Top 5 Ways to Stay Cool in Yosemite

With the unseasonably warm temperatures in the mid-90s forecast for Yosemite over the next few days, we asked our awesome fans over on Facebook for some of their favorite tips on staying cool in the park. We’ve summarized some of their wisdom here. Although, of course, as one of our fans points out, “Just being in Yosemite makes you a lot cooler….”

Take advantage of the many lakes and rivers

Take advantage of Yosemite’s lakes and rivers to stay cool during the summer.

There are countless swimming holes and beaches in Yosemite for those who are looking to cool off during the warmest part of the day. The Merced River runs down the center of Yosemite Valley, and is lined with many wonderful sandy beaches that are perfect for swimming, water play, or just relaxing with a good book. Just make sure you stick to the sandy beaches and respect the areas closed for rehabilitation so that you don’t compact or erode soil around fragile riverbank plants. A few favorite spots include Housekeeping Camp beaches or Sentinel Beach. During the early part of the season when the water is high, but not too cold, rental rafts are available at Curry Village if you want to enjoy a scenic float down the river.

Head for the High Country

At ~4000 feet, Yosemite Valley is already cooler than much of the surrounding areas, and people from the central valley have been coming up to Yosemite to cool off for decades. And the higher you go, the cooler it gets. At ~8000ft, the Tuolumne area can be 10 degrees cooler than the Valley.
If you want to combine these two top tips –Tenaya Lake’s expansive beaches in a spectacular mountain setting got a lot of votes from our fans.

Drink Water Often

In its Heat Safety Fact Sheet, OSHA recommends drinking every 15 minutes, even if you aren’t thirsty. Drinking water helps keeps your body’s own cooling systems running smoothly.

Bring a reusable water bottle and fill up on fresh cool water from Yosemite’s taps. Yosemite’s tap water is healthy, clean and very drinkable. Download the Green Guide to find water refill stations along with other useful information on protecting Yosemite’s environment. Be sure to treat any water you pull from rivers or lakes.

Be a Shade Seeker

It can be surprising how much cooler it is in the shade here than in the sun. If you don’t want to just relax in the shade all day, consider bringing some of that cooling shade with you wherever you go. Sunhats provide relief from the heat of the sun, and light-weight long sleeved shirts can actually be cooler than being exposed to the sun.

Know Your Limits

Knowing your limits is always a good idea. In hot weather, you may not be able to go as far or as fast as you’re used to. Take your time, and rest often (in the shade if you can). It’s also important to be aware of the symptoms of heat illness; dizziness, headache, abnormally fast heart beat, cramps, nausea and vomiting. If you see any of these signs, it is a good idea to stop and take some time to cool off.

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Fee-Free – Get Outdoors Day

You can get into Yosemite National Park free on Saturday, June, 9, 2012. The National Park Service is celebrating National Get Outdoors Day, with this opportunity for people to get out and visit Yosemite (and other public lands) without having to pay the regular entrance fees.

National Get Outdoors Day began in 2008 to encourage the American people to get out and visit parks and especially to reconnect young people with the wonder and excitement of nature. Dedicating this specific day to being outdoors and experiencing nature, encourages people to spend more time outdoors through-out the year.

Fee-free days are a great way to introduce someone to the beauty of Yosemite National Park, and save a little money in the process. Other upcoming fee-free dates in 2012 include:

National Public Lands Day (September 29)
Veterans Day Weekend (November 10-12).

Here are some tips to have a better park experience:
Arrive early, use public transportation and the free shuttle buses in the park, stay hydrated and above all make sure you have fun!