Yosemite surf season and weather
Yosemite captured the world’s imagination through the stunning imagery of Ansel Adams nearly 100 years ago. The park’s rugged beauty is central to the world’s imagination when we think of the natural beauty of the West.
In winter most of the park is blocked off and covered with snow at the higher elevations. Temps hover around freezing at night and jump up to 50 Fahrenheit during the day. But remember, this is California and winter heatwaves are not uncommon. Summer is hot and dry with temps in the 80s and relatively dry air. The transition seasons of autumn and spring are best, especially in April and May when the snowmelt swells rivers and lakes and the wildflowers are in bloom.
Yosemite surfing spots and beaches
Yosemite is a hotbed of outdoor activity, and while there is no surfing here, stand up paddle boarding is the next best thing. As flat water paddling took off, Yosemite opened the section of the Merced River to SUPing. The quiet and calm nature of stand up paddle boarding make it one of the best ways to take in the natural beauty of Yosemite.
Whitewater rafting on the other hand is an adrenaline-soaked group activity that takes advantage of the river’s violent nature. And if you want to up your adrenaline even more, some of the best rock climbing in the world is done in Yosemite.
Yosemite outdoor surf activities
Yosemite Mountain Guides is a company that takes you out into the bush for adventure camping, backpacking and rock climbing. They offer a 23-day-out-in-the-wild-with-no-one-else-for-miles backpacking trip starting at $5500. Rock climbing guided day tours start at $275 for half day and $395 for a full day.
Zephyr Whitewater Expeditions run half and full day excursions through some of the Yosemite Valley’s best rapids. For $178 you get a full day and lunch on a trip that covers 16 miles and some incredible scenery. Half day five-mile excursions start at $112.
Heidi’s Ski Shop is an Yosemite institution. Located just outside the park they rent stand up paddle boards during the spring, summer and autumn months. The staff is friendly and helpful and will recommend the right SUP and paddle for your skill level. They are old school here and do everything by phone or text, so call for pricing.
Hotels in Yosemite for sufers and water sports lovers
The Rush Creek Lodge treats the Yosemite Valley as the rock star she is, shamelessly offering a “backstage pass” to the park. 400-square foot Lodge Rooms are available off-peak days for $255 and sleep four guests. The lodge offers wellness retreats, outings and special music events but the main attraction is nearby natural wonders. Their staff give the best local advice on where to go, whether it’s for a Stand Up Paddle down a river, a hike through the wilderness or a simple craft beer tasting tour.
Yosemite Cedar Lodge offers affordable stays within the park and is centrally located near whitewater rafting and SUPing spots. It’s a down home throw-back lodge with subtle country charm and all modern amenities. The owners take the Western work ethic to heart keeping the lodge open for business 365 days per year. Rooms are simple and modest with a mid-century country feel and start at $89
Established in 1921 and built out from a simple main unit, the Evergreen Lodge is a classic Yosemite resort catering to a wide range of park visitors. They’ll set up a whitewater rafting excursion, fly fishing expedition or point you to the best SUP spots. The facilities include all modern amenities with some extras like a pool overlooking the pine forest and a central fire pit for stories and marshmallow roasts. There’s even a massage cabana for when you’re tired from paddling, rowing or casting that line. Rooms start $180.
Yosemite is a great vacation place for water sports activities.
Yosemite surfing guide and tips prepared by Bryan Dickerson (wavepoolmag.com) for Dailystoke.com’s surf guides.
Photo by Billy Onjea