No season in Yosemite National Park is more exciting and full of life than spring. It’s a versatile time, thanks to the park’s broad range of elevation. In the valleys, mid-May means violets and verdant meadows, gentle sunshine and thunderous waterfalls. A few thousand feet up, the mountains are still shrouded in still snow. To Park Ranger Kari Cobb, that kind of diversity is exactly what makes spring in Yosemite so spectacular. Not to mention that visitors enjoy the park’s wonders free of summertime crowds.
One of Yosemite’s most jaw-dropping features ebbs and flows with the seasons, usually peaking in May or June. Three back-to-back cascades make up Yosemite Falls, which is visible from almost anywhere in Yosemite Valley. Take them together and you’ve got the tallest waterfall in North America and the fifth largest in the world. But because it’s fed strictly on snowmelt and rain, the show is mostly over once the snow is gone. “If you come in September, Yosemite Falls will be dry,” Cobb says. “But if you’re able to come in the spring, you’ll see the waterfall at its peak flow.”