Visiting Yosemite in April? Here are the most important things to pack!
We just got home from visiting Yosemite, the Sierra Nevada area and Bass Lake, Ca……and had a total blast (no wonder they are one of the most popular destinations in North America). As the seasons change, a spring visit to Yosemite in April is the best time for hiking, seeing waterfalls, and truly enjoying all that the Yosemite Valley has to offer. We found the weather to be great……not too hot and not too cold (no wonder this is peak season for trips, this is a great time to explore the entire park with mostly sunny days). And since we had done our research, we packed just the right items for layering clothes and making each experience as comfortable as possible. With a little preparation, April in Yosemite National Park is perfect for family vacations!
For a full family travel guide, check out our blog post on a family visit to Bass Lake and Yosemite!
Yosemite in April: What to Pack
The weather is a huge factor in what you'll need to pack for a Bass Lake and Yosemite visit. Keep in mind, in higher elevations, the higher you go, the cooler the weather will be (it tends to be about 15 degrees warmer in lower elevations like Bass Lake than in Yosemite on the valley floor and up into the hiking areas). You can anticipate that this time of year the mornings and evenings will be cool (around 30 to 40 degrees) and that daytime will be between 50 and 70 degrees. It CAN still rain and snow in Yosemite in April, but it's not as frequent and you will see quite a bit of snow melt starting to happen. For our trip? Neither was predicted.
Note, if you are planning to head to the Mariposa Grove or up north to the Tuolumne Grove these will most likely still have snow. Plan accordingly.
Activities: As you're packing, make a list of planned activities so that you can be sure you're prepared. For us? We had kayaking around Bass Lake on the agenda (during a cooler morning), hiking the Mist Trail or to Lower Yosemite Falls (this is a great easy trail option and a good idea for hiking newbies), visiting Glacier Point for spectacular views, stopping for a great view of El Capitan, and taking some time to picnic in Tuolumne Meadows, even our first time ax throwing on the list of activities. Almost everything was outside, and we were definitely going to be physically active (during our visit the shuttle buses and public transportation options weren't running, so we planned on walking). So for me? Comfort and function were key.
Clothing: In general, I wanted comfortable clothes that were made for being physically active. We packed a ton of easily layerable items from Athleta (Lydia had items from Athleta Girl). They were perfect for morning to night wear, and did a great job layered. We wore long pants or joggers each day, and then layered tee shirts, sweatshirts and lighter jackets during the day. At night or in the early morning, we switched our lighter jackets for heavier ones (we also brought rain gear just in case but ended up not needing it, we had average temperatures for early april during our trip). Almost everywhere in the Yosemite Valley is casual, people head to dinner after a day of hiking…..so there is no need to pack fancier clothes.
Shop our Clothes:
Jackets: Since the temperature varies greatly in Yosemite in April, jackets are key to being comfortable. I packed a lighter jacket for myself that was perfect for daytime use (and so did Lydia). During the morning and evenings we used gloves, hats, and a heavier jacket.
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Hiking Boots and Socks: I did a LOT of research about hiking boots. The last thing I wanted was to be uncomfortable while hiking the popular trails to the epic waterfalls that Yosemite is so famous for. Unlike my usual overpacking, I packed a pair of sneakers and a pair of hiking boots for this trip….and that was IT. I wore the hiking boots everyday (even off the hiking trails), and the sneakers were just for the drive to and from San Diego. So a great pair of hiking boots? Will be pretty much all you need (and a cleaner pair of shoes).
Shop Our Hiking Boots and Socks:
Backpack: No purses necessary. I brought one great backpack (one of my favorite leather backpacks) that worked for everything from carrying food on hikes to keeping my camera dry while kayaking, to even a small guide to spring wildflowers.
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Other than these staples…….I'd suggest packing sunscreen (yes you can still get sunburned in the winter and spring), a great camera, cell phone battery packs, and snacks (remember to only throw food into the correct cans — there are tons of black bears in the park), and a bottle for carrying plenty of water. Worst case? You can grab anything you need at the visitor center, but it will cost more than buying at home and carrying it in.
Have you been to Yosemite in April? What is on your must pack list?
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