Just because its winter doesn’t mean you can’t explore the breath-taking scenery at Yosemite National Park and Mariposa County. While the higher elevations almost always have snow, the Valley floor can be relatively clear, depending on how recently there has been a snowstorm. A good way to gauge current conditions is by checking out the webcams (if the webcams are dark, it’s night time). The Ahwahnee Meadow webcam is near Yosemite Village and can provide a good idea of how much snow is on the ground. Be sure to also check the current conditions page to learn of any closures in effect.
Below is our list of winter hikes to check out, depending on current conditions
1. Mirror Lake
A short walk from Yosemite Village will bring you to little Mirror Lake with stunning and unique views of Half Dome from directly below the impressive face. This is easy, flat trail brings you to the edge of the lake where you can enjoy a picnic before looping back toward The Majestic Yosemite Hotel and Yosemite Village.
This trail begins at shuttle stop #17. The first mile of this trail is a paved service road that leads directly to Mirror Lake. Check out a virtual view of Mirror Lake.
2. Lower Yosemite Falls (and part of the Upper Trail)
An easy paved walk that brings you to Lower Yosemite Falls and is often a hot spot for Frazil Ice. Check out a virtual view of Lower Yosemite Fall.
3. Vernal Falls Footbridge
The trail to the top of Vernal Fall may not be accessible this time of the year but you can still saunter to the base of Vernal Falls and view the cascade from the lower footbridge. See the virtual view from the Vernal Fall footbridge in spring.
4. Bridalveil Fall
Mystically beautiful, Bridalveil fall is a must visit on any journey to Yosemite Valley.Check out a virtual view of Bridalveil Fall.
5. Chilnualna Falls
On the southern entrance of the park and at a lower elevation is Chilnualna Fall, this is a longer hike that follows the beautiful cascades of Chilnualna Fall for several miles.
6. Briceburg Trail West
Outside of Yosemite on the Merced River Canyon.
If you’d like to explore more winter scenery then the best way is on skis! Check out this Yosemite Nature Notes videos about the cross country skiing options in Yosemite.