Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, an anniversary celebration, honeymoon, babymoon, or any time you want a unique romantic getaway, look no further than Yosemite Mariposa County.
Yosemite’s enchanting landscapes reflect love as strong as granite, as playful as a mountain stream, and as enduring as the ancient groves of Giant Sequoias. Let us introduce you to our top 5 ideas for a romantic winter getaway to celebrate that special person in your life.
Make the trek to Dewey Point by XC Ski or snowshoe for an unbeatable view of Yosemite Valley. Photo: Kim Lawson
Yosemite Mariposa County is filled with idyllic destinations where you can literally stroll off into the sunset together. Take a walk down by the Merced River, scramble to a summit for a view, or wander among ancient giant sequoia trees. Turning each corner is an adventure you can share together. Here are some of our favorite winter hikes.
Yosemite’s winters range from a snow-filled winter wonderland, to mild temperatures perfect for basking in the sunshine. In fact, due to the varying elevations, some days are perfect for skiing in the morning and hiking in a t-shirt in the afternoon. Explore high-elevation trails for snowy winter fun like cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, then descend to the warmth of lower elevations to stroll together along the Merced River.
Explore Yosemite Mariposa County by moonlight and starlight.
The temperatures will cool once the sun sets, but you can still slip on a few extra layers and explore Yosemite Mariposa County by the light of the moon. Winter is the season for popular natural events like moonbows, or the natural Yosemite firefall at Horsetail Fall. However, any clear evening is an invitation to explore a magical world illuminated by the moon and stars. Or if you don’t want to stray far, simply step outdoors and take advantage of the dark night skies in Yosemite Mariposa County to make a wish on a star, invent your own constellations, or simply be together and dream.
Can you find the heart on El Capitan? Photo: Theresa Ho
Yosemite Mariposa County has no shortage of iconic destinations perfect for memorializing your visit to the area. Thanks to its ease of access, Tunnel View is one of our winter favorites. While you’re there, look carefully for the heart feature on El Capitan. It’s a little less than halfway down from the top and close to the right-hand profile of the main buttress. It might be a little far away for your picture at Tunnel View, but if you locate it there, you’ll be ready to get a close-up as you drive down into the valley.
Another particularly romantic photo destination takes a little more effort to get to. Hike into the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias to the base of the Faithful Couple tree. Though this ancient sequoia started as two separate trees standing side by side, over time they grew together until they formed a single trunk below. Above, the two individuals extend together toward the sun. [Note: The Mariposa Grove was hard-hit during a wind-storm on January 19, 2021, and was closed to the public. As of this writing, there are no updates on when it will re-open, but we all hope it will be soon.]
Never underestimate the romance of a quiet fireplace and some fine wine.
At the end of the day, there is nothing more romantic than snuggling up together beside a crackling fire. Luckily there are many places in Yosemite Mariposa County where you can enjoy the warmth and light together.
Light an outdoor campfire in the campfire ring at your campground, or next to your stylish Airstream trailer at Autocamp to enjoy each other company and conversation. Curl up on a chair by one of the great fireplaces at The Ahwahnee while admiring Yosemite’s grand historic lodge. Or choose a private vacation rental cabin for a quiet evening in with a glass of wine by the fireplace.
Stop in at Savoury’s Restaurant for a delicious dinner for two.
Yosemite Mariposa County boasts a number of romantic restaurants perfect for a quiet dinner for two. Many of these also offer take-out options for you to enjoy back at your hotel or cabin. Mariposa County offers a wide array of dining options, from the casual elegance of Savoury’s Restaurant or the romance of a cozy Italian bistro at CostaLivos La Cuchina Italia — not to mention the grandeur of The Ahwahnee Dining Room in Yosemite Valley with its soaring ceilings and unparalleled views.
Alternatively, if you love cooking, rent a private cabin with a full kitchen and take advantage of this quiet time to collaborate on a special meal together.
A visit to the California Mining and Mineral Museum is truly worth its weight in gold for its fascinating insights into the CA geology that has shaped so much of the state’s history. If nothing else, be sure to stop in to view the largest mass of crystalline gold – 13.8 pounds.
Savor the sights, beat the heat, and add a splash of adventure on a rafting trip through Yosemite Mariposa County. Find flow while drifting quietly downriver past famous Yosemite landmarks on a scenic float trip. Or brace yourself for a thrilling ride through Class IV whitewater just outside Yosemite along Highway 140. Yosemite rafting is clearly the coolest game in town for summer fun.
Looking for an extended weekend visit to Yosemite Mariposa County with a four-legged family member in tow? You’re in luck! Perk up your ears for this 4-day itinerary that’s sure to set you up for a tail-wagging good time.