We’re well into spring, and signs of the season are popping, budding, blooming and flowing all over Yosemite. Here are a few of the hallmarks we’ve noticed — what seasonal shifts have caught your attention?
Sign 1: Outside time. Conservancy colleagues, program participants and park fans have been embracing extra daylight hours and warmer weather to soak up all that Yosemite has to offer this time of year.
Early in the season, a Conservancy team member shared a snapshot from a quiet, snowy ski jaunt at Crane Flat; a few weeks ago, blue skies welcomed a group of visitors to the Valley for our intro birding weekend with naturalist guide Andrea Canapary. Our Outdoor Adventure programs are in full swing — check out our adventure calendar to see what’s coming up this summer and fall! (Good news: Your program registration counts as a park entry reservation.)
Sign 2: Floral decor. Poppies and redbud launched the season with a dazzling display, painting the Merced River Canyon in orange and purple.
Take a peek at Yosemite National Park’s wildflower tips for detailed guidance on where and when to see other spring and summer blooms, such as azalea, larkspur, shooting stars and lupines.
When you’re admiring wildflowers in Yosemite (and elsewhere), remember to stay on designated trails to avoid squashing plants, and be sure to brush off your shoes and clothes before and after your wander to remove any invasive seeds that may have hitched a ride.
Sign 3: Art. Yosemite abounds in artistic inspiration in every season, of course, but we’re especially excited about it this spring, because our art classes are back after a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic! While Happy Isles Art and Nature Center remains closed, we’re hosting outdoor, safely socially-distanced art classes in the central part of Yosemite Valley.
We’re grateful to our volunteer art instructors for bringing their time and expertise to this program, and to everyone who has signed up to take a class this year! Browse our art class offerings for the rest of the season (which runs through October), and please be sure to register online in advance.
Sign 4: Dogwoods. Nothing says spring in the Sierra Nevada quite like dogwood trees in bloom. As longtime Yosemite Conservancy naturalist Pete Devine recently observed, this spring’s dogwoods call to mind soft light bulbs brightening shady paths and shores. The white bracts, which look like petals, help attract pollinators to the cluster of tiny greenish yellow flowers clustered at their center.
Other signs of the shifting seasons to keep an eye out for: The Conservancy’s naturalist walks (one- to two-hour programs, offered Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays), the Yosemite Bike Share, volunteers (back in action this season!), and research and restoration projects — you might spy peregrine surveyor using a telescope to zoom in on falcon nests, a crew repairing trails in the Valley, or scientists studying giant sequoias in Merced Grove.
When we asked colleagues about signs of spring they’d been noticing around the park, one person sent a photo of a newt squished on the pavement. We’re not going to post that particular image, but it’s a good reminder of the many creatures, from big (bears) to small (amphibians), that may be moving around and crossing park roads this time of year. Watch your step and your wheels!