Yosemite in the winter? I know, I know. Though Yosemite is an incredibly popular (and wildly packed) destination in the warmer months, I’d argue that Yosemite has an altogether different sort of magic to offer once snow falls. It’s funny to think that just a year before this, I had never been on a camping trip in my entire life. And here I am, months later, slapping gaiters and crampons onto well-worn hiking boots and trekking up mountains while knee-deep in powder.
Even though I spent my entire life living in warm places, I’ve always associated winter with snow. It just doesn’t feel like winter without it. Let me tell you, Yosemite delivers winter weather and then some. The entire week leading up to our trip, it was snowing, raining, flooding (!), and storming. The forecasts looked like something out of a movie. By the end of the week, we saw what we’d been dreading the most – road closures and campground alerts. The odds were definitely not in our favor.
But amazingly, on the night before we were scheduled to go, everything cleared up. Despite all my worrying, what we were left with when we arrived was beautiful, fresh, powdery snow and picture-perfect blue skies. It really was like some twisted comedy, after a week filled with worrying whether all hope was lost.
Yosemite is kind of like the Disneyland of campgrounds. There are heated tents (highly recommend. I don’t care how hardcore you are. Heated tents in 20 degree weather is heaven), gift shops, and a food lodge with WiFi. During the day, we hiked into the Valley to see Half Dome, which was just as breathtaking in real life as it is in pictures.
If you plan on heading to Yosemite in the winter, be sure to plan accordingly and make sure you have everything you might need if the weather takes a turn – tire chains, an ice scraper, crampons, gaiters, and a first aid kit should all be easily accessible at the very least. And, check for heated tents several months ahead of time as they do book up! Being able to sleep in a warm, though pretty bare, canvas tent in the middle of the national park is one of the best ways to experience this special place up close.
When are you going to Yosemite National Park? Tell me below!
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