Traveling to Yosemite in March
Traveling to Yosemite in March turned out to be a really nice time to visit. I’ve always wanted to visit the park in the winter because it looks so gorgeous in the snow, but visiting in the heart of winter would require a little more planning on our part in regards to snow chains and accommodations. Additionally, I’ve been a little bit afraid of visiting in the summer as well because of the crowds, although I hear Fall is stunning and has fewer crowds as well.
After spending the past week in Yosemite, I can honestly say that the middle to end of March is a pretty darn good time to visit Yosemite National Park.
We spent the third week in March there around the 26th and we indulged in the most beautiful weather. Yosemite weather in March was divine, especially in the valley. The skies were blue and temperatures warmed to around 65 degrees. It couldn’t have been more perfect. I honestly didn’t even need a jacket for most of my hiking until the sun went down. And then it got dreadfully cold.
The day before we arrived however, Yosemite had a slight amount of snow, yet I’m just sad it didn’t stick. I’ve seen gorgeous pictures of Mirror Lake in the snow and I really hoped to catch it, even at the end of March. The most snowfall we saw was at the turnoff to Badger Pass. The snow-covered evergreens and pines looked like a winter wonderland, yet the next day it melted completely.
Another perk of visiting in March is that the waterfalls are super strong because of all the melting snow!
You will need to carry snow chains although you probably won’t have to use them. If you’re renting a car, most car renting agencies won’t allow you to purchase chains for your tires. With that said, there are plenty of places along the way that sell chains. Our hotel the Tenaya Lodge even offered chains and a full refund policy if you didn’t even use them. The main highway into Yosemite, the 41, required us to carry chains even when we didn’t use them. If you’re renting a car, it’s best to rent a car with 4WD. If your car is 4WD, then you can likely get away with not having to put on snow chains if required, even though you may need to still carry them in your car. Certain parts of the park are closed off in March which is kind of a bummer. The Glacial Point road which boasts some of the most beautiful views in the park was closed through the winter months and March. However, there are plenty of other trails and sites to see. Dial The Yosemite Road Closures Number for updates on road conditions. This will inform you whether or not tire chains are needed on certain roads. Bring thermals and a jacket, but also tank tops. Afternoons felt great, but once the sun goes down it got really really cold.
Yosemite National Park Trails
The National Park Service site is the best resource to plan your hikes and adventure. We did the Mirror Lake Loop, the entire 5-mile loop, and random other shorter hikes. There’s a paved portion for the first mile too on the Mirror Lake Loop where you can bring your dog. We saw a lot of dogs at the park and they are allowed on paved roads, but not on shuttle buses and off the trails.
Yosemite Road Closures
You can call this number for frequent updates on Yosemite road closures and conditions. Press 1 then 1 again for chain conditions. An R0 means no chain requirements on said roads.
March is still winter in Yosemite Valley so unfortunately, there are some road closures. Before you plan your trip, make sure that any location you really want to visit isn’t closed. Most of Yosemite Valley, however, is freely open.
In Sum…Visiting Yosemite in March is Amazing
Visiting Yosemite in March is amazing and it was a gorgeous time to visit, especially towards the end of the month. We had few hassles with our car and were able to easily find chains to carry even though we didn’t need them. The park is super easy to navigate and Yosemite Valley has a plethora of activities to offer it seems all year round. Perhaps there isn’t the best time to visit Yosemite because it’s always nice.