February 6 - 8

Yosemite in the Winter

Wintertime in Yosemite National Park.

It's been a long time since I've been to Yosemite in the winter, in fact Yosemite is the first place where I ever encountered falling snow. I must have been 7 vacationing with my family.

Early February, Toby and I head up to the Sierra's to spend three days and two nights in the park, staying one night in Curry Village and one night at the historic Ahwahnee Hotel.

This was the perfect time with no crowds anywhere, the park was quiet and peaceful albeit cold at times.

Day 1 - Saturday, February 6

On a wet and rainy Saturday morning we hit the road for the four hour drive over to Yosemite National Park. From the Bay Area we head over toward a very rainy Merced and then proceeded up Highway 140 toward Mariposa. We stopped for an early lunch at Happy Burger Diner right on 140 in Mariposa where Toby had a burger and I had my favorite French Dip Sandwich. We then headed up along the Merced River toward Yosemite. The road was practically empty on our drive. Once we arrived at the toll gate there was evidence of snow on the ground and the chill in the air was upon us. Once we arrive in the valley we headed up to the Tunnel View for a sweeping view of Yosemite Valley. The fog hung low in the valley but we could clearly make out Bridelveil Falls. We then stopped by to hike to the foot of Bridelveil Falls before proceeding to the Swinging Bridge and Yosemite Falls. We then checked into our room at Curry Village. They put us in the Stonesman House which are hotel type rooms in one building (as opposed to the more familiar cabins or tents). That night we drove over to the Yosemite Lodge and had a nice dinner at the Mountain Room restaurant.

  • Lunch at Happy Burger Diner in Mariposa.

  • The huge Ferguson rock slide of 2006 covers Hwy 140

  • A slightly wet viewof Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View.

  • Bridelveil Falls as seen through the mist from Tunnel View.

  • Toby at the foot of Bridelveil Falls.

  • The winds whip Bridelveil falls side to side.

  • Toby at Swinging Bridge with Yosemite Falls in the background.

  • Fwee. By the Swinging Bridge and the foot of the Three Brother.

  • Looking west into the snowy valley toward Sentinael Beach.

  • Along the path near Sentinel Beach.

  • A large herd of deers unphased by the tourist by Yosemite Falls.

  • Toby by Yosemite Falls where John Muir once had his home.

  • The low fog hid the upper falls from this view.

  • At the base of Lower Yosemite Falls.

  • Toby at the base of Lower Yosemite Falls.

  • Room 802 at the Stonesman House in Curry Village.

  • Out and about in Curry Village, no we did not go ice skating.

  • Dinner at the Mountain Room at Yosemite Lodge.

Day 2 - Sunday, February 7

It snowed the previous night so when we woke up the landscape was a picturesque winter wonderland. We woke up early so we can go get the free continental breakfast in the Dining Pavilion in Curry Village. Once the sun rose the warmth quickly melted the snow resting on tree branches. The resulting melt made it seem like it was raining. After we checked out of the room we boarded the shuttle toward Mirror Lake (stop 17). The trail was all covered in snow but it was relatively flat hike toward Mirror Lake. Mirror Lake rests at the foot of Half Dome and isn't really a lake, just a wide section of the Tenaya Creek. After our hike we drove to the other end of Yosemite Valley to Valley View where Toby's family took a group picture back in the 70s. Since we were at the entrance to the valley we again drove up to Tunnel View for a familiar view in different lighting. It was lunch time so we headed to the Yosemite Lodge for a quick bite in their cafeteria. We then stopped at the Visitor Center and Museum before heading to the Ahwahnee Hotel. We checked in early and got a wonderful corner room (Room 347) which had two windows with commanding views of Glacier Point and Yosemite Falls. That afternoon we had 'tea' in the Great Room before we did a short hike to the base of Royal Arch Cascade waterfall just outside the hotel. We stopped by the lounge where I had a drink before getting ready for dinner that evening in the hotel.

  • Snow ladden trees around Curry Village

  • The Curry Village sign.

  • The sun breaks through the clouds and slowly melts the resting snow.

  • The Stonesmans House in Curry Village.

  • Half Dome as seen from Curry Village.

  • Toby at Mirror Lake

  • At the end of our Mirror Lake hike

  • Alan at the foot of Half Dome.

  • Mirror Lake and the reflection of Mt. Watkins.

  • Toby at Mirror Lake.

  • FWEE at Mirror Lake.

  • Looking up at Half Dome.

  • The sun filtering through dark pine trees from our hike to Mirror Lake.

  • A frozen section of Mirror Lake.

  • Half Dome from the Yosemite Valley.

  • Toby holding up the photo taken from this very spot when he was a kid.

  • Here is a close up of the photo from the 1970's, Toby is looking to the left.

  • Toby is a similar pose although the rock is no longer there.

  • Peace from Tunnel View.

  • Toby at Tunnel Vie, can you make out Half Dome in the background?

  • Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View.

  • Fwee!

  • Half Dome and El Capitan shrouded in clouds

  • The Merced River snakes along the valley floor.

  • Miwok Indian hut replica at the Yosemite Museum.

  • Room 347 at the Ahwahnee

  • View from our hotel room at the Ahwahnee looking toward Glacier Point.

  • A view looking up at our third row window (itop of middle section)

  • The Great Room in the Ahwahnee.

  • Afternoon tea and cookies served from 4-5pm.

  • Toby at the base of Royal Arch Cascade.

  • Alan at the base of Royal Arch Cascade

  • The entrance corridor to the Ahwahnee.

  • Sapphire and Tonic at the Ahwahnee bar.

  • Dinner at the Ahwahnee.

  • One huge fireplace in the hotel.

Day 3 - Monday, February 8

Blue skies greeted us on our last morning in the park. We could clearly see Glacier Point and a stunning Upper Yosemite Falls from our room. Before we checked out of the Ahwahnee we hiked over to the base of the Royal Arches just west of the hotel. After we checked out of the hotel we drove over to Yosemite Falls for a sunnier view of the majestic falls. It was very enjoyable with absolutely no crowds at the falls. We then had lunch again in Yosemite Lodge's cafeteria. By this time the clouds were enveloping the valley. We made one last stop at Tunnel View now that we could see El Capitan before departing the park and heading home.

  • Clear view of Yosemite Falls from our room.

  • Looking out toward Glacier Point from our room.

  • Closeup of Upper Yosemite Falls.

  • Toby on our hike toward Royal Arch

  • Alan under the Royal Arches feature in Yosemite.

  • Looking up at Royal Arch Cascade.

  • In our room at the Ahwahnee before checking out.

  • At Yosemite Falls.

  • Fwee

  • Toby at the foot of Lower Yosemite Falls.

  • Alan at the foot of Lower Yosemite Falls.

  • Both of us at Lower Yosemite Falls.

  • Toby at the same location from our first day in the park.

  • Our car and Half Dome.

  • Half Dome as seen from Yosemite Falls area.

  • Upper Yosemite Falls reflected on the Merced River.

  • Toby one last time at Tunnel View before we head home.