Weather and Seasons

What to Wear for Yosemite Terrain and Weather

A key part of your pre-trip planning should include preparing for Yosemite’s diverse terrain and weather conditions. Don't get caught unprepared.

Yosemite Vacation: Planning the Perfect Trip

There’s nothing quite like Yosemite. You’ve been counting down the days to this trip for a long time, and you and your family are eagerly anticipating everything that’s yet to come. From hiking your way along waterfalls on the Mist Trail to the remarkable views of Yosemite Falls, El Capitan and Half Dome, there’s so much to see and do. A key part of your pre-trip planning should include preparing for Yosemite’s diverse terrain and weather conditions, which can put a damper on your vacation if you’re caught unprepared.

Yosemite’s Terrain and Weather Vary Greatly

Yosemite’s complex terrain, significantly varying altitudes, and weather patterns can pose a challenge to visitors. Both Yosemite Valley and Wawona/Mariposa Grove sit at around 4,000 feet and are consistently warm in the summer months with highs in the 80’s and lows in the 50’s – this area also has very little rainfall most of the year, with the exception of May. Meanwhile, just a short distance away at Tuolumne Meadows and Glacier Point, the elevation rises to around 7,000 feet and temperatures are much cooler, typically with highs in the low 70’s in the summer months and lows in the 40’s. It’s not unusual to see snow at the higher elevations well into May.

Bring Gear and Clothes to Stay Warm, Dry and Comfortable

The last thing you want to worry about on your bucket-list vacation is the weather – you want to remember the moment, not the fact that you couldn’t stay warm enough to enjoy the sights. Consider that while relatively rain-free — experiencing Yosemite and its dozens of misty waterfalls is far from a dry experience, which is why reliable, waterproof gear is an absolute necessity.

Yosemite Gear Suggestions

Waterproof hiking footwear and a protective all-weather shell will act as your closest companions on this trek. You’ll be glad you thought to pack them when faced with Yosemite’s varying temperatures and misty conditions. Here are a few recommendations:

Hiking Footwear That is Waterproof but Also Breathable

Mammut Comfort Low GTX® SURROUND® Shoe – A great choice for those who prefer a lighter weight low cut hiker, but still want the best in class waterproof protection and breathability that GORE-TEX® SURROUND® product technology delivers. This shoe also features Mammut’s patented Rolling Concept® which delivers excellent antiroll stability – something you’ll appreciate while hiking Yosemite’s trails.

Mammut Comfort Low Shoe

Vasque Breeze Mid GTX® Boot – If you’re carrying a pack, this mid-cut boot provides added stability while ensuring your feet stay dry and comfortable all day long. Its Vibram® Contact outsole offers the right combination of flexibility, traction and support for day hikes in Yosemite.

Vasque Breeze Boot

All-Weather Shells That’ll Keep You Protected From the Wind and Dry in Wet Conditions

Outdoor Research Axiom Jacket – This jacket delivers a ton of features and technologies that make it a top choice for Yosemite’s weather. Its GORE-TEX® Active fabric make it waterproof, extremely breathable, lightweight and comfortable. With a single-separating front zipper and an internal front zip storm flap, you’ll have an impenetrable seal against the elements. An added benefit is hand pocket that doubles as a stuff sack, which allows you to quickly and easily pack it up and go.

Outdoor Research Axiom Jacket

Patagonia Super Cell Jacket – Made from lightweight, highly packable GORE-TEX® fabric with Paclite® product technology, this women’s jacket offers outstanding waterproof protection and extreme breathability. Its Touch Point System embeds cord locks in the hood and hem to give you greater adjustability, keeping you comfortable at all times.

Patagonia Super Cell Jacket

Article by Rob Wood