WINTER ITINERARIES

Late November through March

Standard Sightseeing With Some Hiking, Skiing, etc.

1st Day:  Waterfalls, Overlook Point & Sightseeing

Valley Loop:  ¼ day about 1 hour drive around  

Stop at points of interest to you for pics around this loop.  Take a 3 mile spur up Highway 41 quickly to see Tunnel View overlook.  Yosemite Village is accessible if you need down time for great museums.

Upper Yosemite Falls Trail to Columbia Rock & Upper Falls overlook.  1/2 day about 4 hours R/T 1200 foot gain total with switchbacks

Park at Camp Four lot just Past Yosemite Lodge (or take valley shuttle bus there).  Go up as far as you like up past the Columbia Rock where you should stop for a lunch and view.  You can continue around the bend for an upo front close view of the Upper Falls and you may continue until the snow stops you.

Alternate Falls:  If you are with family just stop at the Lower Yosemite Falls stop and walk in on level paved trails to the Lower Yosemite Falls.

Alternative Overlook Point:  Turtleback Dome is a great sunset or day overlook to hike into in midwinter(Jan/Feb).  Just a ¼ mile in up a service road you will find last the long sweep of the Dome after the Tunnel where the Tunnel Viewpoint of Yosemite Valley is on Highway 41 leaving Yosemite Valley.

Big Day Hike?  Go as far you you can go Snow Creek Trail at the far end of Mirror Lake.  Halfway up the switchbacks where snowline is a stunning view of Half Dome.

2nd Day (or half):  Sequoia Trees & Sightseeing

Tuolumne Grove Sequoia Trees  ⅓ day about 2 hours R/T  400 foot gain

Park at Tuolumne Grove Parking Lot and walk down a mile on old roadbed to this cluster of trees.  Great interpretive signage.  Ask desk if time for SNOWSHOE RENTAL to get into the groves, stunning in snow (usually January & February).  Merced Grove is a few miles further down Highway 120 toward the park’s north entrance.  It is 1.5 miles in but quieter and smaller.

Alternative:  Check out the small but new ice skate rink at Curry Village, you can rent skates or sit by a fire with hot cocoa.

SIghtseeing:  Spend the rest of the day doing Yosemite Valley things you missed and wanted to see.  Sections of the Valley Loop Trail along river are very nice, Mirror Lake will be reflective and sometimes snowy.   

Big Day Hike:  Look up Old Inspiration Point above Tunnel View.  Trail starts at small lot across road.  ⅓ day 800 foot gain.

3rd Day:  Skiing & Snowplay

Badger Pass Ski Area:  Long whole drive up & back (1.5 hours) but worth the effort.  Small inexpensive family style resort, but fun with classes and rentals.  Great place to learn.  You will not be disappointed for simple fun. Alternative:  Cross-country ski on world class grooved trails at Badger Pass to Glacier Point.

Big Day Hikes:   XC Ski or snowshoe to Dewey Point for the day.  Book in advance and backcountry XC to Olmstead Ski Hut or Glacier Point Ski Hut (book in advance with Yosemite Conservancy and for the latter Yosemite Concessions.  Olmstead you can book the day before at the ranger station at Badger Pass.

4th Day:  Hetch Hetchy

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir:  Spend a day, 1.5 hour drive and half day level hike.  Park at Dam and walk through tunnel and up to both water falls on the warm north side of the lake.  Stunning, warm winter hike or stop enroute the Bay Area on departure day.  Gorgeaous all winter long and rarely snow restriction (possibly some on Highway 140)