Yosemite in winter

Explore the world's best park without the crowds. Here's where to stay and 3 things you don't want to miss

Peter Fish


Yosemite National Park is 200 miles from San Francisco and 300 miles from Los Angeles. Snow is likely; drivers are required to carry chains, and four-wheel-drive is recommended. The visitor center offers guided walks. INFO: $20 per vehicle; 209/372-0200.


Either the grand Ahwahnee ($$$$; dining room: $$$, 209/372-1489) or motel-like Yosemite Lodge at the Falls ($$$). Yosemite National Park Vacation & Lodging Information or 559/253-5676.


Ice-skating The world's most beautiful outdoor rink. INFO: $8, $3 skate rental; at Curry Village; 209/372-8319.

Skiing and tubing Badger Pass Ski Area is ideal for families: No crowds, and beginning and intermediate runs. INFO: Lift tickets from $33, rentals from $25.50; tubing $15; 209/372-8430.

Snowshoeing The Yosemite Association leads outings. INFO: From $50, including equipment; reservations required; 209/379-2321.


Park insiders agree ― these are the sights you'll always remember:

1. See the snowy valley Stroll the Cook's Meadow boardwalk, just west of Yosemite Village. Looking southwest, you'll see Cathedral Rocks and, to the right, Three Brothers.

2. Listen to Yosemite Falls Hear the crash of melting ice an hour or two after sunrise. But any time of day, the falls are Yosemite's melody in winter.

3. Say hello to Half Dome For diehards: Cross-country ski 10.5 miles from Badger Pass to Glacier Point on a guided overnight tour (from $160; 209/372-8444). A bit easier: Snowshoe to Dewey Point (see "Snowshoeing," above).

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