Yosemite National Park in the winter

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August 21, 2014

Winter Play in Yosemite National Park

This story is brought to you by offMetro SF. offMetro SF is an online travel guide to getaways from San Francisco—car optional. When you need a city break, we know how best to get you off the beaten path, be it by train, bus, bike, boat, or car share. If you can't make the weekends longer, strive to make them better.

Everyone knows of the wonders of Yosemite in the summer. Less famous, and equally magical, are the wonders of the National Park in the winter, especially during the holidays.

Instead of verdant greens, crashing waterfalls and balmy hikes, picture a white fairyland, glistening icicles and sleigh rides. The quiet and coziness of the season are a stark contrast to the crowded warmer months. and the pleasures are equally delightful. These things to do in Yosemite National Park will make your winter magical.

The Great Outdoors

Fun Runs. Breathtaking scenery makes the Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area a unique place to learn, practice, or excel on skis. In addition to 10 runs and a beginner-friendly terrain park, the resort offers top-notch lessons at a variety of levels, plus cross-country skiing for those looking for a little snow fun without the adrenaline rush. Conversely, cross-country becomes the epitome of adventure through the Cross-Country Ski School, which offers snow-camping a night in the Glacier Point Ski Hut.

Let It Snow. Kiddies young and old are sure to love frolicking in Yosemite’s winter wonderland. The sheer fun of speeding over the snow on a rubber tube will make you shriek until you laugh and laugh until you cry. Snow tubing at the Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area is great for those who want thrills without skis, and the little ones can ride along with their parents ($17 per person, 2-hour session).

Sleigh Ride. Does it get any more picturesque than a horse-drawn sleigh through Yosemite? Tenaya Lodge serves up its own brand of holiday cheer with this delightful activity throughout the winter months ($30 adults, $20 kids). Through Incense Pines and Sugar Cedars, this 45-minute ride is pure heaven and will have you caroling and reminiscing in no time.

Baby It’s Cold Outside

As much wonder as snow angels, ice skating and the magical wintry landscape provide, one of the best things about low temps is warming up by the fire with a cup of cocoa. Thankfully, Yosemite hotels provide all the cozy you require.

Fallout Shelter. The LEED-minded Yosemite Valley Lodge offers cozy, contemporary, eco-friendly rooms and views, to boot.

Ode to Ahwahnee. A Yosemite classic, the Majestic Yosemite Hotel has been adding glamour to the park since the mid-1920s. even if you don’t sleep in one of its sumptuous rooms, a meal in the grand dining room is a must.

Fancy Feasts. Post-holidays, winter revelry comes in the form of the annual A Taste of Yosemite. The culinary, which takes place through January and February, features demonstrations and lectures from esteemed chefs and notable foodies around California.

Directions: Take Amtrak’s San Joaquin train. With connecting bus services, the journey from the Ferry Building to Yosemite is seamless.

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