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Goat Meadow Snowplay Area is under the radar for many travelers rushing by its nondescript turnoff on the way to Yosemite National Park. But for those who take this road less traveled, there’s a great payoff: pure sled ecstasy. Like snowflakes, no two sled runs  in this snow play area maintained by the U.S. Forest Service are alike, and sled heads live for that top-of-the-roller coaster moment when steering gives way to gravity. There’s nothing like the whoosh of wind in your face. Good, old-fashioned, free-falling fun – what are you waiting for? Sleigh the day!

Winter snowstorms will dust Yosemite Mariposa’s high country with a playful blanket of snow ready to romp, sled and snowshoe over. One of the most woohoo-worthy snow play hubs in Mariposa County is surprisingly easy to reach. Some might even call it the G.O.A.T.!

Kings of Goat Meadow Hill

snow play area near YosemiteAfter any nice snow flurry, Goat Meadow becomes a hive for puffy-coat family fun. The sled or snow tubing hill starts at the edge of the parking area and drops into the clearing below. No matter if you’re 2 years old or 82, the hill is gentle yet angled at just the right pitch to deliver long runs and wild peals of joyful laughter.

Saucer, sled, toboggan, flexi flyer, tube, airboard, boogie board, belly bumper, luge or sleigh: with a wide expanse of potential take-off points and myriad routes to navigate down the slippery slope, there are ample opportunities to explore the dynamic love affair between gravity and snow. If it starts snowing during the day, remind your friends that snowflakes are Yosemite Mariposa’s winter butterflies.

Snowshoe Heroes

snowshoeing in Goat Meadow snow play areaGoat Meadow Snow Play Area is perfect for short and sweet snowshoe treks near the Yosemite National Park. Surrounding the sledding hill, snowshoe and  cross-country ski trails spur off through the woods of the Sierra National Forest. Snowshoes are the best for easy exploration of Yosemite Mariposa winter wonderland. With only a few strides, you’ll get the hang of this rewarding way to wander through the woods. Like cross country skiing and snowboarding, it’s a super calorie-burner and ultra-low-impact cardio fling.

Another nearby snowshoe option is the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, with many trails through the ruddy-barked behemoths (Yosemite National Park admission required). The towering 3,000-year-old Grizzly Giant, with its auburn bark framed by fresh snow and cobalt sky, is a picture for the ages after the easy two-mile loop.

If you’re looking to take it easy and just do some playing, there are ample areas for building snow people. Have a big group? There is plenty of space to spread out  in the Goat Meadow Snow Play Area to have a friendly snowball fight behind each team’s snow forts.

getting to Goat Meadow snow play area near YosemiteGoat Meadow Snow Play Area Near Yosemite Directions

Goat Meadow Snow Play Area is located between Fish Camp and Yosemite National Park just off Highway 41 – exit on Mt. Raymond Road and follow it to the parking lot at the end of the road. From there, it’s a few steps to full-bodied winter fun.

With local elevation just over 5,200 feet, Goat Meadow Snow Play Area is just high enough to catch snow but not so high that it’s too cold for everyone to enjoy being outside. Be sure to check the snow report to see if there’s sufficient snow cover.

Snow Play Tips

  • Resist, Repel –Staying warm and dry is the key to successful snow play. Layers of clothing are best. A quality waterproof shell jacket and ski pants are mandatory! Jeans are like a magnetic sponge for snow and ice. Wardrobe malfunction ahead! General happiness will be promoted with good snow gloves and thick, non-absorbent socks under waterproof footwear. Take extra pairs of both.
  • Head’s Up – You’ve probably heard it before, but it’s worth repeating. Body heat escapes fastest from your noggin. Throw a beanie on, or any chapeau will do. Sun on snow can be blindingly bright. Take your shades on the hill with you, and bonus points if you have anti-fog ski goggles. Consider wearing a helmet, too.
  • Wear Eco-Friendly Sunscreen – Go with a high SPF and reapply as needed. Protect your skin and the earth, too.
  • Car Base Camp – The parking lot is right next to Goat Meadow, making your vehicle the perfect warming hut for snack breaks and defrosting sessions. Steaming beverages and soups in your Yeti or thermos will be warmly received. The Fish Camp General Store is a great place for provisions nearby. Remember to bring plenty of water; dehydration is real and quickens at higher elevations.
  • Gear Up – Sled, disc and snowshoe rentals are hard to come by near Goat Meadow, so secure your gear well before arrival.
  • Après-snow Eats Tenaya Lodge is just a few bends down the road, where you can refuel with tasty options at Timberloft Pizzeria and Jackalope’s Bar & Grill.
  • Be respectful – Fish Camp is a small community in which many people live and work. Be respectful by not parking on the shoulders of roads, in front of driveways and as always, pack out what you pack in.
  • Plan Ahead – Check out our Snowy Holidays page for more ideas on where to stay and what to do.
  • Bring snow chains/AWD and park clear of any road clearing activity. See the video below for more info on snow chains
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