TRAVEL GUIDE: YOSEMITE IN THE SNOW
I have been to Yosemite more times than I can count, but I have never been during winter. And honestly, it’s a completely different park. Some of my favorite spots couldn't be reached because there was too much snow, but that’s okay I made some new favorites. For those of you planning your first trip to Yosemite and you are worrying about places to go and things to see, stop worrying. Yosemite is like Disneyland, once you get in you will figure it out. There are things to see but the majority of it is all on a loop in the valley, so as long as you keep moving along the loop you will see everything the valley has to offer! If you miss something, guess what? It's a loop so you will see it again in about 20 minutes. I have driven around this loop a million times and every time I do I seem to find something new. The light changes, the colors change, every picture is different and gives you ample opportunities to take a photo. In the winter the only entrance that was open for me, coming from Los Angeles, was off of Highway 41. If you take this route into the park then it will be take you about an hour to get to the bottom of the valley floor. Every turn is beautiful but just wait until you get to the tunnel, on the other side of that tunnel is the most beautiful sight you've ever seen. It's grand and overwhelming and you honestly don't really know where to look because it's all so magnificent. And it has a really easy name to remember, tunnel view. I always make a point to stop here and take a couple pictures, but there is something about winter that makes tunnel view the most popular spot in Yosemite.
Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks so... if you want to catch this spot at sunset you better plan ahead and get there early before all the good spots are taken! Come back at night too!
Everyone that travels to the snow brings their new beanie and jacket from Christmas but I strongly recommend gloves! Your hands just get so cold. And bring a scarf to keep your neck warm too. The most crucial thing is your feet, you need to bring lots of extra socks and good shoes. I don’t care how dorky you look, I’m telling you its worth it. I wear Ahnu boots and Jerry wears Blundstone boots, they seem to do the trick. But I can’t tell you how many people I see wearing Nike Frees or UGGs and they are slipping all over the place. Those are awesome shoes… just not for the snow.
We stay in Curry Camp, in a heated canvas tent. They have lots of options, ranging from non-tented tents to nice little cabins. I am a big baby when it comes to the cold so I opted for the second cheapest option with the heated canvas tent. The website says they provide linens and blankets, which they do, but I strongly suggest bringing your own sleeping bags.
I’m warning you now, there are not very many food options so plan ahead. For breakfast we brought some fruit, granola bars and yogurt… oh and donuts. For lunch we brought pb & j ingredients plus some cheese and crackers. It’s not the best meal plan but its better than nothing. Since, we stay at Curry Camp so you cannot cook so our options for dinner are the pizza deck, the Awahnee, the Mountain Room or the food court at Yosemite lodge. Mind you, the Awahnee and the Mountain Room are pricey and require you to dress halfway decent, but by the end of the day after you’ve been hiking around and bundled up, you don't really want to dress up and fix your hair. So if you’re like me and you don’t want to get all dolled up when your camping then just head on over to the pizza deck or the food court.
The mornings get very cold, so if you come out to your car in the morning and the window is covered in ice, turn your car on to let it start warming up and just use a credit card to scrape it off. Or you can bring a spatula! Also, we bought snow chains just in case from Pep Boys for $100. We didn't end up having to use them so we returned them, they charge a 20% restocking fee but just try to think of it like a rental fee for your safety.
The last shot before you leave. Let me know if you have any questions regarding your stay in Yosemite!