Yosemite National Park is always amazing, but never more-so than during the winter. Granite boulders with their shoulders hunched under a blanket of snow; partially frozen waterfalls, often with ice cones at the bottom and frazil ice in the creek bed; the contrast of fluffy white snow balanced on top of the wintergreen branches; it all adds up to a picture-perfect postcard.
Winter in Yosemite means the hoards of trekkers are gone, the wildlife is more in evidence, and the hotel rates are at their lowest of the year. But it doesn't mean the place shuts down and there's nothing to do. Time your visit to enjoy these 10 uniquely wintertime things to do in Yosemite:
- Ice skate at Curry Village beneath the spectacular view of Half Dome rising above you
- Visit the Yosemite Museum to learn about Yosemite's Native Americans and how they made the park their own
- Join a naturalist for a guided snowshoe hike to discover how Yosemite's flora and fauna survive in the High Sierra
- Take a photography class delivered by an Ansel Adams Gallery photography expert
- Play in the snow at California's original ski resort, Badger Pass; learn to ski, or catch some air
- Reserve Ostrander Ski Hut for an extensive backcountry multi-day ski experience 10 miles from everywhere
- Take the historic Ahwahnee tour to step back into the 1920s and '30s as you visit the magnificent halls and great rooms
- Or curl up in front of a walk-in-sized fireplace at the Ahwahnee for a cozy read or a comfy chat with family and friends
- Go take a hike - no, really - follow the trail along Tenaya Creek's windy path to visit Mirror Lake, sure to be known as Mirror Meadow someday
- Explore the majestic groves of Giant Sequoias at Mariposa Grove by snowshoe with a Yosemite Conservancy naturalist
Yosemite is extraordinarily beautiful in the wintertime with its dramatic changes in weather - sometimes bright and sunny, sometimes with fog hanging suspended in the air as it freezes, and dark brooding clouds all around.