Winter Fun in Yosemite Mariposa County

About a 4.5 hour drive from the greater Los Angeles area is Yosemite Mariposa County. During the winter months, the traffic is light, there may be snow on the trees in the Sierra National Forest near Yosemite Valley.


Even though the resort is not in Yosemite Valley, it’s about a 45 minute drive to the majestic Half Dome tunnel view spot and worthy of a day trip. At approximately 4,000 feet elevation, it does snow, however it seldom stays for very long. Check snow reports and road conditions at the National Park Service. During the winter there aren’t the crowds and traffic as there are during May through Labor Day weekend. Winter and Spring are the optimal times to visit.


Tenaya Lodge offers valet service and plenty of self parking. There are eight Tesla Superchager stations and “classic” charging stations, for guests to recharge their Tesla or other electric vehicle.

Accommodations range from deluxe rooms and suites in the main lodge, to cabins and the newer Explorer Cabins.


Comfortable studio-style suites in the lodge offer a King-size bed and a sitting area with a privacy fireplace wall. Other amenities include a wet bar and a private balcony or patio. The bathroom offers a large vanity with an over-sized soaking tub and a separate rain shower. Forest theme design and color hues, as well as artwork offer ambiance in the rooms and common areas.


During the winter, guests will notice snowshoes hanging on a post near the resort’s lobby. Tenaya guides lead groups on a 1.5-mile round-trip snowshoe hike through the beautiful snowy forest. Other winter activities include an on-site ice skating rink. The sparkle light ice rink is open for day and evening skating sessions. Guests can skate a few laps around the rink, and then relax by a nearby blazing fire pit. There are many fire pits around the resort where many guests warm up, sip a hot toddy and roast S’mores.

In the evening there are two dining options overseen by certified Executive Chef Frederick Clabaugh. Enjoy a romantic fireside dinner at Embers or Sierra-style pub cuisine at Jackalope’s Bar & Grill. The menus include hearty grilled meat and seafood dishes, specialty salads, soups, burgers and heart-healthy, gluten-free and vegan options.


Mountain inspired drinks and cocktails are available at both restaurants, including the Tenaya Red IPA, a craft beer brewed exclusively for the resort by nearby South Gate Brewing Company.


Guests can warm up at Ascent Spa just below the lodge’s lobby.  This 20,000 sq. ft. space offers 12 heated treatment rooms, separate men and women’s relaxation lounge, steam and sauna rooms, and a communal fitness room. On Friday and Saturday mornings, guests can participate in a 60 minute yoga class in an intimate room inside the spa.

The property offers two swimming pools and hot whirlpools. One is inside the lodge near the game room and arcade, while the other is outside near the entrance.


A Yosemite tradition since 1935, the Badger Pass Ski & Snowboard area is before the entrance of Yosemite National Park.  Winter recreation is offered for all skill levels with lift tickets, downhill and snow boarding lessons, and cross country skiing. There are five lifts, and 85% of the terrain for beginner or intermediate skiers. The Nordic Center rents all types of cross country skis and snowshoes to explore 25 miles of machine-groomed trails. Badger Pass Ski Area is open mid-December through mid-March, conditions permitting.

While most visitors come during the summer months, winter and spring is a special time of year in Yosemite Mariposa County.


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