Yosemite National Park in October mesmerizes, as a combination of thinning crowds and transitioning ecosystems make for rich opportunities for adventure and nature observation.
While most of Yosemite’s native trees are evergreen conifers, the park does harbor several notable broadleaf species that herald the autumnal wind-down of the year with brilliant foliage color shows.
Fall Colors Among the Maple and Dogwood Trees
Some of the richest color displays come courtesy of two beautiful trees: bigleaf maple and Pacific dogwood. Both are Pacific Slope natives that stand out most when sporting spring blooms and autumn foliage.
The rich yellows of maple canopies shimmer on the slopes and in Yosemite Valley vistas, typically marking drainages. (As they begin to drop, you have fine opportunities to see bigleaf maple leaves—biggest of any maple on Earth—up close.) Look for the more variable hues of dogwoods, often blazing crimson, on the valley floor as well as scattered in mid-elevation conifer forests.
The Rest of the Cast
In addition to bigleaf maples, several riparian (riverside) trees common to Yosemite Valley turn golden in fall: cottonwoods and white alder. Yosemite’s black oaks aren’t the most vibrant in autumn, but their yellow-to-brown leaves are handsome in their own right.
You can see a few brilliantly turning quaking aspens along Highway 120, but, as photographer G Dan Mitchell notes in this great blog post, the richest aspen groves are found on the east slopes of the Sierra—worth the drive!
It’s not just Yosemite’s trees that welcome the shortening days with blowout tones: Poison-oak flares fierce red (stunning to look at, but hands off!), while various forest shrubs, such as whortleberry, add stunning color to shadowy understories.
Set up shop in a cozy Scenic Wonders cabin and enjoy the fruits of October in Yosemite National Park: the fabulous reds, yellows, and browns of Sierra Nevada autumn hardwoods.
Make Your Reservations Today
If you’d love to see the fall colors among the maple and dogwood trees in Yosemite this year, consider making your reservations with Yosemite’s Scenic Wonders. We offer Yosemite reservations within the gates of the park. With one of our cozy cabins, condominiums, or homes, your Yosemite accommodations will be just minutes from the foliage.
Give us a call at 1-888-YOSEMITE (1-888-967-3648) to learn about our rentals and to make your Yosemite reservations today.
Yosemite National Park Blog
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Photo credit: Vincent Lock