Winter in Yosemite National Park is a well-kept secret, but word is traveling quickly. If you have yet to experience a trip to Yosemite during the winter months, consider adding it to your bucket list right now!
Many people are weary about driving through the Sierra Nevada Mountains during the winter, but much of Yosemite is very accessible throughout the season. Yosemite National Park employs dedicated crews to keep the roads safe for travelers and, during normal weather conditions, most of Yosemite’s parks remain open. With that said, always carry tire chains in your vehicle in case of slippery road conditions.
Winter Hiking Yosemite National Park
Park Rangers recommend the Valley Loop Trail, which winds through impressive scenery in western Yosemite Valley. The trail offers a 5 to 7-hour hike with little elevation gain. Sites along the way include striking views of Sentinel Rock, Cathedral Rocks, Bridalveil Fall, El Capitan, Three Brothers, Yosemite Falls, and more.
The Yosemite Falls Trail is a bit more challenging but worthwhile as it leads to the top of the tallest waterfall in North America. The Yosemite Falls Trail tends to be warmer and dryer than other trails due to more sun exposure.
Hiking and Winter Sports in Southern Yosemite
Tourists come from far a wide to visit the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, home to over 500 magnificent sequoia trees, including the 1,800-year-old Grizzly Giant. Although Mariposa Grove Road is closed to cars during the winter, the road remains open to hikers, snowshoers, and skiers. All Mariposa Grove trails remain open for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Talk about fun!
Mariposa Grove Trail Information:
Big Trees Loop: 0.3 miles (0.4 km); includes the Fallen Monarch
Guardians Loop: 6.5 miles (10.5 km); includes Grizzly Giant Loop trees plus upper grove
Mariposa Grove Trail: 7.0 miles (11.3 km) round trip; includes Grizzly Giant Loop trees plus Wawona Point and portions of the upper grove
Elevation at trailhead: 5,600 feet (1,700 meters)
Big Tree Loop Elevation Gain: very little
Grizzly Giant Loop Elevation Gain: 300 feet (90 meters)
Guardians Loop & Mariposa Grove Trail Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet (360 meters)
When you think about your next visit to Yosemite, imagine the serenity and peace that comes with having snow-capped mountains all to yourself. There’s no place like it on earth! Plan your next adventure today!