Yosemite Area

"I must return to the mountains—to Yosemite. I am told that the winter storms there will not be easily borne, but I am bewitched, enchanted, and tomorrow I must start for the great temple to listen to the winter songs and sermons preached and sung only there." — Letter to Mrs. Ezra Carr (November 15, 1869) - John Muir


Winter generally starts when there is enough snow in the Sierras, but we clock it just before Christmas when winter weather is in effect. Though in California rains mostly comes in January or March, but you never really know! Look for that two weeks of crystal clear weather in Feburary. You will find that it can be in the 80's any time of year and that most storms are a day and a half at best. Highway 140 is the lowest elevation entrance and rarely requires chains.

Frankly, we love this time of year in the Park because you get the most picturesque photo ops, the winter sports are refreshingl, and it's not crowded. The Bug is snug and warm. This time of year, great food and beer can make all the difference!

Early Winter
Half Dome

Snowshoeing at Tuolumne Grove



Off season means MUSIC every weekend at the Bug. Generally folk, bluegrass or the like. Cheery and fun. Look at the Blog for other events and goings on.

We recommend Sequoia Grove snowshoeing at Tuolumne and Merced Groves to soak in the massive trees in white snow, orange bark and green foilage. Tuolumne Grove is the easiest mile in and mile out, take snowshoes. Merced Grove is 50% longer with snowshoes, smaller but usually quiet. $20.00 daily snowshoe rental from the Bug with poles.

From Badger Pass to Dewey Point is a fantastic long day trip for the hearty. Rare winter views from the Valley Rim. Take snack and a full lunch and lots of water. Marked trails. Rent touring skis from Badger Pass.

Cross Country with track skis to Glacier Point require overnight stays. We always recommend Ostrander Hut (really a parkitecture XC ski hostel) which is best with touring skis and overnight reservations are required as well. Book early! These are all world class cross country courses and trails with fantastic views of El Capitan, Yosemite Valley and the High Sierra. Stay here the night before or after, that's why we have the Spa!

At Badger Pass, above Yosemite Valley, is great for beginner and family skiing. Is very affordable and fun. It is an hour and a half from here, but worthwhile if you have that extra day. I recommend half days after 1pm for those on a schedule and a budget. Rentals and classes available.

Fantastic fun for everyone. My favorite. Fire pit and tent and hot beverages for those who are there to watch and enjoy. Drizzle, snow or shine, two or three sessions a day. Go to Ahwahnee Lobby Bar afterwards for a apres skate!

Bring your bike and cycle along the Merced Wild & Scenic River at Briceberg BLM day use area 2 miles below us. It is generally beautiful and warm during the day through winter. Much preferable to summer's heat. You can climb the Burma Grade switch backs that starts there too up 1900 feet. At the top is a 20 mile loop that has great sunshine and views up the Merced River Valley including Yosemite.

Yes, it is California! It is all about altitude and durable snowline is above the Valley Floor. We recommend the south facing warm rim hikes all winter in Yosemite Valley. Even in the rare case the trail is covered with snow, you will at least make it half way up and into beautiful winter valley views. Boots are best!

Columbia Point is part way up the Upper Yosemite Fall Trail at Camp 4. Take a lunch and water for the sunny point. Bebop around a 1/4 mile further up the trail and view Upper Yosemite Falls dump into a large snowcone of crystallized falling water!

Mariposa Sequoia Grove is the last winter road to close and the first to open. Ask at the desk and take your boots for a great winter hike.

Vernal Falls view from the bridge or do John Muir to the top. Every winter day in Yosemite Valley should include this. Paved trail for leashed dog.

Mirror Lake is not warm BUT in the winter it IS finally a lake. Super photo op! Walk around on the entire Mirror Lake Loop for great winter wildlife exposure. You can get a bit up the Snow Creek Falls Trail past tree line for a winter close up of Half Dome and Clouds Rest.

Hites Cove Trail is 10 miles up the Merced River from the Bug and is excellent lower elevation for flora and fauna into the spring. Take your dog on this nice quarter day trip, it leads to historic Ahwahnee indian wintering grounds and gold mine site.

Hetch Hetchy is lower elevation than Yosemite Valley and the trail on the south facing side is warm and beautiful with the waterfalls and the lake. My favorite time there is winter and spring. If you have a day to polish off or can take Hwy 120 out of the Park, give this the time it derserves. 2 hours from Bug. Park at the dam, walk through the tunnel and wa la, keep going.

Even for those of use who are adventurous there are parts of the day you are not going out, or have an hour or four to kill.
Try out the sleigh rides at Yosemite Trails enroute on the South Entrance to the Mariposa Sequoia Grove if you don't want to snowshoe the 2 miles in.
Tunnel View in the Winter when clouds break at any time is better than midsummer.
Bridalveil Falls is now just yours, worth the stop and quick walk.
Visitor's Center is exceptionally & recently well done, and
Ansel Adams Gallery is always worth a visit. Also in Yosemite Village is
the almost kitsch Natural History Museum
Ahwahnee Hotel, yes.... The bar is great and historical decor and shops are well done.
Call me a geek, but the Parkitecture is what I slow dow to look at in winter. the Bridges, the Church, the Ahwahnee, the Curry Village front desk, the Le Conte lodge, and the POST OFFICE!


Beside the old house, non-profits and neighborhood feeling, check out the railroad train and it's trestle from the old Yosemite Railroad.

Spend a half day here, there is a State Mining and Mineral Museum at the Fairgrounds, old Jail, fascinating Mariposa History Center, old Bars, a small but good Prospector's Brewery, very old Courthouse, cool graveyard & old Gold Rush section on the main street with shops and the like. Don't forget the Yosemite Zip Lines! Look up alternative cinema at 6th Street Cinema during a long eve.

Christmas at the Bug Story - Joan Porter

Cozy in the Cafe

Taking the Chill out
in the Sauna
Cross Country Skiing
to Dewey Point

Columbia Point on
Yosemite Falls Trail
Downhill Skiing
at Badger Pass

Yosemite Valley
Ice Skating Rink

Rare Access to
Frozen Tenaya Lake
Snowfalls at the Bug
Melt Overnight

Yosemite Valley
after a Storm
What does Yosemite look like today?

View of Yosemite Falls Yosemite Falls


View of Yosemite Falls Half Dome


View of Yosemite Falls El Capitan


View of Yosemite Falls High Sierra


Yosemite webcams provided by Yosemite Conservancy


Just 25 miles from Yosemite Valley!


The Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort

Hostelling International - Midpines
6979 Highway 140
P.O. Box 81 Midpines, CA 95345
Toll Free: 866.826.7108 Telephone: 209.966.6666 Fax:209.966.6667
E-Mail: bughost@yosemitebug.com