yosemite in Autumn – Photos & Video

With a wide range of elevations, Yosemite National Park offers a completely different visual experience in the fall than any other season.

Autumn in Yosemite is a quiet time with colorful leaves and meandering brooks. Take a moment and soak in the serene views in this “Fall Moments – Yosemite Nature Notes” video.

From quaking aspen trees to dogwoods and black cottonwoods, Yosemite’s trees and shrubs offer an explosion of color in various parts of the park. Even poison oak changes color, ranging from purple to red. While peak leaf season is dependent on temperatures, rain and other factors, the end of October can be a great time to experience the foliage. Check with park officials early in the fall to find out what is happening in the park and to learn when the best time will be to visit.

Yosemite in Autumn Photo Gallery

The boardwalk to Yosemite Falls in autumn
The boardwalk to Yosemite Falls in autumn. Photo: Depositphotos
Yosemite's Merced River bordered by autumn leaves and Half Dome
Yosemite’s Merced River bordered by autumn leaves and Half Dome. Photo: Depositphotos
Hiking in autumn near Yosemite Falls
Hiking in autumn near Yosemite Falls. Photo: Casey Horner via Unsplash
A hiker gazes at El Capitan in Yosemite in autumn
A hiker gazes at El Capitan in Yosemite in autumn. Photo: Depositphotos
A tree wears its red autumn leaves in Yosemite Valley
A tree wears its red autumn leaves in Yosemite Valley. Photo: Depositphotos
Yosemite Half Dome on an autumn morning
Yosemite Half Dome on an autumn morning. Photo: Depositphotos
Cooks Meadow with a view of Half Dome in autumn. Photo by Grant Ordelheide
Cooks Meadow with a view of Half Dome in autumn. Photo: Grant Ordelheide
Autumn colors in Bishop County.
Autumn colors in Bishop County on the west edge of Yosemite. Photo: Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau
Autumn tree over Yosemite granite
Autumn tree over Yosemite granite. Photo: Depositphotos
Merced River on an autumn day
Merced River on an autumn day. Photo: Depositphotos

Download the Eastern Sierra Fall Color Guide & Map

This guide from Inyo and Mono counties includes a map of 21 autumn color hot spots.

Eastern Yosemite Fall Color Guide & Map

Current Leaf Color Status

Visit the Mono County Fall Colors Blog for fall photos that are notated with dates and locations. www.monocounty.org/things-to-do/fall-colors

What Types of Trees does Yosemite have?

There are five woodland zones in Yosemite National Park

Foothill-Woodland Zone

Trees include blue oak, interior live oak, and gray pine.

Lower Montane Forest

The diversity of tree species found in this zone make this a beautiful and interesting forest to explore with California black oak, ponderosa pine, incense-cedar, and white fir. Yosemite’s giant sequoia groves including the Mariposa, Merced, and the Tuolumne Groves are also found here in Yosemite Valley and along the Wawona, Hetch Hetchy and Big Oak Flat Roads.

Upper Montane Forest

Pure stands of red fir and lodgepole pine are typical of this forest. Jeffrey pine, which has bark that smells like vanilla, and the picturesque western juniper can also be found in this zone. View from the Tioga Road east of Crane Flat and in areas north and south of Yosemite Valley, such as along the Glacier Point Road.

Subalpine Forest

The western white pine, mountain hemlock and lodgepole pine are found in this forest. See from the Tuolumne Meadows area east to Tioga Pass.

Alpine Zone

This area is above tree line. No trees grow in this zone due to the harsh climatic conditions.