Road Journals Blog—If you haven’t spent much time in California’s Yosemite National Park, please move it to the top of your to-do list. Now.
And if I can make a further suggestion, I recommend planning your visit in the fall, winter, or spring, so you can avoid the crush of summer visitors who come from around the world to admire Half Dome, El Capitan, and other geologic celebrities.
My most recent trip was this past February, courtesy of Tenaya Lodge and the Ahwahnee Hotel. The snow was light, but we found just enough white stuff for a guided snowshoe hike one day, and then spent another day skiing at Badger Pass Ski Area, an adorable, uncrowded gem, where my 5-year-old son conquered the rope tow, and my husband discovered peaceful cross-country trails.
My family also loved the comforts of the Tenaya Lodge, located two miles from the park’s south entrance. There’s an ice rink, a heated indoor pool, a new spa, and a bouquet of house-made potato chips waiting at every table at Jackalope’s Bar and Grill (one of the lodge’s five restaurants).
On our final morning, we ate pancakes in the grand dining room at the Ahwahnee, gazing out the immense windows at a gentle snowfall. From there, we walked along the Merced River into the woods, savoring the hush and chill of winter and the surprise of feeling completely alone in one of the most visited places on earth.
Do you enjoy visiting Yosemite in the off-season? What do you like to see and do?
This blog post was first published in March 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.