Yosemite’s second December snow storm is rolling in just in time for the peak of the holiday season!
While we’ll never say no to squeezing in a few final 2020 hikes (weather permitting), we want to take a moment to spotlight some of our favorite winter activities that keep Yosemite National Park and the surrounding area extra magical this time of year.
A couple winter hikes we still have on repeat:
Mirror Lake via Valley Loop Trail (Yosemite Valley)
This 4.4-mile moderately trafficked loop trail is located near Yosemite Valley. It’s a gorgeous hike also commonly used for snowshoeing in the winter. In times of lighter snowfall, consider wearing traction cleats or crampons, but in milder winter months hiking boots should do the trick.
Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias Trail (Fish Camp)
This 6.2-mile loop trail is accessible year-round, though roads leading to the trailhead are subject to seasonal closures, so check with NPS before heading out. Snowshoes have been recommended by many hikers in the thick of winter, but for milder cold weather conditions, hiking boots should be good to go. The first two miles of this hike are mostly uphill so be sure to pack plenty of water!
Snowshoeing in Yosemite Valley
While some areas of the park are closed due to inclement weather, Yosemite Valley remains open and full of life. Take advantage of it after a fresh dusting of snow and you’ll find yourself inside an old Microsoft screensaver, but with the kind of fresh air that your lungs have to breathe to believe.
Snowshoeing offers an exhilarating adventure of frolicking off-the-beaten-path and there are trails to suit every level of experience. Just make sure to check the weather and plan ahead of time as cell reception can be hard to come by in the valley.
Curry Village Ice Skating
Since 1928, visitors have taken in mother nature’s beauty with blue skies and snow-dusted mountain tops above, and solid ice beneath them. Curry Village Ice Skating Rink is open December-March, weather permitting.
In addition to ice skating, you can cozy up around fire pits with prime views of Half Dome.
See full details, hours, and pricing here.
Some of the best stargazing in California can be found in and around Yosemite. Immerse yourself in a mesmerizing line-up of winter constellations set against a black backdrop uninterrupted by city lights.
One of our favorite spots to catch the celestial light show is the Rim of the World Vista.
Explore the California Caverns
Located in Vallecito, CA, Moaning Caverns Adventure Park offers year-round tours, adventures and activities for all audiences.
Begin your adventure by descending a metal spiral staircase into the caves that gold minders first explored in the 1850s and 1860s. Whether you’re inspired by the thought of old-fashioned spelunking, panning for gemstones, or axe throwing, the caves promise a unique and exciting adventure.
Mercer Caverns are also open throughout the Winter season, offering tours, gem mining, and a whole lot of history.
These are just a few of the many adventures in and around Yosemite National Park this Winter. You’ll also find apple orchards in Arnold, wineries in Murphys, and historical markers scattered from Jamestown, through Sonora, Groveland, and up to Yosemite’s doorstep!
Whatever you’re looking for, from active adventures to scenic strolls, you’ll find it out here. Keep an eye on the weather, dress accordingly, and gear up for a Winter getaway you won’t forget.