Best time to travel to Yosemite

Glaciers in Yosemite 2024-2025

Yosemite Glaciers, symbols of the changing world, may disappear completely within just a few decades

Best time: all year round


The glaciated landscapes of Yosemite are one of its main attractions. Despite global warming, today two glaciers can still be found in the park.

The Lyell Glacier lies on the northern slopes of Mount Lyell, located in the Yosemite Wilderness. It was once Yosemite’s largest, but now it’s almost gone. To date, it has already lost about 90 percent of its volume and 80 percent of its surface area.

The second glacier lies on the Mount Maclure, and has also thinned substantially. Nevertheless, it is a paradise for adventurous visitors seeking wilderness and wanting to see the "living" glacier in action.

Practical info

What is the location of Yosemite's glaciers?

Yosemite's glaciers can be found in the Yosemite Wilderness area, with the Lyell Glacier on Mount Lyell's northern slopes. The other glacier is situated on the Mount Maclure. They are considered popular sightseeing spots for intrepid visitors who want to see the beautiful ice formations up-close. Show more

When is the optimal time to view Yosemite's glaciers?

Usually late summer or early autumn is the peak time for catching a glimpse of the Yosemite glaciers. These months provide warm temperatures that facilitate the melting of the ice, resulting in stunning water streams. However, climate change has significantly impacted the natural processes, making it difficult to predict when the glaciers will be visible. Show more

What is the present status of the Lyell Glacier?

Once the largest in Yosemite, the Lyell Glacier has rapidly decreased in size and may disappear entirely in the future. Currently, the glacier has lost 80% of its surface area and over 90% of its original volume. The glacier has been suffering a reduced mass since the 1930s and, despite conservation efforts, continues to decline due to climate change. Show more

What proportion of the Lyell Glacier has melted?

Currently, roughly 90% of the Lyell Glacier's original volume and 80% of its surface area has melted. The glacier has been losing mass since the 1930s, and recent decades have seen an increased melting rate. Climate change is the primary cause of the glacier's dramatic decline in growth and size. Show more

Can hikers access the Mount Maclure glacier?

Hiking on Mount Maclure is a fantastic opportunity to see a 'living' glacier up close, but visitors are not allowed to hike on the icy surface due to the risks and unpredictability involved. Hikers can still admire the glacier's beauty by maintaining a safe distance from areas with falling ice and other hazards. Show more

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