Archaeological findings in Yosemite show that the area has been inhabited by humans for at least 3,000 years, though it's possible that people have been visiting the park for up to 10,000 years. Naturists and adventurers have been visiting Yosemite regularly since it first became a national park over 120 years ago.
It's most known for its incredible waterfalls, but there is so much more to explore inside the park. It's also home to the famous ancient giant sequoia trees. Stand in front of them and look up in awe at the incredible heights that nature is capable of creating.
Yosemite is the perfect destination for every budget. Whether you're looking for a luxury hotel or a budget-f-iendly cabin on the edge of the forest, you're sure to find the perfect accommodation to suit your needs.
When to Visit Yosemite National Park, CA
The best time of year to visit Yosemite depends largely on what you want to see and do while you're there. If you want to visit Yosemite to see the waterfalls, the best time to visit is between May and June. In May, the waterfalls are at their peak after all of the spring rain. During late spring, the wildflowers are in bloom, and the park isn't as crowded as it is in the summer.
If you want to hike the trails and get up to the High Sierra, head to Yosemite in July or August. There are only a few months during the year that there is no snow at the peaks. This means that the summer months are the busiest time to visit Yosemite, so if you want to avoid the crowds, go to Yosemite National Park in September.
If you want to visit Yosemite during the ski season, head to Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area. Most of the main roads in the park are closed during the winter months, but Glacier Point Road is plowed to give you access to the ski resort area. The ski season runs from mid-December until late April. It's the quietest time to visit the park and therefore the most affordable time to visit.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Yosemite National Park, CA:
Yosemite National Park, CA: Prices by Star Rating Class
Below are 3 charts illustrating avg. price trends by star rating class in Yosemite National Park, CA. Browse these charts to calculate the least expensive time to book a room in Yosemite National Park for any future trips.
Luxury Hotels in Yosemite National Park, CA
4 Star Average Prices: $211.27
Yosemite is a paradise for those looking for a little mix of nature and luxury. The Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite is a playground for both children and adults. The lodge is right near Fish Camp, a beautiful forested town at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Every room has LCD flat-screen TVs and Egyptian cotton sheets. You'll find a full-service spa on-site, two indoor swimming pools, five Jacuzzis, and a sauna. The lodge also has five restaurants and a cafe.
Just outside Mammoth Lakes and only a short journey from Yosemite is the Village Lodge. The Village Lodge gives you access to all of the incredible beauty of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. If you're traveling in a big group, the Village Lodge is a great option. You can rent an entire condominium and enjoy a fully stocked kitchen. The lodge has an outdoor pool for the summer months and ski packages for the winter months.
Affordable Hotels in Yosemite National Park, CA
3 Star Average Prices: $161.01
If you're happy to stay outside the park and drive in, there are many affordable hotel options around Yosemite National Park. Americas Best Value Inn in Jamestown, California, is a quality value hotel just outside the park. Jamestown is a historic town with great restaurants and antique shops. Americas Best Value Inn has free Wi-Fi and a great breakfast buffet, and some of the rooms have kitchenettes so you can self-cater.
If you're looking for an affordable hotel that's closer to Yosemite National Park, the Yosemite Riverside Inn is near the entrance to the park and is a perfect national park escape. The hotel is in a wood cabin in the heart of the Sierra Nevadas. You can walk right out the door and head for a walk along the nearby stream. You get a free continental breakfast with every night's stay and there are barbecues available if you want to cook in the evenings.
2 Star Average Prices: $92.71
Which Yosemite National Park hotels have real discounts?
If you're looking to save even more during your stay at Yosemite National Park, you'll want to know all about the hotels that have great discounts.
The Westin Monache Hotel Resort Mammoth is located near the national park along Mammoth Lakes and offers AAA discounts that give members up to 10 percent off. The Westin Monache has an outdoor pool, an on-site spa, a daycare center, breakfast available, and a bar and restaurant to enjoy in the evenings. If you're visiting the area during ski season, the Westin Monache Hotel can help you get lift tickets and arrange transfers to and from the mountain.
Another hotel that offers rooms at a discounted rate for AAA members, as well as for seniors, is the Sierra Sky Ranch. It's located right along the road that leads to the park entrance and is tucked away in a secluded part of the forest. It's an intimate hotel, with only 16 rooms, so you're certain to get excellent personalized service from the staff. The hotel has complimentary Wi-Fi, an outdoor swimming pool, and a fireplace in the lobby where you can sit and enjoy a nice hot chocolate after a day in the mountains.
If you're coming with a big group and looking for a great group rate, check out the Sierra Nevada Resort & Spa. This hotel has almost 150 rooms to choose from, so there's plenty of space for you and your friends. It's also family friendly, so if this is a trip for the whole extended family, you'll be more than happy here. The resort has a spa, a game room where you can play pool, a kids' club in case you want a little bit of adult time, and even a nightclub.
Best Value Options in Yosemite National Park, CA
Yosemite National Park has a great selection of mid-range hotels that offer fantastic value for money. The Yosemite Westgate Lodge is packed with value. It has an outdoor pool, large and comfortable rooms, Wi-Fi, a picnic area, an on-site restaurant, free and ample parking, and a spa tub to relax in after a day of hiking. The hotel is also well located. It's only a few miles from the park's entrance and the nearby Buck Meadows, where you can stock up on groceries and sunscreen.
If you're headed to Yosemite in winter and want to find the best value hotel near the ski areas, Alphenhof Lodge is a good option. It's close to all the best winter ski areas in the Sierra Nevadas, and when you come back to the lodge each evening, you can enjoy the fireplace in the lodge, a relaxing swim in the spa pool, or a few apres-ski drinks in the hotel bar. If you're traveling with friends, you can rent one of the two-bedroom cabins so you can dine in your temporary home and save even more on your accommodation by splitting the price.
If you're flying into Fresno-Yosemite International Airport and want to stay a night in a great value hotel, be sure to check out Picadilly Inn Airport. With every room, you get free Wi-Fi, access to the outdoor pool and gym, and a free shuttle to or from the airport.
What to Do in Yosemite National Park, CA
There are so many great activities to keep you busy in Yosemite National Park, no matter what the season. If you are planning a trip to Yosemite during the spring or summer, pack your bike and head out on the trails. There are two main biking trails that you can take, the Half Dome Village and the Yosemite Valley Lodge.
Yosemite National Park is also a fantastic place to come if you enjoy fishing. The fishing season starts on the last Saturday in April and continues through November 15. Just make sure that before you start fishing you have a valid California sport fishing license.
If you're looking for something fun and different to do while you're visiting Yosemite National Park, try your hand at gold panning. Gold panning is part of the history of this region, and you can still pan for gold in Merced River and learn more about gold panning at the California State Mining and Mineral Museum.
The winter is all about skiing in Yosemite. Not only can you go skiing and snowboarding by day, but you can go snowshoeing by night under the moonlight or go ice skating on a frozen lake.
There are so many great activities to keep you busy at Yosemite National Park. Whether you're looking for a fun warm-weather activity or an adventurous winter wonderland, Yosemite has all the natural beauty right at your fingertips. It's sure to be a trip to remember.