Yosemite National Park

Traveling to Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is a great place to visit. Whether you are with your good friends, children, parents, classmates or anyone else, there is always something for you and your group to do.

Yosemite National Park is located in the United States in the state of California. It is one of the most popular national parks in the world, with over 4,000,000 people visiting each year from all over the world. Groups visit Yosemite National Park for its beautiful views – the Sierra Nevada mountains, cliffs, amazing waterfalls, clear water, lakes, ponds, and more. There are also plenty of things for you to do while at Yosemite National Park, as discussed below.

Here’s a little bit of the history of Yosemite National Park.

This national park is rich in history. Yosemite was the first time in United States history that the federal government protected land for public use. President Lincoln signed a bill protecting the land back in 1864, and the land became an official national park in 1890.

How big is Yosemite National Park?

Yosemite National Park is huge, there is no other way to put it! This national park is made up of over 750 thousand acres, and over 1,200 miles of the beautiful outdoors.

What is the weather like when visiting Yosemite National Park?

The Summer months are usually the busiest time for this national park. In the Summer, you will typically see temperatures around 55 degrees Fahrenheit to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. There are a few thunderstorms, but it is mostly dry weather.

In the Fall and Spring months, you will usually see temperatures between 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Rain and/or snowfall usually occurs in later in the Fall months and earlier in the Spring months.

The Winter months usually bring temperatures between 25 degrees Fahrenheit to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Sometimes there is snow, sometimes it is raining, and sometimes it is nice and bright. The winter months are usually the months when the Yosemite area receives the most precipitation.

What is there to do at Yosemite National Park?

There are plenty of different things for you to do when you are at The National Park. If you are visiting, I recommend at least a few days and even with a few days there will still be plenty of areas that you probably have not explored yet.

  • If you are looking to hike, you are in luck. There are over 800 miles of trails for you to hike on when at this national park.
  • Yosemite Valley is an area in the national park that many people visit for its beautiful cliffs, waterfalls, and more. Yosemite Falls is a waterfall in Yosemite Valley and it has one of the highest waterfalls in the whole entire world – at over 2,400 feet long.
  • See the Mariposa Grove. This is where the largest area of giant redwoods are located. These are beautiful and it is crazy how huge these trees are!
  • You can rock climb in Yosemite, which is a great fete.
  • Other activities include: horseback riding, back packing, bird watching, camping, fishing, and more.

Are there any required fees?

There are entrance fees which are valid for 7 days at The National Park. If you want to go to Yosemite, there are entrance fees of $30 for private cars. If you arrive by walking, bicycle, or your motorcycle, the fee is a little lower at $30. If you have a National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass, which is $100, then you will not have to pay the entrance fee.

Yosemite in Winter: Advantages and Activities

Now, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when visiting Yosemite in the winter. Some of the roads are closed, and it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the weather. Chains are more of a requirement than a recommendation (though if you have a four-wheel drive car with snow tires you can get away chain-free).

Once you’re properly prepared, you can take advantage of the park’s wintertime benefits.

The crowds are thin

The park’s busy season is, predictably, the warmer summer months. Without the risk of blizzard, crowds flock to the park from all over the world.

While visiting Yosemite in winter does mean in increased risk in snow (we actually ended up hunkering down in the lodge for a night as a snowstorm blew through), you won’t be run over by tour buses as you explore.

There may still be the occasional crowd, and we did see a several groups of tourists out and about, but they won’t be nearly as overwhelming as during the summer months. This means that even the most frequented sights, like the Yosemite Valley Tunnel Overlook, Bridalveil Falls, and Yosemite Falls, are easy to access.

The park entrance was eerily quiet. No long line to enter here.

The hiking is cool (literally)

Even in California, the summers can get a bit warm and, lately, there’s the drought to consider. The warmer, drier summer months mean an increased risk of fire. Yosemite hasn’t been spared from the wildfires that ravaged the California wilderness.

By visiting in the winter you’re more likely to encounter cool, wet weather. This means you’ll break less of a sweat on your hike. Of course, it’s important to pay attention to the weather patterns. Sudden rain or snowstorms could hinder your trek, and some trails may be closed.

The trail to Inspiration Point was more of a river…

The slopes are powdered

Did you know that Yosemite is home to California’s oldest ski resort? Neither did I.

The Badger Pass Ski Area was first opened in 1935 and continues to operate high above Yosemite Valley. The resort remains one of the biggest draws to Yosemite in winter.

When going up to Badger Pass, the altitude change is definitely noticeable. Down in the valley, there was no snow, and the sun was shining. After crawling up the mountain a few thousand feet (snow chains definitely required) this was the scene:

The road up is windy, but relatively well-maintained given how frequently it is accessed in the winter. It’s worth the trek to the top, and not just for the views and the downhill skiing. In addition to the slopes, you can go cross-country skiing, snow tubing, and snowshoeing. The prices are reasonable, and the snow seems to be pretty consistent, regardless of what it looks like down in the valley.

While we didn’t have time to hit the slopes on this trip, we definitely plan on returning to tackle the winter-specific activities.

The scenes are breathtaking

You can’t visit Yosemite without being in complete and total awe of the scenery. Of course, there is nothing more breathtaking than the view of Yosemite Valley itself — and this is no exception during the winter months.

It’s easy to see why this place inspired John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, and countless patrons over the years. There is something about this park that gives me chills. It is beauty in its most natural, unrefined form.

Since it is wintertime, and the mountains tend to be snowier, the effect is that the waterfalls are flowing in full force. The entire valley is full of the thunder of them, and everywhere you look you can see white water cascading down granite slopes.

I’m definitely glad we made the trip to Yosemite in winter. It was really special, seeing the park from a completely different point of view, and the perfect celebration of my 30th birthday.

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