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Goat Meadow Snowplay Area Sign - Sierra National Forest
Blog Snow Fun. Here’s Where to Snow Play in and Around Yosemite
Alex Silgalis | 01/01/2021Family Friendly, Hiking, Nature, Winter Fun |   

As an old toy store's jingle once proclaimed, “I don’t wanna to grow up”, it's time to rekindle that inner child and create your own memories, adults and kids alike, by doing one thing: playing in snow! There’s something magical about the landscape when it's covered in snow. It glints like diamonds and links us back to childhood memories. And most of all, snow gives you a chance to enjoy fun games and treats. Here’s where to snow play in Yosemite this winter.

Goat Meadow Snowplay Area

Just before Yosemite’s southern entrance in the Sierra National Forest, the Goat Meadow Snowplay Area provides visitors easy access to an area for tubing, sledding, or just frolicking in the snow. There are no rentals so if you do wish to slide down a hill, you’ll have to bring your own saucer or sled.

Explore the interactive 360 image of the Snowplay area below.

Cross Country Skiing - this area was at one time a favorite cross country ski area with many trails. Trails are not currently maintained/groomed in winter but the adventurous can still find many good opportunities to explore.  Please #RecreateResponsibily - be adequately prepared with gear, clothing and navigation tools (i.e. map(s) and compass... not your phone's GPS), etc... if you're wanting to take on the adventure.

For a bit more privacy, consider staying at the Tenaya at Yosemite in Fish Camp. Guests at the lodge have access to two sledding hills known as the “kiddie hill” and other as the “big hill.”

Winter Wonderland at Tenaya at Yosemite

Crane Flat Snow Play Area

Another option at a bit higher elevation for some snow play is the Crane Flat Snow Play area on Highway 120. Specifically, at the intersection of Big Oak Flat Road and Tioga Road, it’s the ONLY designated snow play area in the park. In addition, it’s the closest in mileage and travel time to the valley itself. With limited parking, if you do wish to visit this snow play area be sure to go early.

Mariposa Grove

They say the best things in life are earned and that’s rightly so for the Mariposa Grove in the winter. Around late November, the road to the grove closes to cars and re-opens around March 15th depending on snow. Instead of starting at the Grove Arrival Area, your journey begins in earnest right at the Welcoming Plaza. This adds another two miles to get to the grove itself and keeps most visitors away.  But, it provides you with a chance to really enjoy the journey to the grove in a serene and quiet atmosphere. You have a choice of two routes; the main road or the Washburn Trail.  Each provide a roughly two-mile route (500 feet of elevation gain) to the Mariposa Grove. Be careful as conditions on either route one can be be snowy or icy.  Skis or snowshoes may be appropriate. If hiking, traction devices for your boots are recommended.  

Badger Pass

Cross Country Skiing on Glacier Point Road Yosemite National Park

Cross Country Skiing along Yosemite's Glacier Point Road

Although this year all the facilities and services are closed, the road to it will be plowed. That means if you have your own equipment, you can access the legendary cross-country trail network. In addition, for those that want to sled, you can hike up the tubing hill yourself.

As we all know, this year is about being creative and flexible. Despite many of the facilities being closed, you can still get a dose of snow play in Yosemite if you’re willing to do it yourself. And remember, this is the wilderness. There’s no one to clean up after you. Whatever you bring with you, be sure to take it home with you.


Like what you see? Save any of these pins (or possibly all of them) to your travel planning board(s) to give you an easy way to find your way back here!  Also check out our other blog posts as well as itineraries for more ideas and pins!

Alex Silgalis

Alex founded localfreshies.com® in 2014 to be the #1 website providing the “local scoop” on where to eat, drink & play in mountain towns throughout North America. When he’s not writing and executing marketing strategies for small businesses & agencies, he’s in search of the deepest snow in the winter and tackiest dirt in the summer.

Our annual Visit Yosemite | Madera County Visitors Guide can answer all your questions about visiting California's Gateway to Yosemite. From the park itself to the museums, wineries, art galleries and more throughout Madera County, our guide can help you plan the perfect vacation. Please note that we mail to the USA only, but anyone can download the guide.
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