Thinking of Yosemite this winter?
I have been asked about Yosemite in winter a few times, so I have put together some tips and links for those thinking about going there.
Where to stay-
There is everything from the five star Ahwahnee Hotel to tent campgrounds like Camp 4. Not all the campgrounds are open in winter. I have stayed in the tent cabins at Curry Village, snow camped near Badger Pass and stayed at the cabins at the Redwoods near the Wawona (South) gate (good if you have a group, otherwise a bit pricey).
Here are some useful sites-http://www.nps.gov/yose
the official park sitehttp://www.yosemitepark.com/default.aspx
the concessionaire's site-reservations, rentals, etc.http://www.tinyurl.com/38gjuo
forecast for the valley floorhttp://tinyurl.com/yvg4xv
forecast for higher elevations-Badger Pass area
I would get a guidebook and study it before going-I have the Rough Guide to Yosemite-small and very useful. It has small maps. You also get a map when you enter the park.
The valley floor will be crowded on weekends, so don't expect anything less. Reservations may be required if car camping. Don't let the circus atmosphere in the valley floor put you off. There is a free shuttle bus that goes to Badger Pass where you can rent snowshoes and cross-country skis or there is a small downhill ski hill with lifts Ėitís not Squaw so donít expect to be impressed. Nobody really goes to Yosemite just for alpine skiing unless they are locals.
In a good year, the valley floor will be covered with snow-it was in 2006, but not in 2007 at the same time (mid Feb.). If it is-it is beautiful and not that cold.
Bring chains-required to get in the park-buy them locally-not on the road. Chains can't be rented as far as I know, but I could be wrong. Figure out how to put them on before you come up-do it at home in dry weather. Mine are cable chains-easier and lighter to put on. If you have a front wheel drive car, make sure you put them on the front-sounds logical, but some people don't get it.
I recommend the free shuttle bus from the valley to Badger unless you have some winter driving experience. It is a long drive and very twisty. Seeing tire tracks head over the edge while riding on the bus convinced me of that, (Found out later, no serious injuries.)
Brunch at the Ahwahnee is overpriced, but the room is impressive; the Mountain Room at the Lodge is a better value for dinner-not particularly cheap, but a nice treat. There are a couple of fast food places and a small supermarket in the village.
There are easy hikes, waterfalls, spectacular views-all the things Yosemite is famous for in summer are there in winter. You just have to dress warmer and be prepared for bad weather. You can take little kids-friends of mine brought their small son (3-4) the past two years. They werenít camping though.
I have some pics scattered around here and Jim Shaw posted a couple from our trip two years ago.
I am willing to entertain other questions, but read my old trip reports before doing so; I would prefer not to say the same thing over and over.