Summer is the busiest time of the year, and spring and fall are also bustling—although not nearly as busy as summer. Winter is a season of peace and quiet. (Permits obtained at Badger Pass are only valid for Glacier Point Road trailheads.) Given the amount of time you'll have, as well as the time of year, the Valley is your best bet. Visiting the Ansel Adams Gallery or the Yosemite Museum, both by the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center, are great options if the weather prevents you from spending time outside. Daytime temperatures usually reach 4°C in Yosemite in December, falling to -8°C at night. December is a great time to explore Yosemite without the crowds. A moderate to difficult trail hike of just over seven miles provides you with great views of the Yosemite Valley, Half Dome and Upper Yosemite Fall. The beauty and majesty of snow in the Valley makes the park very photography-friendly. Flagstaff, Arizona 86004, All Content & Photos Copyrighted by WTC © 2021, Current Operating Guidelines & New Booking Terms →. weather in december. However, Hetch Hetchy and Wawona remain open all year, and their trails will be snow-covered, but they will be open. Winter in Yosemite is snowy and cold, though sunny and chilly days are not uncommon. Get the monthly weather forecast for Yosemite National Park, CA, including daily high/low, historical averages, to help you plan ahead. Whether you’re driving or taking a tour bus, it’s a smart idea to check the road conditions. The trail may be snowy or icy (skis or snowshoes may be appropriate). Winter in Yosemite it typically cold and snowy, although sunny and warm days are not too uncommon. Wildland Trekking offers trips with the best of Yosemite: waterfalls, views, wildlife, solitude, adventure and fascinating natural and cultural interpretation. Backpacking options are very limited. There probably won't be snow, and if there is it will be a light layer. The other main benefit to visiting in December is the beauty of the snow falling covering the domes of the Valley or the giant sequoias of Mariposa Grove. There are a plethora of winter activities at Yosemite National Park from cross-country skiing to ice skating to everything mentioned above, so you will definitely keep occupied and enjoy your visit to Yosemite in December (or any other winter month!). The silence and beauty of Yosemite in winter is an unforgettable experience. Tire chains are often required on park roads. Yosemite Conservancy offers some fun winter programs that may include a full moon snowshoe hike or winter photography. There are normally 6 hours of bright sunshine each day in Yosemite in December - that's 62% of daylight hours . If you can make it to Yosemite in December, you will have an amazing trip, and leave with an appreciation for the snow and solitude of winter in the park. The average temperature in Yosemite Valley and Wawona in December is a high of 47, and a low of 28 degrees Fahrenheit (8/-2 degrees Celsius). Mariposa Grove Road usually opens by sometime in April, allowing for access to vehicles displaying a disability placard, with free shuttle service between the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza (near South Entrance) and the Mariposa Grove. Weather. You can get up-to-the-minute updates on our Yosemite Road Conditions page here.. Also, visit our Winter FAQs page to learn about what’s open and the best ways to get around Yosemite in the winter. Winter is a magical time to visit Yosemite, with opportunities for hiking, playing in the snow, and quiet solitude. While most visitors come during the summer months, winter is a special time of year in Yosemite National Park. Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area opens for the season on December 20th, and closes March 31st. While there are many trails that are closed for the winter, there are plenty that are still accessible. CAMPING-BASED HIKING PACKAGES: camping-based hiking packages provide all-around hiking experiences of Yosemite on wonderful outdoor vacations. Badger Pass Ski Area concessions, including downhill and Nordic rentals, will not be available during the 2020–2021 winter season. There probably won't be snow, and if there is it will be a light layer. The biggest drawback to visiting in December is the closures of Tioga Road and Glacier Point Road typically closing in November, and opening in late-May. (December through March) All that and more is what makes Yosemite one of the most iconic destinations in the USA. Those planning overnight ski or snowshoe trips must get a self-registration