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Winter Day Hikes in Yosemite Valley

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Winter Day Hikes in Yosemite Valley
January 01, 2011 06:07PM
Hi all,

I'm planning to visit Yosemite for the first time from 1/17-1/20 for some hiking.

As far as I know, most trails around Yosemite Valley are open but may be difficult to hike due to snow -
I plan to take train+bus to the valley, stay at Yosemite Lodge for three nights,
do one day hike to the Upper Yosemite Falls, and one to the Mist Trail-Nevada Falls-Panorama(only if trail condition permitting),
and spend the rest of the time walking around the Valley Floor Loop.

I'm still uncertain about the exact trail conditions (specifically the Upper Yosemite Falls trail, and the open part of Mist-John Muir-Nevada Falls) in winter, though...
I will hike in my winter boots, neither snowshoes nor XC skis. Are the two day hikes enjoyable without snowshoes? (I'm sure the Valley Loop will be fine?)

Or does anyone know better places to go for day hikes in boots only?

I would rate myself to be in good~excellent shape for day hikes, and I'm used to cold and snowy weather.

avatar Re: Winter Day Hikes in Yosemite Valley
January 01, 2011 06:44PM
Have something to put on your boots in the event of ice, like Micro Spikes.

Old Dude
Re: Winter Day Hikes in Yosemite Valley
January 01, 2011 06:55PM
Definitely get some Yaktrax or other shoe spikes. The valley loops should be fine. Last week we ran into three "kids" (19-20's) from New Zealand coming down the Mist trail, they had gone up the John Muir to the top of Vernal and decided to jump the gate and go down the closed way on the way back, due to length. They were not in winter gear at all. Running shoes, no water that I could see. If you are prepared, I would say, based on those kids, you should be fine doing that hike.
Re: Winter Day Hikes in Yosemite Valley
January 02, 2011 01:58AM
Thanks for the advice. I was not aware of such great products! I will definitely get a set of Microspikes.
Re: Winter Day Hikes in Yosemite Valley
January 02, 2011 08:58AM
Although I have never tried the spiky kind, I like Yaktrax because not only do they offer great traction on icy trails, but you can also wear them indoors, so if you are going in and out and there is ice on the sidewalk or porch, etc, you don't have to take them on and off. I have no idea about the spikes and if they can be worn indoors.
avatar Re: Winter Day Hikes in Yosemite Valley
January 02, 2011 12:39PM
I would consider the guided snowshoe walk at 10:30 AM every day at Badger Pass:



I took this photo when I did it in 2007. This walk was led by noted Yosemite interpretive Ranger Shelton Johnson. I don't believe the snowshoe walk is his usual gig I heard that the usual guide (might do it 4-5 days out of the week) has a race at the end for fun, where there are the inevitable spills.

As for Upper Yosemite Fall, I did that without snowshoes, although I wished I'd worn ankle length gaiters. I was occasionally up to almost my knees in snow, and the foot tracks I followed looked like others were doing the same I also fell down several times going back. Parts of the trail can be slushy without being icy. There's also a lot of sand on the trail, which makes it slippery in winter or summer. I was wearing these shoe attachments that had carbide studs, but those didn't help on those slippery (non-icy) sections. Going downhill seems to be more treacherous; gravity seems to act like a natural brake going uphill but makes it harder when going down.

Here was my view from the bridge:

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/02/2011 06:02PM by y_p_w.
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