10 Amazing Things To Do in Yosemite at Night
Yosemite National Park is one of California’s most beautiful and popular destinations.
However, most people only get to experience the park during the day, and while daytime is undoubtedly the best time to enjoy Yosemite’s natural wonders, there is something special about seeing the park at night.
In this post, you will find the best things to do in Yosemite National Park at night.
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Best things to do in Yosemite
From stargazing to moonlight hiking and camping, there are many ways to explore the park after dark.
Here are some of my favorites:
Stargazing is one of the best things to do in Yosemite at night since the park is one of the best places in the world for contemplating stars.
2- Have dinner at The Ahwahnee Hotel
The Ahwahnee Hotel is one of the most iconic buildings in Yosemite, and it’s definitely worth a visit, even if you’re not staying there.
The hotel has some restaurants, including the renowned Dining Room, which offers an upscale dining experience.
If you’re looking for something a bit more casual, the bar at the hotel is a great option. It serves a variety of appetizers and drinks, and it’s the perfect place to relax after a long day of hiking.
One of the best ways to experience Yosemite at night is to camp under the stars.
There are a number of great camping spots in the park, and you can even find some that are right next to waterfalls or other scenic attractions.
4- Explore Tuolumne Meadows
Tuolumne Meadows is one of the most beautiful areas of Yosemite, and it’s definitely worth exploring, especially at night. When the sun goes down, the meadows take on a whole new look, and you may even see some wildlife that you wouldn’t see during the day.
There are a number of different trails you can take to explore Tuolumne Meadows, and you can even camp overnight if you want to really experience the wilderness.
5- Hike the Lower Yosemite Falls at night
Another fun idea is hiking the Lower Yosemite Falls.
The hike to the falls is about 1.5 miles round trip, and it’s considered to be moderate in difficulty.
6- Go ice skating at Curry Village
One of the best things to do in Yosemite in the winter is to go ice skating at Curry Village.
The village has an outdoor rink that’s open from November to March, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy a winter night. Even if you don’t want to skate, you can still enjoy the village, which has several shops and restaurants.
7- Fireside storytelling
Yosemite’s Fireside Storytelling program happens beside the beautiful fireplace in The Ahwahnee Great Lounge.
Every night from mid-December to early April, a different storyteller shares tales of Yosemite’s rich history and culture.
It’s the perfect activity for a cold winter night, and it’s a great way to learn more about the park.
8- Make smores by the fire
Nothing says “night at the park” like some delicious smores! All you need for this activity is some marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers.
Just roast the marshmallows over the fire and then sandwich them between the chocolate and graham crackers. It’s a delicious treat that’s perfect for a cold night.
9- Glacier Point Starry Night Skies Over Yosemite
Glacier Point Starry Night Skies Over Yosemite is a program hosted by the park, where you will join a Yosemite Hospitality interpretive naturalist on a bus tour to Glacier Point for an astronomy program under the stars.
The views from Glacier Point are incredible, and on a clear night, you can see an unbelievable number of stars.
10- Go on a Halloween cemetery tour (October)
One of the best things to do in Yosemite in October is to go on a Halloween cemetery tour.
The tours take place at the Pioneer Cemetery, located near Yosemite Village. They usually last for about an hour, and they’re a lot of fun.
You can read more about the Halloween tours here.
11- Take a moonlit walk
Walking around Yosemite at night is a great way to unwind after a day of exploring the park. Just be sure to bring a flashlight to guide you, as it can be difficult to see in the dark.
12- Have a drink at The Ahwahnee Bar
If you’re looking for a place to relax and have a drink, the Ahwahnee Bar is the perfect spot. The bar is located in The Ahwahnee Hotel, and it has a cozy atmosphere.
The bar offers a wide selection of beer, wine, and spirits, and the bartenders are always happy to make recommendations.
Their pretzels were specially delicious!
Tips for exploring Yosemite at night
There are a few things to keep in mind when exploring Yosemite at night.
- Be sure to bring a flashlight or headlamp.
- Wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers.
- Be aware of your surroundings and stay on marked trails.
- Pay attention to wildlife and give them space.
Where to stay in Yosemite Valley
There are many wonderful places to stay inside Yosemite Valley.
If you’re looking for an upscale hotel, the Ahwahnee Hotel is a great option.
The hotel is located right in the heart of Yosemite Valley, and it offers stunning views of iconic landmarks like Half Dome and Glacier Point.
If you’re looking for something a little more budget-friendly, the Yosemite Valley Lodge is a good option. The lodge is located just a short walk from many of the valley’s most popular attractions, and it offers plenty of amenities like a swimming pool and restaurants.
