Visiting in Winter

Yosemite waterfall in winter.
During winter, you may or may not find snow on the floor of Yosemite Valley, but Yosemite Falls is nearly always flowing at least a little.

NPS Photo

Winter

(December through March)
A season of snow & solitude

Areas to visit

While Yosemite Valley and Wawona remain accessible by car all year, the Tioga Road is closed (usually by sometime in November). Once closed for the season, vehicles are not permitted between Crane Flat and Tioga Pass, including in the Tuolumne Meadows area. The road to Glacier Point is also closed (usually sometime in November). 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. Tire chains are often required on park roads. When they are, you must carry and know how to use them, regardless of the type of vehicle you are driving.

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. When the road is closed, the Washburn Trail provides a two-mile route (500 feet of elevation gain) to the Mariposa Grove. The trail may be snowy or icy (skis or snowshoes may be appropriate).

Weather

Winter in Yosemite is snowy and cold, though sunny and chilly days are not uncommon.
Yosemite Valley & Wawona (4,000 ft / 1,200 m): 53°F (12°C) / 28°F (-2°C)

Fire & Smoke

Hazy or smoky conditions may occur even during winter. 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.

Rivers & Waterfalls

Water levels tend to be low, but once some snow and rain have fallen, Yosemite Falls begins flowing again (though not at springtime levels).

Hiking

Most of the park is covered in snow during winter, but some trails in Yosemite Valley are often accessible. Backpacking options are very limited.

 
 

Last updated: July 17, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 577
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Phone:

(209) 372-0200

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