The biggest drawback to visiting in December is the closures of Tioga Road and Glacier Point Road typically closing in November, and opening in late-May. Don't forget read our quick tips for your winter visit below the November/December section. How about a travel guide, so as not to miss any highlights in Yosemite National Park, California? Visiting Yosemite National Park in winter means picturesque snow-topped peaks, glistening frozen lakes and plenty of activities to enjoy before heading inside to relax by a roaring fire (not to mention cheaper rates and fewer crowds). Yosemite Area Regional Transportation (YARTS) provides access to Yosemite Valley on a fixed schedule along several convenient routes. During the winter months, this is limited to stops along Highway 140 including stops in Merced, Catheys Valley, Mariposa, Midpines, El Portal and Yosemite … While there are many trails that are closed for the winter, there are plenty that are still accessible. The Yosemite Falls Trail is open all year long — including December 31 — which makes it an ideal trail to include on your route through the park. If you do the visit, yosemite valley is the section of the park you will focus your visit on, in all likelihood. Here is a selection of travel guides for Yosemite NP: Image copyright: Flickr CC 2.0 William Headings. The snow in Yosemite is a double-edged sword, making it beautiful, but also closing many of the roads. Yosemite Day Trip Itinerary - Lodging 07 December 2020 Beware "National Park Reservations" - this site is a SCAM 06 December 2020 Yosemite Determining How Stay-At-Home Order Impacts Park 06 December … Visitors with their own skis or snowshoes can drive to Badger Pass and go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. weather in december. Badger Pass Ski Area concessions, including downhill and Nordic rentals, will not be available during the 2020–2021 winter season. Once closed for the season, vehicles are not permitted between Crane Flat and Tioga Pass, including in the Tuolumne Meadows area. Re: Yosemite in December. Weather. On average, it snows 7 days in December. A unique experience in Yosemite at the end of December is cross-country skiing, downhill skiing and snowboarding or snowshoeing at Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area. The trail is wheel-chair accessible, pet friendly, and great for visitors of all ages! Simply put, most any traveler who spends time in Yosemite during the winter months spends the rest of the year dreaming about returning. (2:53). When they are, you must carry and know how to use them, regardless of the type of vehicle you are driving. A moderate to difficult trail hike of just over seven miles provides you with great views of the Yosemite Valley, Half Dome and Upper Yosemite Fall. Ice Skating. Yosemite may be very busy during winter holidays, especially in late December and early January, with traffic congestion and limited parking possible. Yosemite Valley & Wawona (4,000 ft / 1,200 m): 53°F (12°C) / 28°F (-2°C) Fire & Smoke This is a great way to see areas of the park that are closed to cars and only accessible by cross country skis or snowshoes. DAY HIKE TOURS: maximize your day in Yosemite on a fully guided, award-winning hiking tour on one of the Park’s best trails. Tire chains are often required on park roads. It should be noted a worsening from the previous month since in november there is an average of 4.6in of rainfall over 7 days. The average temperature in Yosemite Valley and Wawona in December is a high of 47, and a low of 28 degrees Fahrenheit (8/-2 degrees Celsius). Glacier Point Road will be groomed from Badger Pass to Bridalveil Creek Campground, but not all the way to Glacier Point. Winter is snow season especially in the high mountains, and it may rain in late fall or early spring. To get an idea of what the monthly average highs, lows, and rainfall are, use our guide to Yosemite weather. Yosemite Valley weather is seldom unbearably warm or cold. Those planning overnight ski or snowshoe trips must get a self-registration wilderness permit on the porch of the Badger Pass Ranger Station. Winter Events at Yosemite . Tire chains are often required on park roads. You'll love it! The other main benefit to visiting in December is the beauty of the snow falling covering the domes of the Valley or the giant sequoias of Mariposa Grove. Yosemite National Park in December is a paradise for anyone who likes winter scenery and/or winter sports! Visiting the park in December has wonderful benefits, as well as some drawbacks. It will get warmer throughout the day, so bring a daypack where you can put your layers as you take them off. 1. Just have a few questions and was wondering if anyone could help? If you do the visit, yosemite valley is the section of the park you will focus your visit on, in all likelihood. Wildland Trekking offers trips with the best of Yosemite: waterfalls, views, wildlife, solitude, adventure and fascinating natural and cultural interpretation. Backpacking options are very limited. Answer 1 of 14: Hi! However, Hetch Hetchy and Wawona remain open all year, and their trails will be snow-covered, but they will be open. The average temperature in Yosemite Valley and Wawona in December is a high of 47, and a low of 28 degrees Fahrenheit (8/-2 degrees Celsius). The beauty and majesty of snow in the Valley makes the park very photography-friendly. Winter is a magical time to visit Yosemite, with opportunities for hiking, playing in the snow, and quiet solitude. There