Campgrounds are also available in Yosemite Valley, and they are typically less expensive than hotels or lodges. However, campgrounds can fill up quickly during peak season, so making reservations in advance is essential.
Personally, I stayed in Yosemite Lodge, and it was lovely!
Best time to visit Yosemite
The park is open all year round, but the best time to visit depends on what you’re looking for.
Late spring is the best time to go if you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of waterfalls at their peak. May and June see the most rainfall in Yosemite, which means the waterfalls are flowing at their strongest. However, this also means that trails can be muddy and crowded.
Another option is to visit in fall when the leaves turn, and the temperatures cool down. This is an ideal time for hiking and camping and for taking pictures.
Finally, winter is a great time to visit if you’re hoping to avoid the crowd and see how incredibly beautiful Yosemite is covered in snow. During this time of year the roads can be icy, so make sure to have chains for your tires.
Best Yosemite Tours
Going on a tour is a fantastic way of hiking advanced trails that last several days and require guiding or even just getting to Yosemite without driving.
Here are some of the best tours to take in Yosemite:
Yosemite National Park: Full-Day Tour from San Francisco
Visit Yosemite National Park on this day trip from San Francisco.
Upon arrival in the state’s most famous national park, have lunch or skip straight to the park to begin exploring. Follow your guide bus tour of the area and discover the park’s charms on your own during your visit.
4 Day Half Dome Backpacking
There’s only one way to get away from the crowds in Yosemite: backcountry adventures.
On this epic four-day tour, meet your expert guide in Half Dome Village, and set out to see the park in its true majesty. Spend your days exploring spots like Happy Isles and Sunrise Lake, break for excellent camp meals cooked by your guide, and take the hike of a lifetime—climbing up Half Dome.
Off-Road Giant Sequoia 4×4 Tour
Go off-roading in a Jeep to explore a Giant Sequoia forest near the south entrance to Yosemite National Park.
Enjoy a fun 40-minute ride into the forest, followed by an easy hike through the trees. This 2-hour tour from Fish Camp provides both 4WD thrills and an excellent opportunity to see California’s massive trees up close.
Yosemite Valley 3-Day Camping Adventure
Get back to nature on a 3-day camping adventure in the Yosemite Valley.
Spend two nights camping in the great outdoors, hiking, and swimming in Yosemite National Park. All camping gear is provided.
5 Day Cathedral Lakes to Clouds Rest & Half Dome
If you’re looking for a genuinely memorable Yosemite backpacking experience, this is it.
Over five days, you’ll hike in the high country of the beloved John Muir Trail, snaking between high alpine lakes, rugged peaks, cascading waterfalls, and lush valleys—and up to the summit of Half Dome.
With a trained guide providing tips, tricks, and five-star meals, your backpacking trip will be a stress-free-yet-daring adventure.
From Lake Tahoe: Yosemite National Park Full-Day Tour
Visit Yosemite National Park on a narrated full-day trip from South Lake Tahoe.
Take a seasonal hike to Bridalveil Falls or Yosemite Falls. Travel by luxury mini-bus from site to site, stopping to take photos and enjoy a picnic lunch in the valley.
6 Day Yosemite Backpacking – The Hidden Yosemite
You’ll truly get away from the crowds with this backpacking tour through the northern, quieter portion of Yosemite National Park.
Perhaps the wildest section of the Sierra Nevada, you’ll follow your guide—who handles all your meals—to backcountry lakes, around gorgeous alpine peaks, across lush canyons and old-growth forests, along the PCT, and camp beside the famous Tuolumne River.
Forget worrying about permits and details, and get straight into the wild.
Things to see near Yosemite
While many visitors come to Yosemite to hike, camp, and explore the great outdoors, there are plenty of things to do near Yosemite National Park.
If you’re looking for things to do in the surrounding area, here are a few suggestions:
Visit Bass Lake
Bass Lake is a beautiful lake located just outside of Yosemite National Park. Mountains surround the lake, and it’s a great place to go for a swim, go fishing, or go for a hike.
There are also a number of different restaurants and bars near the lake, so you can grab a bite to eat or have a drink after a day of exploring.
Explore Sequoia National Park
Located only a few hours from Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park is home to some of the tallest trees in the world. The park is also home to a number of different hiking trails.
Visit Kings Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon National Park is located near Sequoia National Park, and it’s home to some of the deepest canyons in North America.
Go swimming in Mono Lake
Mono Lake is a large saline lake located near Yosemite National Park. The lake is known for its strange formations created by the high levels of salt in the water.
The lake is also home to a number of different species of birds, so it’s a great place to go for a hike or go birdwatching.
Wrap-up: The best things to do in Yosemite at night
That’s a wrap! Now you know all the best things to do in Yosemite National Park at night, plus other valuable information for your trip.
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