View Full Version : Yosemite or Bryce Canyon last week in March
I am planning a trip for the last week in March to either Yosemite or Bryce canyon. I've never been to Yosemite so what are the conditions such as weather, road, accomodations at that time of year. Between the two locations which would be the better? Thanks.
I've never been to Bryce in March, but Yosemite Valley is a nice destination. Here's the pros and cons of Yosemite in March as I see it:
Cons: Tioga Pass road will probably be closed Glacier Point road will probably be closed The waterfalls probably won't have 'peaked' The run-off water is icy and treacherous(if you're planning on fording rivers)
Pros: No crowds No mosquitos(yet) Well, its Yosemite!
With the winter road closures, you'll be pretty much limited to the Valley and the Wawona area, but its still a great time to visit because of the lack of crowds.
Have a great trip wherever you go!
Can't say which would be better.
I spent some time in Yosemite in March 2002 and April 2003, and my wife was there last March. The weather can range from cold with snow to warm and sunny. Last year my wife and her Dad walked around in light coats and shirtsleeves most of the time during the day. One month later, in early April, I experienced a snowstorm early in the long weekend, and it was pretty cold for a couple of days. By the time I left, it was sunny and the snow was melting in the valley. Snow in Yosemite is beautiful.
You will need tire chains, as they are required (and a good idea in case of snow) in the winter time. The Tioga Road will likely be closed, as will the road to Glacier Point (past the Badger Pass ski area). If the snow is heavy, it might be a while before the roads are cleared.
Bryce- cold. Cold. Wind is a very good possibility and it looks like the snow may linger on the ground. Color, color, color. Views forever. Lots of other wonderful, fanciful rock nearby. Can't beat Utah any time of year. Accomodations, excellent and uncrowded. Yosemite- wet wet wet. Water everywhere though there won't be as much water in the falls unless we get some more snow. Few leaves on the trees yet but depending on the weather, which is incredibly varied at that time of year, the oaks may be partly leafed out. Anything from clear blue skies to cold and snowy. It's Yosemite and that spells magic. Light crowds though if it is sunny and warm you will still find it half full. A magical place where you can shoot everything in your bag and still need more film. Ansel Adams Gallery sells most types of film through 4x5. Lots of places to stay in Mariposa and if you can afford it, in The Village. Either place you visit will be rewarding. Colder in Bryce and wetter in Yosemite. Have fun.
James, I've only been to Yosemite once (2001), and assumed that the viewing spot just after the tunnel was where AA's "clearing winter storm" was made. Some very tall trees were beginning to intrude on the view here, and someone said that the picture was actually taken from higher up at Inspiration Point, above those trees. Is that true, and if so how does one get to Inspiration Point (I didn't see any signs to it)?
To get to inspiration point you catch the trail that is across the road, to the left as you face the tunnel. The trail is marked, but it is not super obvious. Just take the trail up the mountain to Inspiration Point.
Keith S. Walklet
As a former resident (14 years) and still frequent visitor, I'd say anytime in Yosemite promises to be special. March is a seasonal transition month in Yosemite Valley. Visitation is light, the weather very changeable and the vegetation bare. The light is still low on the horizon, so fine photographs can be made throughout the day.
In Yosemite Valley, the waterfalls will be running, though not at peak. The south side of the valley (in the shade all day) will still have snow, and heavy frost forms as warm daytime temps alternate with below freezing nighttime temps. This also results in low fog. If you get rain, that also means fog. Wonderful conditions for moody landscapes. The east-west orientation of the valley is an ideal outdoor studio, as you can work in the shadows all day, photograph into the shadows, or work with reflections of the sunlit cliffs from the shady side of the valley.
But, be prepared for anything. March can be rainy in California and that can mean rain or snow in Yosemite Valley. Depending on what elevation you find yourself at (El Portal is 3,000 feet, Yosemite Valley 4,000), you may experience everything from a snowy landscape to spring wildflowers. The last big snowfall in Yosemite Valley each year typically is in April, though it can snow anytime it feels like it. As mentioned in an earlier post, Tioga Road is closed between Crane Flat and Lee Vining. The Glacier Point Road is also closed for the winter (it usually opens the same week as the Tioga Road- around Memorial Day) and groomed with cross-country ski tracks tne miles out to Glacier Point.
Between Mariposa and Yosemite Valley route 140 snakes 36 miles through the gorgeous Merced River Canyon. Wildflowers are blooming late February through April at the lower elevations. Hite's Cove is a popular trail for wildflowers.
The color of the light (if you work with color film) is some of the best to be had at sunrise, and particularly sunset as the sunlight is filtered through the haze of California's San Jaoquin Valley. In fact, the most spectacular sunset I ever witnessed in the park happened on March 15. It was so amazing people were literally out in the meadows whistling and clapping, calling each other on the phone.
As far as places to stay, it is easier to come by rooms in the valley in March. Prices, midweek, especially are better. For rates, go to yosemitepark.com. There are other B&Bs in the area (El Portal, Foresta, Yosemite West) as well, though if you opt for this option, snowy conditions can make the drive to the higher elevation options (Yosemite West) a challenge.
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