Christmas in Yosemite

by Nick Yasman

It’s common knowledge that an idyllic, white Christmas is hard to come by on the West Coast. While this may be true, it is also true that one of the world’s most magical Christmas destinations not only calls California its home, but you’ve already heard of it!

This destination I speak of is not the stuff of myth or legend, but simply Yosemite National Park. It is always a white Christmas when you visit Yosemite in winter, and with a specialized agenda of holiday events and activities, America’s most stunning National Park is the perfect winter haven for your family’s next holiday trip. Let’s explore a Yosemite Christmas.

Activities and Attractions in a White Yosemite Valley

With many of the park’s waterfalls still flowing during winter, Yosemite offers an array of beautiful nature walks and hikes. While the weather may close off most of the Park’s more strenuous hiking trails, its exquisite views and powerful natural landscapes are only enhanced by the snow. Much of Yosemite’s wildlife can still be found roaming and exploring the Valley during the holiday season, as well.

If skiing is on your list of interests, Yosemite can take care of that, too. Badger Pass, a charming and historic ski resort, is inside the boundaries of the Park. Also accessible from Yosemite is Dodge Ridge, with more challenging slopes. Dodge Ridge is about 2 hours driving away from the Park, though, making for an enjoyable day trip.

Winter activities in Yosemite are endless, but some of the most popular include ice-skating, fireside stories, and Yosemite Ranger Walk and Talks about the Park’s history and natural wonders. A more full list of day-time opportunities for fun can be found here.

Where to Eat in Yosemite

When seeking an idyllic Christmas time in the Yosemite Valley, there is no alternative to a Bracebridge Dinner.

Within the fifty-foot tall Manor Hall of the historic Ahwahnee Hotel, a Bracebridge Dinner is a time-capsule to a Christmas of centuries past in old-time England. Singers, jesters and other remarkable characters from the King’s court come alive to tell the story of Lord Merrick Bracebridge and his wonderful home.A Bracebridge Dinner also offers five-star dining to complement the performance- it is certainly an Yultide extravaganza not to miss!

Where to Stay in Yosemite

The Ahwahnee Hotel is almost an essential historic and cultural experience when it comes to lodging in the Yosemite Valley. Built in 1927, The Ahwahnee features impressive Native American Art Deco with huge stone hearths, wood-beamed ceilings and striking granite facades on its exterior. Within view of Yosemite Falls, Half-Dome and Glacier Point, The Ahwahnee provides the premier hotel experience in the Yosemite Valley. Rooms fill up fast, though, so booking 6 months to a year in advance is highly recommended.

If you’re too late to book The Ahwahnee or it’s just a bit out of the budget, ┬áthe Evergreen Lodge also provides exquisite accommodations in a prime location in Yosemite in the cabin lodging style. The Evergreen Lodge is a quaint hideaway with excellent service. After all, who can pass up a timeless rocking chair on your cabin’s front porch or a cozy quilted bed during a Yosemite Christmas?

Photo Credits: Eugeny Tchebotarev, Al Golub, and Slava Milnikov (500px CC)