Unique winter experiences, stunning natural beauty and small-town charm
Mariposa, CA – While many people might consider our national parks a spring & summer destination, winter is one of the best times of year to experience the majesty of Yosemite. Dust off your scarves and mittens, play in the snow all day and cozy up next to a cozy fire at night. It’s easy to get to Mariposa County throughout the winter via Highway 140, “The All-Weather Highway”, and enjoy the snow-covered peaks, the star-studded night skies and some seasonal phenomena you won’t find anywhere else.
In fact, it’s the only time you can experience some of the most incredible natural phenomena at the park – frazil ice, the natural firefall and snowcones. Frazil ice is an incredibly rare and unpredictable event that happens when small crystals of frozen mist form in waterfalls, washing down to create an effect that looks like flowing ice-lava; while snowcones form at the base of the park’s already stunning Yosemite Falls. Firefall, a February phenomenon, happens when the sunset reflects off Horsetail Fall, giving El Capitan’s granite peak and the water flowing over it a stunning orange glow.
“Yosemite is open to visitors 365 days a year and from family snow-play and snow sports to one-of-a-kind natural wonders, there’s no shortage of fun and adventure in the winter.”Jonathan Farrington
Badger Pass Ski Area is open for the 2021/22 season, offering families a great place to learn to ski or snowboard amid the spectacular winter scenery. Badger Pass, which has been operating for more than 80 years, is not only California’s original ski area, but also one of only three ski areas in a national park. If downhill isn’t your speed, the snow tubing area, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are fun for the whole family. There are plenty of spots to build snowmen and have a (friendly!) snowball fight.
Snowshoeing provides an alternative view of the park’s major icons. Guests can rent snowshoes at Badger Pass and join a Yosemite Mountaineering School guide who leads walks through meadows, fir and pine forests on the way to the breathtaking views from Dewey Point. Or wind your way through the Mariposa Grove on your own to see such evergreen icons as the 3,000-year-old Grizzly Giant and the Fallen Monarch or continue to the Upper Grove for such stately specimens as the Clothespin Tree and the fallen Wawona Tunnel Tree. With minimal light pollution, Mariposa County is a great place to catch a meteor shower or simply have a clear view of the millions of stars and constellations in the galaxy.
Charming downtown Mariposa retains its Gold Rush era culture & history, providing a great home base for exploring the area. There are excellent places to dine, find locally crafted gifts and art in unique local shops, hear live music and connect with the area’s history including the Mariposa Museum & History Center. Beyond downtown, Mariposa County is also home to five wineries, craft breweries and a cidery, more great restaurants and rich history.
“Yosemite National Park inspires travelers from all over the world to unplug, reconnect with nature and elevate their senses,” said Jonathan Farrington, Executive Director of the Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau. “Make your New Year’s resolution to be in the moment and spend more time with your family – and Mother Nature – starting with a holiday visit to Mariposa County.”
About Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau
Located about 200 miles east of San Francisco and 300 miles north of Los Angeles, the region is a must-see for any California itinerary. Alive with possibility, it’s a world-class destination for all seasons that inspires curiosity and refreshes the soul. Yosemite Mariposa County is the ideal destination for visitors looking for outdoor adventure, family fun or a place to unplug and get away from it all.
For more information, visit www.yosemite.com