wilderness permit on the porch of the Badger Pass Ranger Station. Ice Skating. Yosemite Valley & Wawona (4,000 ft / 1,200 m): 53°F (12°C) / 28°F (-2°C) Fire & Smoke Yosemite National Park is home to some of the most epic and amazing hiking vacations in the world. The biggest benefit to visiting Yosemite in December is the lack of crowds. Another great winter hike is the short trail to Lower Yosemite Fall (easy: 1 mile, 30 minutes round trip). It should be noted a worsening from the previous month since in november there is an average of 4.6in of rainfall over 7 days. Ski huts at Glacier Point, Ostrander, Snow Creek, and Tuolumne Meadows will be closed. Sign up to receive our exclusive Wildland Wire emails and stay up to date with Wildland Trekking's promotions, discounts, contests, outdoor tips and tricks, trip reports and more! Are you planning a holiday with hopefully nice weather in Yosemite National Park in December 2020? We are planning to visit Yosemite during the Christmas period for 2 days. Once closed for the season, vehicles are not permitted between Crane Flat and Tioga Pass, including in the Tuolumne Meadows area. Hazy or smoky conditions may occur even during winter. When they are, you must carry and know how to use them, regardless of the type of vehicle you are driving. Just have a few questions and was wondering if anyone could help? Answer 1 of 12: This would be my first time travelling to Yosemite, and would be in Mid-December. Re: Yosemite in December. Many of the lower trails in the Valley, such as Bridalveil Fall, Mirror Lake, Lower Yosemite Falls and the Vernal Falls footbridge on the Mist Trail stay open through the winter. Yosemite Valley weather is seldom unbearably warm or cold. INN-BASED PACKAGES: these tours are all-inclusive packages with lodging, amazing daily hikes, expert guides, meals, transportation and more! Guided Yosemite treks are all-inclusive which covers permits; local transportation (excluded on certain tours); meals; equipment; safety systems and professional hiking/wilderness guides; all of which allows visitors to maximize their time in Yosemite and focus entirely on enjoying the Park. Mariposa Grove Road is also closed in December, although you can park your car at the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza and walk the two-mile Washburn Trail to the grove. But, trails that take you higher in elevation, like Upper Yosemite Falls and 4-mile Trail are closed. The other two are the Wawona Campground, near the Wawona Hotel in southern Yosemite, and Hodgdon Meadow Campground, near the Big Oak Flat entrance (Yosemite's northwest entrance) on Highway 120. Tire chains are often required on park roads. Yosemite National Park in December is a paradise for anyone who likes winter scenery and/or winter sports! 4025 East Huntington, Suite 150 December is a great time to explore Yosemite without the crowds. A unique experience in Yosemite at the end of December is cross-country skiing, downhill skiing and snowboarding or snowshoeing at Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area. Winter is a magical time in Yosemite National Park. Chains will completely depend on the current road conditions, so take a look at CalTrans info before you go. Even though it is cold out, make sure you are still drinking plenty of water throughout the day. The beauty and majesty of snow in the Valley makes the park very photography-friendly. Visiting Yosemite National Park in winter means picturesque snow-topped peaks, glistening frozen lakes and plenty of activities to enjoy before heading inside to relax by a roaring fire (not to mention cheaper rates and fewer crowds). It will get warmer throughout the day, so bring a daypack where you can put your layers as you take them off. The snow in Yosemite is a double-edged sword, making it beautiful, but also closing many of the roads. (2:53). Answer 1 of 14: Hi! In some areas, the park may have prescribed fires to mimic natural fires to promote forest health and reduce the risk of larger fires as conditions allow. You can read NPS’ current conditions before heading out for the day. There are 12.5 inches of snow on average and temperatures can be anywhere from lows of 27°F to highs of 47°F. This is a great way to see areas of the park that are closed to cars and only accessible by cross country skis or snowshoes. where both downhill and cross-country skiing are popular. When the road is closed, the Washburn Trail provides a two-mile route (500 feet of elevation gain) to the Mariposa Grove. 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