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Five Things To Do If You’re Visiting Yosemite In The Winter

Posted on February 17th, 2022 by Paul Hill

One of California’s most beautiful national parks takes on a new form during the winter months. The world becomes quieter among the vast river valleys and mountain tops that are covered with snow.

Believe it or not, February is a pretty popular month to visit Yosemite. This is because of a natural phenomenon known as Firefall, which happens during the last two weeks of February. During this event, the sunlight will reflect off of the famous Horsetail falls during sunset, which will briefly cause it to glow bright orange like fire.

If you’re wondering what else you can do in Yosemite during the winter months, then you’re in luck! We’ve gathered a list of five places you must visit if you’re planning a trip from Fresno to Yosemite in February or March.

  1. Snowshoe To Mariposa Grove – To view giant sequoia trees during the winter months, you’ll need to park near the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza and then snowshoe two miles down Washburn Trail to view these massive trees. It might seem like a lot of work to see Yosemite’s giant sequoias, but once you make it to Mariposa Grove you’ll understand why people trek through the snow to see these trees.
  2. Hit The Ski Slopes In Badger Pass – There’s a whole slew of adrenaline-filled activities you can enjoy at Badger Pass Ski Area. On one hand you can purchase a lift ticket to enjoy downhill skiing, snowboarding and tubing. If you’re looking for an activity that allows you to pace yourself or focus on sightseeing instead, Badger Pass also offers opportunities to snowshoe, backcountry ski and cross country ski.
  3. Walk To Lower Yosemite Falls – This hike is perfect for those taking a day trip to Yosemite this winter. This one mile trail is paved and takes only 30 minutes to walk each way. If you take this hike during the early morning, you might even get a chance to see what is known as frazil ice. This slushy-like ice can be seen floating down the creek from the base of Lower Yosemite falls.
  4. Hike The Mirror Lake Trail – Mirror lake is a body of water formed by snow melt, which means you’ll only be able to view it during the winter and spring months. To view Mirror lake when it has water in it, hikers have two options: they could simply walk the two mile trail to and from the lake, or add an extra three miles to their trip by walking around the entire lake.
  5. Witness “Firefall” At Horsetail Falls – From February 10th until the 28th, visitors can witness this natural phenomenon right around sunset. For the best views of Firefall, we recommend securing a spot within the El Capitan Picnic Area, which is about a mile and a half walk from the Yosemite Falls parking lot. According to park officials, you’ll need to wear warm clothes, sturdy shoes and bring a headlamp so you’re able to find your way back to the parking lot after dark.

It’s also important to note that tire chains are required to navigate most roads around the park this time of year. That includes vehicles that have four-wheel or all-wheel drive. Since most rental car companies don’t allow the use of snow chains on their vehicles, we recommend parking at the YARTS bus stop on Highway 140 outside of Yosemite National Park. If you decide to take the YARTS bus into Yosemite, please note that you’ll still have to pay a fee to enter the park.

Book Your Stay In Fresno Before Venturing To Yosemite

Adequate rest is vital before you decide to visit Yosemite National Park. Rather than exhaust yourself by driving into the mountains after your flight, take the night to rest by staying at the Piccadilly Inn Airport. As one of the most exquisite airport hotels around Fresno Yosemite International Airport, you won’t have to travel far after you land in order to rest comfortably in our spacious and serene rooms.

We also offer a variety of amenities including a fitness center, heated spa, and three onsite establishments for food and drinks.

Make your stay in Fresno comfortable, convenient and enjoyable by reserving a room at the Piccadilly Inn Airport.

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The County of Fresno requires our pool, spa and gym remained closed for the time being, but we are still accepting new bookings for accommodations! We are closely monitoring COVID-19 shut down guidelines and will continue to update our guests accordingly. Providing a safe and clean environment for our guests and colleagues continues to be our top priority.