Yosemite in Winter (December - March)
If you are looking for a solitary and peaceful getaway, then winter is an ideal time to visit Yosemite. Driving conditions may present a bit of a challenge but planning ahead should alleviate any potential problems.
Yosemite in the Winter
Climate in Yosemite during the winter is snowy and cold, ranging from 28°F to 53°F, limiting backpacking options. Backpacking during the winter usually requires the use of skis or snowshoes and some trails may be closed in extreme snowfall. Badger Pass, Crane Flat and Mariposa Grove are popular trails for winter hikers because the roads along these hikes are well maintained.
During the winter, visitors can enjoy downhill and cross-country skiing at Badger Pass. To get the early-bird special rate for season passes, make sure to purchase your pass by October 31st. Ski and snowboard lessons are available at Badger, as are Ski and Stay Packages. Shuttles to Badger Pass are available from Oakhurst (for a $10 fee) and Yosemite Valley (no cost).
In addition to enjoying skiing, winter visitors can visit Yosemite’s waterfalls and hike the Yosemite Valley trails. Yosemite Falls is flowing during the winter once there has been some snow and rain.
Driving Conditions During Winter
Snow chains are often required when visiting Yosemite in the winter and certain roads can be closed due to snowfall. Tioga road and the road to Glacier Point are typically closed by November, however, Yosemite Valley and Wawona remain open year-round. The closure of Tioga Road prevents visitors from traveling between Crane Flat and Tioga Pass.