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Yosemite Adventures and Outdoor Activities
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Yosemite Adventures

If you're visiting Yosemite, be prepared for active adventures of all kinds! You can bike it. Climb it. Scale it. Row it. Raft it. The opportunities for great Yosemite outdoor adventures are yours for the taking.

Have Your Fill of Yosemite Adventures

Whether your taste for Yosemite adventures runs to the extreme or serene, you have plenty of options for outdoor activities to suit your style.

Nearly a dozen miles of paved bikeways wind through the eastern end of Yosemite Valley. California law mandates bicyclists under 18 years of age wear a helmet. For your safety and to protect Yosemite National Park, please follow paved bikeways and park roads (unless the road is closed to bike use). All bikes are prohibited from pedestrian and hiking trails. Rental bikes, baby jogging strollers and bicycle baby trailers are available locally.

Yosemite is one of the world's greatest climbing areas. Just keep in mind that climbing does have an environmental impact, and it can be dangerous, so be careful for both your own safety and the welfare of the park. For climbing instruction and guide service, call Yosemite Mountaineering School at 209-372-1000 for information on rates and schedules.

Yosemite's streams and river fishing season are closed until the last Saturday of April. The only exception is Frog Creek near Lake Eleanor, where fishing season doesn't open until 15 June to protect spawning rainbow trout. All lakes and reservoirs are open to fishing year-round. Fishing regulations for Yosemite National Park follow those set by the State of California, including the requirement for a valid California sport fishing license for anyone 16 years or older.

Special Regulations Regarding Yosemite Fishing Adventures:

  • No live or dead minnows or other bait fish, amphibians, non-preserved fish eggs, or roe may be used or possessed.
  • Fishing from bridges and docks is prohibited in Yosemite Valley and El Portal (east of Foresta Bridge):
  • Rainbow trout are catch-and-release only.
  • Brown trout limit is five per day or ten in possession.
  • Only artificial lures or flies with barbless hooks may be used; bait fishing is prohibited.
  • Fishing supplies, including fishing licenses, are available at the Yosemite Village Sport Shop, Curry Village Mountain Shop, and at the general stores in Wawona, Crane Flat, and Tuolumne Meadows.

Yosemite adventures include rafting along the Merced River, which is very popular during summer. You can rent a raft (typically in June and July, but it varies from year to year, depending on water level) or bring your own. (Other nonmotorized vessels, such as kayaks, are also permitted.)

Rafting is permitted on the Merced River between Stoneman Bridge (near Curry Village) and Sentinel Beach Picnic Area between 10 am and 6 pm under the following conditions: the river stage (depth) must read less than 6.5 feet at Sentinel Bridge and the sum of air temperature and water temperature must be more than 100°F. You must have a personal flotation device immediately available for each occupant of the raft. Rafting is also permitted on the South Fork of the Merced River in the Wawona area. Some visitors enjoy kayaking the calm waters of Tenaya Lake.

Yosemite is the ulimate place for hiking adventures, from extremely difficult to moderately challenging. Click here for Yosemite Trail Information.

Horseback Riding
Guided horseback rides are available through Yosemite Concession Services from spring through fall. Two-hour, half- and full-day rides depart daily from stables in Yosemite Valley, Wawona, and Tuolumne Meadows (in summer).

Swimming is permitted in all bodies of water in the park except Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and above waterfalls. Swimming in the Merced River is allowed, though you should be careful of swift currents, cold water and hazards in the river (e.g., trees).

Skiing, Snowshoeing, Ice Skating
During winter, there is often snow in Yosemite Valley and at Wawona, and always at Badger Pass and Glacier Point. Snow generally stays throughout the winter at Crane Flat. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing can be done at any of these places (snow permitting). There are nearly 350 miles of trails and roads in the park, with over 90 miles of marked trails and 25 miles of machine-groomed track beginning at Badger Pass. Equipment can be rented at Badger Pass. Downhill skiing and snowboarding are popular at Badger, with extensive groomed cross-country ski trails maintained from Badger Pass and Crane Flat. Ranger-led snowshoe walks are available from Badger Pass throughout the winter season. Moonlight snowshoe walks, snow tubing and a range of other exciting winter activities are available.

Click here for more on Yosemite Outdoor Adventures.