12 Ideas for Winter in the Redwoods

Everyone should have a chance to experience the magic of snow-draped sequoia, and this year, conditions are perfect. There’s plenty of snow and plenty of ways to get out and enjoy it. So if you’re craving a day in the forest, here are some ideas for where to go and what to do when the snow falls.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Since 1931, Calaveras has been a California State Park dedicated to protecting and connecting people to the magnificent giant sequoia that can be found along the trails. There is nothing like the unique experience of seeing these giant trees in the quiet and beautiful winter season.

  • Snowshoeing: Bring your gear, or join a guided snowshoe walk. Guided walks are every Saturday at 1 p.m., and snowshoes are provided when conditions are snowy. Guided snowshoe walks meet at the Warming Hut.
  • Cross-country skiing: Bring skis, grab a map, and traverse the North Grove Trail or the 3.5-mile-loop down the park road and back through the campground.
  • Play, sled, or walk among snow-covered giant sequoia: The North Grove is open for winter play! Build a snowman, go gliding on a sled, and take in the majesty around you. After your snow filled adventures, stop at the park’s Warming Hut for hot cider or cocoa on weekends and holidays.

Yosemite National Park

While this famous park is packed with nature lovers during the warmer seasons, wintertime is a chance to enjoy it without the crowds. There’s a winter activity for everyone at Yosemite National Park, from snowshoeing on the trails to curling up with a mug of hot cocoa.

  • Skiing: Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area (formerly Badger Pass) is open for both downhill and cross-country skiing.
  • Feeling adventurous? Try snowshoe or cross-country skiing in the park: Some trails are accessible during the winter, like the Crane Flat Area and along the Glacier Point Road (backcountry routes become extremely limited). Make sure to do your research, check weather conditions for driving and trail conditions, and follow park guidelines.
  • Hiking: Some trails in the valley are usually accessible during the winter (backcountry routes become extremely limited).
  • Play in the valley’s snow-covered open spaces and enjoy the peace of the redwoods in Mariposa Grove without the warm-weather crowds. Warm up after with hot cocoa in the rustic Big Trees Lodge (formerly Wawona Hotel).

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

As the snow falls, watch the amazing and diverse landscape of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks transform into a winter wonderland. Name a winter hobby, there’s probably a place for it here.

  • Skiing, Sledding, and Snowshoeing: Try any (or all!) of these winter activities at the Wolverton Snowplay Area. You can rent gear at nearby Wuksachi Village. You can also join a free snowshoe walk in Grant Grove Village or in the Giant Forest. Plan ahead, reservations are required for these guided walks.
  • Hiking: Walk among snowy giants on the Big Trees Trail through the Giant Forest.
  • Skiing or snowshoeing to the Pear Lake Ski Hut: Experienced skiers and snowshoers can take in the serene beauty of the Sierra on the advanced-level, 6-mile trail from Wolverton to the Pear Lake area, and enjoy staying in a cozy cabin at the end of the journey. Reservations required.
  • Visit the park’s website for even more winter activities and tips.

Remember: Keep warm and safe in winter conditions! Make sure to have chains for your tires – they may be required on park roads. Always bring warm winter layers and plenty of food and water. Check weather forecasts before you depart.

For more inspiration for your wintertime redwoods visits, check out Top 5 Redwood Parks to Visit This Winter and Winter White Ferns.

About the author

Pearl is the Communications Assistant at Save the Redwoods League hailing from Nova Scotia, Canada. Though she is far from where she started, the redwood forests of California feel like home now and she's passionate about connecting people to the majesty of...

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