Published on December 8, 2023

Yosemite Mariposa County is a dreamy place for a winter getaway, and there’s no better time to steal away for a romantic weekend retreat than before, during or after the holidays. No matter your love language, this serene, golden-and-granite realm is a place to savor together. Whether you want to get snow sporty, delight in small-town holiday vibes, or just snuggle up for quality time behind frosty windows in your hotel or vacation cabin Yosemite Mariposa County is the place to celebrate nature and love this holiday season. 

From late November right up to that New Year’s Eve kiss and beyond, this is the perfect hideaway for an inspiring Sierra winter retreat. Bundle up with your passion partner and experience all the seasonal romance (and recreation) that Yosemite Mariposa County has to offer. 

Romantic Winter Recreation

Yosemite is a hub for recreation, regardless of the season, and in a place best explored hand-in-hand with a loved one there’s no shortage of ways to recreate while celebrating your love.

Downhill Devotion

Cross Country Skiing at Yosemite's Badger Pass Ski Area
There are a lot of ways to get around Yosemite in the winter. Try cross country skiing at Yosemite’s Badger Pass Ski Area.

Badger Pass Ski Area was established in 1935 as California’s first ski resort. Located just off Glacier Point Road with a peak elevation of 8,000 feet, Badger is Yosemite’s plug for downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, tubing and more. Offering five lifts providing access to mostly beginner and intermediate runs, Badger is a great winter play date where lovers can chase one another down the slopes and enjoy an apres-ski libation on the sundeck.  Bring extra chapstick for all the chairlift kissing.  

Winter Wanderlust

Photographer taking a picture of the Grizzly Giant sequoia tree
The Grizzly Giant is one of the largest, and certainly the most-visited trees in the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

Other than being a little awkward to do hand-in-hand, snowshoeing is the perfect way to get outside and traverse a snowy trail.  During the holidays, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias becomes even more cathedral-like as you’re surrounded by ancient trees dusted with snow.  While Mariposa Grove is one of Yosemite’s top hikes, during periods of heavy snow a pair of snowshoes or cross-country skis will make things even more fun. 

The Wawona Meadow Loop Trail starts across from the Wawona Hotel and orbits one of the largest mountain meadows in the entire High Sierra. In winter, the crunchy trail is framed by firs with plenty of places to lay down a couple of snow angels after a snowstorm.  Alternatively, Wawona’s mid-elevation makes this hike just as doable with Uggs and Wayfarers when there’s no snow.    

Ice Breakers

Couple skating in Curry Village with Half Dome behind
Skating rink with a view! Skating in Curry Village

For couples, ice skating in Yosemite is classic winter fun.  Take a twirl on the skating rinks at Curry Village in Yosemite Valley or Tenaya at Yosemite, pretend you’re Olympic ice dancers. At Curry Village, you’ll skate with views of Half Dome and Glacier Point.  Tenaya’s sparkling white ice rink measures an expansive 80 feet by 40 feet and is surrounded by the Sierra National Forest. Post-skate, warm up with a cup of cocoa or nightcap around a rink-side fire pit. Take a selfie and share it with #YosemiteNation for some extra love.

Spa-ahhh Time

Couple enjoying a sauna at Tenaya at Yosemite

The healing warmth of a spa in winter is pure pleasure, and Yosemite Mariposa County has soothing sanctuaries to follow your bliss. The Yosemite Health Spa at the Yosemite Rustic Bug Resort in Midpines offers full-body serenity, from massage and yoga retreats to locally sourced herbal-steeped baths, hot rocks sauna and jumbo stainless steel hot tubs perfect for a holiday reset.

Ascent Spa at Tenaya at Yosemite is one of the Sierra’s top spas, offering a rejuvenating range of treatments including massage, body wraps, and facials, all located at the award-winning Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite.  Try the hot stones couples massage for an even deeper heat. 

Two on the Town

Yosemite Mariposa County is the place for a stay, shop, and snuggle getaway that’s festively framed by national park vistas, great dining, and unique finds. Striding along the sidewalks of old town Mariposa hand-in-hand, you’ll discover bespoke local merchants, romantic restaurants and cafes, and enchanting bars.  Mariposa stores are often located in historic buildings, decked out in the finest seasonal decor. Here’s our quick gift-buying guide for the holidays.  Besides hot cocoa, nothing warms you up quite like a goblet of local wine – stop by one of Mariposa’s tasting rooms or bottle shops or saloons to toast and get your glow on when you return to your room.

Yosemite Romantic Hotels and Cabins

Pack your bags and prepare for sparks when you select these accommodations that cater to couples. Booking early is just as good of an idea as sleeping late when you’re here. 

Yosemite’s Scenic Wonders

Vacation rental cabin in Yosemite West
Stone Creek Cabin is one of many vacation rental cabins available in Yosemite West

Yosemite’s Scenic Wonders offers vacation rental homes, cabins and condos, many within the gates of Yosemite National Park including Yosemite West, Wawona, and Fish Camp. Cozy vacation cabins often come with updated kitchens for home cooking and hot tubs for romantic soaks and conversations under the moon and stars. 

The Redwoods in Yosemite

Choose a cozy cabin in Wawona just around the corner from the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. Photo: Hansen Cabin courtesy of The Redwoods In Yosemite

The Redwoods in Yosemite offer more than 120 vacation cabins and spacious luxury homes located off Chilnualna Falls Road.  With amenities like fireplaces, fully stocked kitchens, big-screen TV rooms with comfy furniture, and hot tubs – your cabin may be so sweet it will be a challenge to leave it and enjoy the great outdoors!

Tenaya at Yosemite

A four-diamond resort located just two miles from Yosemite’s south gate, Tenaya at Yosemite is a luxury lover’s escape.  Accommodations include adults-only Garden and Contemporary suites with soaking tubs, separate rain showers, wet bars and couple comforts galore. Over the holidays, Tenaya’s grand lobby sets the festive meter to “high” with its giant Christmas tree decorated with enough lights to rival the starry Sierra night sky.

Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort

Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort presents a holiday lodging experience with (sleigh) bells on. Located in Midpines on a forested hillside, the Bug’s range of accommodations is mind-expanding, from private sugar pine cabins with forest-view decks to timber-framed tent cabins.  Consider this your go-to place to unplug together before, during and after the hustle of the holidays.  The June Bug Cafe serves up a housemade, holiday-spiced menu including vegetarian options and tasty desserts to share.

The Ahwahnee

The Ahwahnee Hotel Yosemite

With best-of-the-year room rates, winter’s the perfect time to go big, and there may be nothing bigger in Yosemite than The Ahwahnee. The historic hotel opened its doors in the summer of 1927, quickly became one of the crown jewels of national park lodges, and today is a National Historic Landmark.  Renowned for its rough-hewn elegance and picture-window vistas of Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and Glacier Point, the Ahwahnee takes everything to a new level during the holidays. Curl up in a love seat by one of the great fireplaces, dine by candlelight at the  Ahwahnee Dining Room, share a nightcap at Ahwahnee Bar and toast to your good fortune and future.

Categories: Couples and Romance, Holiday