Updated: Jan 16
First, let's get the basics out of the way; yes, Yosemite National Park is open and accessible throughout the winter! Now the high country roads like Tioga Road and Glacier Point Road are usually closed from November through April, but don't let that deter you. In fact, founding member and fly fishing guide, Bryant Burnette, believes winter is one of the better times to visit Yosemite National Park because prices come down and visitor lines and traffic are almost nonexistent. Member Guide Lori Zocklien points out that elevations in the Yosemite region vary dramatically, so places like Moss Creek in El Portal, California are great places to enjoy warm weather and beautiful scenery throughout the winter months!
Family Fun In Yosemite Valley:
We love taking our own families into Yosemite Valley when they visit during the winter months. We recommend starting your day with one of our snowshoe adventures along the abandoned stagecoach road, around Mirror Lake or up eastern ridge for views of Vernal
Falls. You can also grab a map and some snowshoes to try these adventures on your own! Afterward, head over and enjoy a Hot Toddy next to one of the HUGE fireplaces in the famous Ahwahnee Hotel or check out Yosemite Village's Visitor Center and the Yosemite Museum! Echo's Wellness Ambassador Catherine Wortmann recommends finishing your incredible day by ice skating in the shadow of Half Dome at Curry Village! According to Catherine, you should start the session enjoying the s'mores at the fire pit and then hit up the ice as the novelty wears off for other visitors! Pro-tip: Make sure that you have tire chains in your car, even if the weather is gorgeous, because ice can form anytime on mountain roads and it's illegal to drive around in Yosemite without them.
Fly Fishing on the Tuolumne River:
Incredible year-round fishing for lake run rainbow trout, brown trout and kokanee is available on the western side of Yosemite National Park along the main Tuolumne River. Beginning at the base of the O'Shaughnessy Dam in Hetch Hetchy and continuing downstream to Clavey
Falls, catch and release fishing with barbless hooks and artificial lures is available and amazing! Member guide Bryant Burnette suggests trying your luck with these massive trout midday using small midges. If you're struggling to bring these hogs to the net, then give us a call for our full-day trips for solo anglers and small groups! Pro-tip: Make sure and steer clear of the South Fork and the Middle Fork of the Tuolumne River, as they are off-limits for off-season fishing. Also, make sure you get your valid California fishing license online.
Wapama Falls Trail in Hetch Hetchy:
Another incredible adventure is located inside the Hetch Hetchy Entrance on the western side of Yosemite National Park. Follow the beautiful Hetch Hetchy road several miles down
to the parking area. You'll begin this moderate 5-mile round trip hiking adventure at O'Shaughnessy Dam, through the mountain tunnel and along the reservoir to the 1200 foot Wapama Falls. Hetch Hetchy is a lower elevation adventure, so keep an eye out as you make your way to Wapama Falls as the road and trail are great places to see Yosemite black bears later in the season! Pro-tip: This road does close occasionally due to weather, so call the park at 209.372.0200 press 1 and then 1 for the most up to date road conditions.
Snowshoeing or Cross Country Skiing from Badger Pass:
All of our members agree that the 6 miles roundtrip snow trek to Dewey Point is the thing to do when visiting Yosemite in the winter! The snowshoe or cross-county ski loop trail begins near the Badger Pass Ski Area and continues through old-growth forests to the rim of Yosemite Valley! If you are not up for a long trek, then consider skiing, snowboarding or tubing at Badger Pass! Pro-tip: The loop trail can be hard to follow after a fresh snow, so make sure and grab a map when renting your shoes or skis.
Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias:
This 2.5 mile round trip trek into the Giant Sequoias is a classic winter adventure for guests and guides! You'll begin this adventure at the trailhead on Tioga Road, located within view of the winter road blockade. After you park you'll venture down into the Tuolumne Grove along an abandoned stagecoach road losing about 400 feet per mile. The trail is a little tough coming back up, but it will be well worth the time you have spent among the dark red behemoths laced in snow and surrounded by smaller pines and cedars. If you are staying in the southern portion of the park, then talk to your hotel about conditions and access to the Mariposa Grove. Pro-tip: Depending on conditions you will likely need snowshoes or hiking crampons or coils for traction. Check with an Adventure Coordinator at Echo's Yosemite Basecamp for the latest conditions in this grove!
About Echo Adventure Cooperative
Echo Adventure Cooperative is a socially and environmentally sustainable worker cooperative (with B-Corp Certification!) offering adventure, travel and wellness goods and services to Yosemite visitors! In 2019 - 2020, we began the Yosemite Basecamp in downtown Groveland, CA which features:
The Adventure Loft, a full-service, high tech, sustainable, accommodation for up to 6 adventurers!
Basecamp Wellness offering full range of Yoga and meditation practices and adventures, along with Reiki, massage and other wellness goods and services.
The Basecamp Outfitter with park information, informational videos, guided adventures, a full-service fly shop, and used gear store.
Two Other Awesome Year Round Accommodations:
Other Year-Round Outfitters and/or Gear Supply
Other Year-Round Places to Get Winter Information