probably won't be snow, and if there is it will be a light layer. Summer is the busiest time of the year, and spring and fall are also bustling—although not nearly as busy as summer. Portable toilets will be available. And, the low lighting in winter makes for great photography. December is a great time to explore Yosemite without the crowds. Re: Yosemite in December. Yosemite is amazing in the winter and so beautiful and there’s much more to see than the trees, which are amazing, of course. There is nothing like watching snow blanket the granite domes and lodgepole pines. November is a great time to visit Yosemite National Park with the crowds gone and mostly pleasant temperatures. INN-BASED PACKAGES: these tours are all-inclusive packages with lodging, amazing daily hikes, expert guides, meals, transportation and more! We will be at Mariposa and will take the YARTs in. Also, there are great hiking options in the Valley, Hetch Hetchy, Wawona and Mariposa Grove. (Last Updated On: November 25, 2020) If you are visiting for the first time, you are probably wondering what to do and where to stay in Yosemite National Park in Winter.Winter is definitely a different time in the park because a lot of things are closed, but I can tell you December, January, and February are actually a fantastic time to visit. There are 12.5 inches of snow on average and temperatures can be anywhere from lows of 27°F to highs of 47°F. Winter in Yosemite is snowy and cold, though sunny and chilly days are not uncommon. Yosemite Conservancy offers some fun winter programs that may include a full moon snowshoe hike or winter photography. Given the amount of time you'll have, as well as the time of year, the Valley is your best bet. Guided Yosemite treks are all-inclusive which covers permits; local transportation (excluded on certain tours); meals; equipment; safety systems and professional hiking/wilderness guides; all of which allows visitors to maximize their time in Yosemite and focus entirely on enjoying the Park. As conditions allow, Badger Pass Road will be open from approximately mid-December through March. On average, it snows 7 days in December. 43-year-old man killed after getting hit by vehicle on Thursday night. Water levels tend to be low, but once some snow and rain have fallen, Yosemite Falls begins flowing again (though not at springtime levels). . Sign up to receive our exclusive Wildland Wire emails and stay up to date with Wildland Trekking's promotions, discounts, contests, outdoor tips and tricks, trip reports and more! There probably won't be snow, and if there is it will be a light layer. Yosemite may be very busy during winter holidays, especially in late December and early January, with traffic congestion and limited parking possible. Summer is typically free from precipitation. A season of snow & solitude. Yosemite Valley & Wawona (4,000 ft / 1,200 m): 53°F (12°C) / 28°F (-2°C). Be sure to pack light layers for daytime and others that will keep you warm in the evenings, including a winter hat, when the sun sets and cooler air moves in. From December through April, backpacking in Yosemite nearly always involves snow camping and travel by skis or snowshoes. However from mid-December though early April, the Glacier Point/Badger Pass Road is plowed to the Badger Pass Ski Area, where both downhill and cross-country skiing are popular. You can get up-to-the-minute updates on our Yosemite Road Conditions page here.. Also, visit our Winter FAQs page to learn about what’s open and the best ways to get around Yosemite in the winter. Visiting the Ansel Adams Gallery or the Yosemite Museum, both by the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center, are great options if the weather prevents you from spending time outside. December is a great time to explore Yosemite without the crowds. Answer 1 of 12: This would be my first time travelling to Yosemite, and would be in Mid-December. (Permits obtained at Badger Pass are only valid for Glacier Point Road trailheads.) Ask anyone who's been to Yosemite National Park in the winter if they could imagine a place with more stunning beauty, greater solitude, more things to do—or a better way to spend their winter vacation—and we’re confident they'll tell you no. MODESTO, CA, (December 17, 2020) - A 43-year-old male pedestrian was fatally struck by an SUV on Modesto’s Yosemite Boulevard Thursday night, Modesto Police Department says. Even in November and May, if you want to avoid snow, you're likely to be limited to trailheads in Yosemite Valley, Wawona, and Hetch Hetchy , and, even then, you'll have a difficult time finding multi-night, snow-free trips. A unique experience in Yosemite at the end of December is cross-country skiing, downhill skiing and snowboarding or snowshoeing at Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area. CAMPING-BASED HIKING PACKAGES: camping-based hiking packages provide all-around hiking experiences of Yosemite on wonderful outdoor vacations. Flagstaff, Arizona 86004, All Content & Photos Copyrighted by WTC © 2021, Current Operating Guidelines & New Booking Terms →. In December it gets a little colder but it's still worth visiting. If you can make it to Yosemite in December, you will have an amazing trip, and leave with an appreciation for the snow and solitude of winter in the park. (December through March) While Yosemite Valley and Wawona remain accessible by car all year, the Tioga Road is closed (usually by sometime in November). Early mornings will be chilly, so be prepared with hats, gloves and warm layers. Winter in Yosemite is snowy and cold, though sunny and chilly days are not uncommon. The silence and beauty of Yosemite in winter is an unforgettable experience. Daytime temperatures usually reach 4°C in Yosemite in December, falling to -8°C at night. There are normally 6 hours of bright sunshine each day in Yosemite in December - that's 62% of daylight hours . It is truly a winter wonderland. We are planning to visit Yosemite during the Christmas period for 2 days. PORTERED TRIPS: on these innovative trips, guests hike with light day packs and camp near in stunning backcountry locations. Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area opens for the season on December 20th, and closes March 31st. Are you planning a holiday with hopefully nice weather in Yosemite National Park in December 2020? It’d be a pity to go all the way there and not stay for a bit. The road to Glacier Point is also closed (usually sometime in November). Mariposa Grove Road is also closed in December, although you can park your car at the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza and walk the two-mile Washburn Trail to the grove. Plan on starting your hike around 7 or 8, and make sure you can finish it within 6-8 hours due to the shorter days of winter. GUIDED BACKPACKING ADVENTURES: these are for people interested in an authentic Yosemite hiking adventure away from the roads and crowds. Ski huts at Glacier Point, Ostrander, Snow Creek, and Tuolumne Meadows will be closed. Many of the lower trails in the Valley, such as Bridalveil Fall, Mirror Lake, Lower Yosemite Falls and the Vernal Falls footbridge on the Mist Trail stay open through the winter. How sunny is it in Yosemite in December? The climate of Yosemite National Park in december is very bad the weather in Yosemite National Park in december is relatively wet (with 6.5in of precipitation over 10 days). In some areas, the park may have prescribed fires to mimic natural fires to promote forest health and reduce the risk of larger fires as conditions allow. The biggest benefit to visiting Yosemite in December is the lack of crowds. where both downhill and cross-country skiing are popular. Explore Yosemite with Award Winning Guides. Winter in Yosemite it typically cold and snowy, although sunny and warm days are not too uncommon. There are a plethora of winter activities at Yosemite National Park from cross-country skiing to ice skating to everything mentioned above, so you will definitely keep occupied and enjoy your visit to Yosemite in December (or any other winter month!). Highway 140 that runs through the Valley is open year-round, but may have snow chain restrictions. All that and more is what makes Yosemite one of the most iconic destinations in the USA. Before You Go to Yosemite. Yosemite National Park is home to some of the most epic and amazing hiking vacations in the world. The beauty and majesty of snow in the Valley makes the park very photography-friendly. The other two are the Wawona Campground, near the Wawona Hotel in southern Yosemite, and Hodgdon Meadow Campground, near the Big Oak Flat entrance (Yosemite's northwest entrance) on Highway 120. Learn what to expect when visiting Yosemite National Park in December. You can read NPS’ current conditions before heading out for the day. Chains will completely depend on the current road conditions, so take a look at CalTrans info before you go. Make sure you catch sunrise or sunset from Tunnel View, just outside the Valley. Days are shorter but the sun still shines for 6 hours each day on average. Most of the park is covered in snow during winter, but some trails in Yosemite Valley are often accessible. While most visitors come during the summer months, winter is a special time of year in Yosemite National Park. Another great winter hike is the short trail to Lower Yosemite Fall (easy: 1 mile, 30 minutes round trip). Even though it is cold out, make sure you are still drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Yosemite’s Chefs' Holidays at the Ahwahnee, held each year in January and February, feature some of the country's most innovative and acclaimed chefs. As the day winds down, head to the iconic Curry Village Ice Rink (shuttle … The trail may be snowy or icy (skis or snowshoes may be appropriate). Winter is a season of peace and quiet. Hazy or smoky conditions may occur even during winter. At 4,000 feet in the Yosemite Valley, park temperatures can fluctuate 30 degrees in one day, going from 51 F during the night to 87 F during the day. Winter in Yosemite it typically cold and snowy, although sunny and warm days are not too uncommon. Winter is a magical time in Yosemite National Park. Given the amount of time you'll have, as well as the time of year, the Valley is your best bet. 4025 East Huntington, Suite 150 Whether you’re driving or taking a tour bus, it’s a smart idea to check the road conditions. Mariposa Grove Road usually opens by sometime in April, allowing for access to vehicles displaying a disability placard, with free shuttle service between the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza (near South Entrance) and the Mariposa Grove. All facilities and services at Badger Pass will be closed. When the road is closed, the Washburn Trail provides a two-mile route (500 feet of elevation gain) to the Mariposa Grove. When they are, you must carry and know how to use them, regardless of the type of vehicle you are driving. 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