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ideas: weekend winter camping in yosemite backcountry?

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.

Moderators: Wickett, dan

ideas: weekend winter camping in yosemite backcountry?

Postby archive » Sun Jan 21, 2007 8:48 pm

Author: Peter (---.hbk.com)
Date: 02-04-02 15:34

We are planning a weekend camping trip in the high country in Yosemite. Does anybody have any ideas about a good place to go? We are looking for as few people as possible and interesting/challenging terrain.

thank you

Re: ideas weekend winter camping in yosemite?
Author: Dan Anderson (---.san.rr.com)
Date: 02-06-02 23:49

The winter backcountry has few people. You can hike up the Yosemite Falls trail or Snow Creek trail to the north rim. Very few people go there. There's places with lots of sun and free of snow. Beautiful views of the Valley. This is probably the best for winter camping on foot.

Many people go to Little Yosemite Valley, even in Winter. However, it's a lot less crowded than in Summer. You can see areas accessible only on foot. The Half Dome cables are down in winter.

The south rim of Yosemite Valley is easily accessible from the Inspiration Point trail or from Badger Pass Ski Area. Best to have snowshoes or skis. Also has beautiful views of the Valley

There's also the Tuolumne Meadows area, accessible from Tioga Pass via the Lee Vining Road.

Get the book Snowshoe Trails of Yosemite by Michael C. White for details and more ideas. See the bookstore section of this website.

Re: ideas weekend winter camping in yosemite?
Author: Mike (---.dsl.sktn01.pacbell.net)
Date: 02-08-02 10:39

Last month I snowshoed from Badger Pass to Crocker Point. Except for some dayhikers at Dewey Point, we saw nobody that weekend. The views from up there are incredible. The trail wasn't real difficult. I would also recommend the Yosemite Snowshoing book.

You can read about my trip at http://www.thebackcountry.org/crocker

Good luck,

Re: ideas weekend winter camping in yosemite?
Author: sarah-marie (---.syix.com)
Date: 08-27-03 23:42

i need ideas for winter camping in the yosemite valley this winter, backpackin? sure! X-country skiing? yes! storing a turkey in the snow for X-mas dinner? maybe....
i know nothing and am technologically retarded...this computer search thing takes too long...if any ideas are out there, i welcome all ecept stay home.
appreciate it, thanks. sa

Re: ideas weekend winter camping in yosemite?
Author: Dan Anderson (---.biz.rr.com)
Date: 09-11-03 15:08

Most people snowshoe around the Glacier Point Road in Winter. Once you're off the road, you'll meet few or no people. I would head north from the road so you can see some views of the Valley below.

Other popular areas are heading up the Yosemite Falls Trail or Snow Creek Trail to the areas on the north rim of Yosemite Valley.

Some people also backpack in Little Yosemite Valley. The snow is spotty there.

I would forget the turkey and save yourself a backache.

Re: ideas weekend winter camping in yosemite?
Author: Wendy (---.mts.net)
Date: 09-28-03 20:13

My husband and I are looking for camping spots for over the christmas holidays. We are from a climate that is -30'C so we are not faint hearted but not extremists. We are only from Canada. If you have any ideas please let me know.

Re: ideas weekend winter camping in yosemite?
Author: Dan Anderson (10.11.12.---)
Date: 09-28-03 20:31

I recommend the Upper Pines Campground in Yosemite Valley. I'ts freezing at night--high 20s F. During the day it gets up into the 60s. There's little or no snow by Christmas--most comes in January and February (but no guarantees). In other words, it'll be cold at night but reasonable during the day. You'll have to bundle up.

Other campgrounds in the Yosemite High Country are closed in Winter and are under several feet of snow.

Re: ideas weekend winter camping in yosemite?
Author: Margaret (---.BIC.Berkeley.EDU)
Date: 02-03-04 19:28

Hey. I looked at your pictures of your Badger Pass-Dewey pt trip (beautiful!). I was wondering if you knew if you could snowshoe from Badger pass down into the Valley. Also, how long it would take and which trail if you happen to know that too.


Re: ideas weekend winter camping in yosemite?
Author: Dan Anderson (10.11.12.---)
Date: 02-03-04 21:46

I can't speak for Mike, but I have hiked from the Tunnel View parking lot (aka Inspiration Point--1 of 5 with that name) to Dewey Point and back in Winter (during a low snow year). I hiked to Dewey point and back in a day with lots of time to spare.

From the other direction, it's relatively easy to reach Dewey Point from Badger Pass--it's a marked ski/snowshoe trail--unless the weather is bad (snow or fog).

There's a summer trail that traverses the south rim of Yosemite Valley and heads east-west. You can see a metal sign about 200 feet south of Dewey Point that's part of the trail. If you're lucky, you'll see ski, snowshoe, or footprints on the summer trail. Otherwise, it's impossible to see. That trail heads to Crocker Point, the next point west, then Old Inspiration Point, then heads down to connect with an old road that heads down into the Valley. This road closed then they built the tunnel and road in the 1930s. Anyway, you can head east and down on the road and it goes all the way to Bridalveil Falls in the Valley. A trail breaks off to head to Tunnel View. By this point the road and trails should be very visible--not much snow at the Valley elevation usually.

I would recommend trying it in the uphill direction first if you don't want to get lost. Start at the Tunnel View parking lot and head up the trail to Old Inspiration Point, then east to Crocker Point, Dewey Point, and back (or continue south, on to Badger Pass). If you decide to continue on to Badger Pass, you can take the free shuttle back to the Valley. Ask to be dropped off at the Tunnel View parking lot where your car, presumably, was left.

Get a map, and if you know how to use it, a GPS (I need to get a GPS sometime, probably).

I just glanced at Mike's photos and it looks like he basically took the route I described. The Tunnel View is on the way down to the Valley. One can take the old road down to the Valley and end up at Bridalveil Falls. Get a good topo map (I recommend Tom Harrison's Trail Map of Yosemite Valley, but other's are probably fine).

Re: ideas weekend winter camping in yosemite?
Author: Andy Mathews (---.dhs.gov)
Date: 08-31-04 09:40

I am testing the waters and seeing the strong posibilities of doing a lot of winter camping. Is anyone going..if so, please let me know where, when and how long. I look forward to the challenge, kind of...

Re: ideas weekend winter camping in yosemite?
Author: Joe Cabbage (38.112.112.---)
Date: 12-09-04 07:30

What? I'm confused. If the Supercarbontonite is radioactive, why do people still come to Yosemite?

Re: ideas weekend winter camping in yosemite?
Author: james (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net)
Date: 09-27-05 18:33

I would like to find a place to winter camp, I've done it before and would like to setup a tent and possibly do some stream fishing. Does anyone have any idea. I have gear that can handle -10 weather. Or can someone recomend a book to look into some other places to winter camp in Nothern Ca.

Thank you,


Re: ideas weekend winter camping in yosemite?
Author: Dan Anderson (---.west.biz.rr.com)
Date: 09-27-05 21:22

Most people snow camp along the Glacier Point Road. It's plowed to the Badger Pass ski area and you can park overnight for free (check in at the ranger station (A-frame) for where to park and for a permit.

You can fish at Bridalveil Creek (at least that's the easiest). Parts are open water in Winter (depending). Your gear should be plenty warm--it is usually 10-20F at night.

Don't know about other places north of Yosemite very well.
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