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TR: Winter driving, camping, and snowshoeing in Yosemite

Travelling to and visiting Yosemite National Park in Winter and most of Spring, when snow is on the ground. Includes visiting in winter, snow play, downhill and nordic skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing, and snow camping.

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TR: Winter driving, camping, and snowshoeing in Yosemite

Postby archive » Mon Jan 22, 2007 11:09 am

Author: Jochen Andritzky (---.ucsc.edu)
Date: 01-17-05 08:59

We've been there last weekend Jan 15/16 at best weather. Since I have got the feeling that the rangers do not know what's going on in their NP (or think that their guests are too dumb to use their own discretion), I would like to give some information from the point of view of an experienced Swiss mountaineer.

1. Driving to Badger Pass is not a problem. Winter tires and 4x4 is an advantage, but you should be fine. At the entrance gate we were told that chains are required (although we have a pickup camper with snowtires and 4x4) which threw over my whole weekend hiking plans but was a wrong information. In fact, we took the Badger Pass Bus what we cannot recommend. It takes 1+ hour up there, it is the only vehicle which puts on chains, and getting back at 4 oclock at the latest is pretty early and a hassle since there are crowds of people and the loading the bus is the total mess.

2. Walking up to the Upper Yosemite Falls should be feasible with good boots and poles. Snowshoes are an advantage. We had to turn around but we met a guy with snowshoes going up the same day, so he should have broken a pass. Watch for falling ice. Or in fact, don't watch so that the ice doesn't hit you in the face ;-)

3. The information that you need snowshoes for hikes from Badger Pass is wrong, too. It is a sales argument from the snowshoe rental shop. We went to Dewey Point together with about 100 other folks, everybody equipped with snowshoes for unbelievable 15$ a day. The snow on the trail was well packed so there is absolutely no need for snowshoes. This might apply to all winter trails from Badger Pass. If you want to rent snowshoes and want to do some real snowshoeing, just walk besides the "official" trails.

Snow ranges from 20'' in the valley to about 80'' on Badger Pass. Temperatures were pretty warm, above 32 except for the night.

A comment on the Upper Pine Campground: They do not have a working reservation system, so you don't need to reserve, and the campground is a mess, too. There were the most disgusting bathrooms I have seen on US campgrounds so far.

I am pretty upset about all the wrong information which was given to us. I am also disappointed how few serious and experienced people are hiking there. If someone is reading this message who wants to join some serious hikes in spring, please emai
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