Peaceful Valley

Yosemite National Park, California

Winter White Yosemite     Photo: NPS

In the summer, it's difficult to savor Yosemite's splendor through the throngs of sunburned tourists and snarls of metro-worthy traffic. But as soon as the snow begins to stack up, the video cameras and RVs head south with avian consistency, leaving a silent Yosemite Valley. Take in the enormous views on Yosemite Cross Country Ski School's one- and two-night cross-country ski trips from Badger Pass to 7,200-foot Glacier Point (one night, from $160; two nights, from $240; 209-372-8444, www.yosemitemountaineering.com). You'll ski ten and a half miles of groomed beginner and intermediate trails through lodgepole pines and red firs, with eerily empty views of Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and the Sierra Nevada, before reaching the top of the granite cliff. Then bunk down at the Glacier Point Winter Lodge, a comfortable stone-and-log cabin, for a fireside meal. After dinner, slip out of the hut and patter through fresh snow with moonlit views of the valley. Sure, you've seen Yosemite before, but you've never seen it like this.

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