Discover the 5 Best Yosemite National Park Hikes in Winter

Yosemite National Park offers a variety of hiking trails during the winter season, each with its unique features and difficulty levels. From short and easy trails to more challenging hikes, Yosemite provides a winter wonderland for outdoor enthusiasts. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the top Yosemite National Park hikes to consider during the winter months.

Lower Yosemite Fall

The Lower Yosemite Fall trail is a short and easy hike, perfect for families. This wheelchair-accessible, pet-friendly trail leads to the final 320-foot drop of North America’s tallest waterfall. During the winter, visitors can witness the unique phenomenon of frazil ice, where mist freezes and floats down the creek, creating a mesmerizing display.

Yosemite Valley Loop

Yosemite National Park Hikes in Winter

The Yosemite Valley Loop is a moderate 11.5-mile hike that takes you through meadows, talus slopes, and along the Merced River. This trail offers solitude and stunning views of Yosemite Valley’s iconic landmarks, such as Half Dome and El Capitan. However, during the winter, the trail can be snowy and icy, so hikers should use caution and bring a map for route-finding.

Mirror Lake

The Mirror Lake hike is an easy to moderate 2-mile trail that leads to a small lake offering wonderful reflections of Half Dome’s crown. The winter season adds a frosty frame to this natural masterpiece. The trail can be icy and snowy, especially along the south side of Tenaya Creek, so hikers should be prepared with appropriate footwear.

Yosemite Falls to Columbia Rock Trail

This moderate 2-mile hike offers spectacular views of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and Sentinel Rock. The trail starts near Camp 4 and immediately begins its climb through oak woodland, leading to great vantage points of the valley and its iconic landforms.

Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias

The Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias is an easy to moderate 1-mile hike that descends from the trailhead to the majestic giant sequoias. This trail is popular for snowshoeing and hiking, and the grove is accessible from Highway 120.

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

During the winter, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias is not accessible by car, but it can be reached on foot. Snowshoe hiking is a great way to experience these ginormous sequoias and the unparalleled views of the winter scenery.

Glacier Point

The Glacier Point trail is a popular snowshoe hiking destination. Visitors can join a guided discovery snowshoe hike along the Old Glacier Point Road or embark on a more intense 6-hour guided tour to Dewey Point from the Badger Pass Ski Area’s Nordic Center.

Tenaya Lodge

The Tenaya Lodge offers two options for snowshoe hiking. Visitors can purchase guided hikes with an expert for a 1.5-mile out and back (easy difficulty rating) around the Tenaya Lodge Nature Trail. For those seeking a more adventurous experience, they can rent snowshoes and explore the area on their own.

When planning your winter hikes in Yosemite National Park, it’s essential to check current weather conditions and be prepared for snowy and icy trails. Proper attire, including waterproof boots and traction devices like microspikes or snowshoes, is crucial. Additionally, hikers should pack essential items such as water, snacks, a map, a compass, and a first-aid kit.

A Guide to Hiking Yosemite National Park in the Winter
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Top Winter Hikes in Yosemite

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