This year I wanted to actually have a white Christmas and that wasn’t bound to happen in my Northern California town. It hasn’t snowed here in over ten years and when it did it was a slight sprinkle more than a flurry. The answer? Road trip. Christmas in Yosemite Valley would surely bring me the adventurous snowy holiday I was seeking while still keeping me warm in a lodge whilst drinking Hot Toddys.
Yosemite Valley is the centerpiece of Yosemite National Park in Northern California with grand waterfalls, flowing creeks, picturesque hiking and monumental granite cliffs.
Though Yosemite Valley is only a four hour drive from my home in Petaluma, we drove for 3 1/2 hours without even a hint of snow. Not even one flake. And I wondered if my new snow boots would be worthless. Which was upsetting because they were cute. But, in the last half hour, as we gained elevation, there was the slightest evidence of a white Christmas in Yosemite, a snowy patch on the ground. And ten minutes later, we were turning on the 4wd while windshield wiping away ginormous snowflakes. Ah. Success.
The first stop was the Evergreen Lodge which would be our temporary holiday home, just on the outskirts of Yosemite Valley. Hidden away from the crowds.
Peter and I rented a small, cozy cabin with no wifi, cellular bars or television. Quality Christmas time together without everyday distractions. Would we survive?
As soon as we dropped our luggage off in our quaint cabin we drove a few miles to the Yosemite National Park gates, grateful to have 4WD or else we would have been forking over $75 for chains. Once through the gates it was about 16 miles to Yosemite Valley. Our targeted destination.
Yosemite Valley has a 14 mile loop and is where most of the action happens. Amongst numerous impressive attractions, the area boasts the 617 foot Bridalveil Fall, a perfect view of Half Dome and the famous Ahwahnee Hotel.
First stop was an easy, but icy, hike to Bridalveil Fall.
After ogling the fall for a significant amount of time, we stopped at the Swinging Bridge. It wasn’t really swinging. But, it was covered in snow and gorgeous.
In the warmer months this spot is a popular swimming hole. You’d have to triple dare me (and throw in a couple hundred bucks) to jump in there now.
Though the snow and fog kept us from the clearest view of Half Dome, a granite dome over 4737 feet in Yosemite Valley, we still got an acceptable glimpse. Sarcasm. It was stunning.
The entire fourteen mile Yosemite Valley loop was filled with incredible scenery. Every tenth of a mile I would be screaming to Peter, “stop the car. stop. stop! stop.” or simply just saying “wow”. That pretty much explains why Christmas in Yosemite Valley should be on your bucket list.
Have you ever been to Northern California’s Yosemite Valley? Where in the World would you like to spend Christmas?
You Might Also Enjoy
US National Parks Bucket List: 61 Beauties to Visit in America
Winter Bucket List: 55 Fun Activities & Things to Do
Christmas Bucket List: 45 Fun Holiday Activities & Spirited Things to Do
Walk on Fort Bragg’s Glass Beach in Northern California
Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride Over the Vineyards of Northern California
San Francisco Bucket List: 24 Things To Do
California Dreaming: 9 Incredible Winter Stops in the Yosemite Valley
California: 25 Photos to Inspire Your Point Reyes Bucket List
Go Wild Mushroom Hunting in California’s Napa Valley
Spend An Afternoon at Hog Island Oyster Farm in Tomales Bay
Drive the 72 Miles Around Lake Tahoe
Find Peace at the Petrified Forest in Calistoga