Winter in the National Parks: Yosemite

Cold enthusiasts rejoice, the national parks are open all season

Yosemite National Park.     Photo: Gary Yim/Shutterstock

Entrance Fee

$20 per vehicle, $10 per biker/hiker

SIZE: 747,956 acres

Yosemite is awe-inspiring. Its wonderful rock formations have made it a place of wonder that Americans have visited since they first realized its existence. Now it is home to one of the most vibrant parks in the world with almost four million visitors every year.

Fly into Fresno and drive 1.5 hours. Or you can fly into the Bay area, but you'll have a four-hour drive on your hands. Some of the roads close during the winter due to snowfall. The East entrance is closed and that means that Tiogo Road is also shur down. Glacier Point Road closes for the winter and the Hetch Hetchy Road is also closed this year.

There are three lodges open during the winter: Curry Village, Yosemite Lodge, and The Ahwahnee. The Ahwahnee is an upscale resort and has some of what is widely regarded as the most beautiful craftsmanship in the U.S. If you prefer to sleep outside, the Upper Pines and Camp 4 campgrounds are open during the cold months.

Badger Pass Ski area is a beautiful area for downhill skiing that also has its own ski school. Many of the runs are on the easier side, making this a good place for beginners. You can also rent snowshoes or a take a snowshoe tour provided by the rangers. Fishing is allowed in some reservoirs, but not in rivers or streams. There is also an ice rink in Curry Village and the rangers offer a photo class with a park walk. Backpacking is allowed, but requires a permit.

⇢ There are free shuttle buses around the park.
⇢ Bus tours are also available in the winter.
⇢ Tire chains are often required during the colder months so make sure to have them handy.

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