Wave goodbye to crowds. Breathe fresh winter air. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of snow-kissed cliffs. These peaceful, fun, and amazing elements of life come together at Yosemite Mariposa County. Here is a list of things to do in Yosemite to help you plan your trip wisely.
Explore the Yosemite Valley
Walk through some of the incredible scenic beauties on the planet. The surrounding golden maples and dogwoods hold your feet urging you to spend more time in the valley. Lake McClure and its little brother Lake McSwain is something that you can’t afford to miss. The horseshoe-shaped Lake McClure is fed by Yosemite’s Wild and Scenic Merced River and features three marinas. Enjoy fishing and other water sports. Rent a boat with your friends and explore the 80 miles of shoreline, or strap into your wakeboard and get some air.
Ski through a giant sequoia grove
Have an encounter with some of the oldest fauna while you snowshoe or ski through the sequoia grove. The park has three popular sequoia groves, namely, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, Tuolumne Grove, and the Merced Grove. Mariposa Grove measures 2 miles (3.2 km) and is located near the south entrance gate by Wawon. Trailheads for the Tuolumne Grove and the Merced Grove are both on Highway 120/The Big Oak Flat Road.
Hiking and biking
If you to enjoy Yosemite without risk, hiking and biking activities at lower elevations that are free from snow are meant for you. Though Yosemite National Park is an all-season favorite, hiking and biking in winter have their charm. If you are visiting in winter, choose the Cook’s Meadow, Lower Yosemite Fall Trail, or the lower half of Upper Yosemite Fall Hike to avoid the chilled climate. These elevations receive extra sunshine to keep you warm.
Explore A Historic Western Town
The Gold Rush. If history interests you, you might be familiar with the term. A tour to Yosemite National Park is a flashback to the pages of history. The quest to capture gold mines and make profits led to atrocities on the local population. The California State Mining and Mineral Museum exhibit the artifacts of the mining days. The most notable exhibit is the largest and most beautiful specimen of gold in the world, The Fricot Nugget. Check in the Mariposa Museum & History Center or the Northern Mariposa County History Center to know the lives of its people.
Ice skating near the south entrance to Yosemite
Visiting Yosemite with kids? If yes, then add the Goat Meadow Snow Play Area to your things-to-do list. The Goat Meadow Snow Play Area is just outside the boundary of Yosemite National Park’s south entrance on Highway 41. Its parking area is surrounded by small hills with lots of sledding runs where your kids can skate with little risk. Let them have fun throwing snowballs and making snow angels, snow people, and other sculptures.
Climb the rock
Put your physical strength and endurance to the test. Yosemite Valley is a favorite destination for rock climbers – seasoned or beginners. El Capitan Climbing (over 3000 feet) and Half Dome (1,360 feet) are popular rock peaks. Here records are broken and created. Reaching the peak of the Half Dome demands the strenuous effort of covering 14 to 17 miles and it may take around 10 to 14 hours for trained climbers.
Don’t Miss the Tunnel View
Get on highway #41 toward Glacier Point, or Wawona. Climb a short distance off the valley floor to see one of the must-stop vantage points in Yosemite, Tunnel View. The gigantic rock formation of the El Capitan captures the eyeballs from a distance. You can find long queues of travelers on both sides of the road to capture the majestic view and admire the granite-led rock formation. On the right, Bridalveil Fall creates a mesmerizing view.
El Capitan’s Firefall Light Show
When the sun’s beam strikes the water surface of the Horsetail fall while it’s leaving off the El Capitan rock, it creates a spectacular golden-red view. If you are visiting California in February, add this natural charisma to your things to do in Yosemite. The angle between the sun rays and water surface plays a critical role in the formation of the Firefall Lightshow that a student of science can argue the best.