Visiting Yosemite in December
From mid-December though early April, the Badger Pass Road is plowed to the Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area (Badger Pass Ski Resort), where both downhill and cross-country skiing are great fun. Snowshoeing and snow tubing are also very popular. Yosemite Valley is known for massive cliff faces, its plunging waterfalls, and its inviting meadows. In the winter, its scenery is picturesque, its Merced River flows gently, and both are beautiful when dusted with freshly fallen snow.
In Wawona, the Pioneer Yosemite History Center is a collection of historic buildings associated with people and events that developed the national park conception.
- Big Trees Dining Hall: Open mid Dec - Jan 1
- Breakfast~Lunch~ DinnerâÂÂ¨ Call 209/375-1425 for dinner reservations ~Lounge Service
The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias is a must-see.
- Weather: Winter in Yosemite is wonderfully snowy~ sunny days are common.
- Yosemite Valley & Wawona (4,000 ft ): 53°F / 28°F
Ranger-Naturalists lead walks and talks about Yosemite’s natural and cultural history, every day in December. Check listings at the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center.
TAKE A PHOTOGRAPHY CLASS
Enjoy the beauty of December in Yosemite. Join a photography expert from The Ansel Adams Gallery and learn how to best capture the landscape. Several FREE classes are offered weekly. Custom photography guides available upon request. Learn more and sign up at The Ansel Adams Gallery.
The Valley Floor Tour is a two-hour, guided tour of Yosemite Valley. It departs several times daily from Yosemite Valley Lodge, weather permitting. Call (209) 372-1240.
ADVENTURE OUT WITH YOSEMITE MOUNTAINEERING SCHOOL
Join one of the group classes or schedule a custom outing designed specifically for your group. Professional guides for Nordic skiers and snowshoe trips. Reservations required. Call (209) 372-8444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
YOSEMITE CONSERVANCY ADVENTURES
Experience December in the Park in a new way with Yosemite Conservancy’s naturalist guides! To learn more and/or to sign up, visit yosemiteconservancy.org/adventures or call (209) 379-2317 ext 10. Custom Adventures can be arranged for individuals and groups. Typical outings include:
- Full Moon Hike in Mariposa Grove
- Day Hike in Mariposa Grove
- Snowshoe Yosemite: Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias
- Snowshoe Yosemite: Valley Vistas atop Dewey Point
- Yosemite Photography
- Winter Sports In Yosemite In December
YOSEMITE SKI AND SNOWBOARD AREA
The Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area (Badger Pass) usually opens in mid December ~conditions permitting. Current information on downhill~alpine sports is available by calling (209) 372-8430. Lessons available.
CROSS COUNTRY SKIING AT BADGER PASS
Nordic skiing usually opens by mid December~conditions permitting. Along the Glacier Point Road, tracks are set ~ providing for excellent skiing. A skating lane is provided in the center of the road. Lessons available.
RANGER LED SNOWSHOE WALKS
Open 9am to 4pm, seven days a week when the Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area (Badger Pass) is open. Meet at the NPS A-FRAME for ranger led snowshoe walks. (as conditions permit.)
Half Dome Village for an extraordinary ice skating experience with a spectacular view of Half Dome. The ice rink hours, conditions permitting, are Monday- Friday, 3:30 to 6pm, and 7 to 9:30pm, weekends.
WALKING AND HIKING
Yosemite Valley offers a wide range of walking and hiking throughout the winter. Stop by Yosemite Valley Visitor Center for trail maps and more information about weather and current trail conditions.
Winter Sports in Yosemite in December .…we are now waiting for snow to cover the family friendly downhill runs at Badger Pass.
Scenic Wonders offers the nearest accommodations to the Badger Pass Ski Resort! âÂÂÂÂï¸ÂÂ
The dark starry December skies are incredible.
The sunsets are wonderfully colorful.
December sightseeing must include a stop at Tunnel View.…remember to bring your camera.
There are many experiences to be enjoyed this time of year.
âÂÂ¨Ice Skating at the outdoor Ice Rink ~with a wonderful view of Half Dome.
Snow Tubing, Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding @Badger Pass.
Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing @Badger Pass.
Hiking upon the Valley floor trails: Lower Yosemite Fall, Bridalveil Fall, Valley floor loop trail, and Mirror Lake.
Join a FREE photo walk with an expert from The Ansel Adams Gallery.
Snowshoeing with a Ranger @ Badger Pass. FREE. Meet at NPS A-Frame!
Join a Ranger-led nature hike in Yosemite Valley. FREE. Meet at the Visitor Center.
JUNIOR RANGER TALK -15 mins.
- Ranger Walk - Merced Meanders 1.5 hrs.
- Ranger Walk - Yosemite’s First People 1.5 hrs.
- Ranger Walk - Inspiring Generations 1.5 hrs.
- Ranger Walk - Ahwahneechee Stories and Games 1.5 hrs.
Things To Do Outside Yosemite Valley In December
Things to do outside Yosemite Valley in December include visiting the newly restored MARIPOSA GROVE OF THE BIG TREES!
Yosemite’s most famous stand of sequoias is the Mariposa Grove, which includes the famous Grizzly Giant, California Tunnel Tree, and about 500 mature giant sequoias. Four miles of newly built trails. Located at the Park’s south entrance.
The trailhead for this grove of 25 mature sequoias is near the Big Oak Flat and Tioga road intersection at Crane Flat. The moderately strenuous trail leads downhill from the parking area into the grove and drops 500 feet in one mile. Within the Tuolumne Grove there is an easy, half-mile, self-guided nature trail.
Yosemite’s quietest stand of sequoias is the Merced Grove, a group of approximately 20 mature trees accessible only on foot. It’s a three-mile round-trip hike, ski, or snowshoe into the grove. The trail drops 1.5 miles, making this a moderately strenuous hike on the uphill portion. The grove is marked by ROAD MARKER B-10.
CRANE FLAT SNOW PLAY AREA
A snow play area is open at Crane Flat Campground in winter~ when enough snow is present.
PIONEER YOSEMITE HISTORY CENTER
Horse-drawn wagons, a covered bridge, and log cabins provide a historic flavor to Wawona’s charm. A visit to the Pioneer Yosemite History Center explores Yosemite’s history and explains how Yosemite was the inspiration for national parks across America and around the world. The center is open throughout the year.
Scenic Wonders invites you to visit beautiful Yosemite. Stay in one of our Yosemite West family homes or condominiums. Call our reservation desk at 1-888-YOSEMITE.