Yosemite is one of the hottest natural landscapes to visit any time of year. From its insane mountain ranges, picturesque valleys, and holy-shit-that-can’t-be-real views, you would think that you could visit Yosemite any time of year and have a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime trip.
You would be wrong. I’m here to tell you that winter is BY FAR the worst time of year to visit Yosemite. If you don’t believe me, check out the seven reasons I rounded up below. I’m sure there are plenty more so chime in with your reasons in the comments.
1. The crowds.
The ability to visit the park without hiking around or stepping over tourists? I don’t know, sounds strange.
2. Snowshoeing is the worst.
Snowshoeing may the best way to get off the beaten path and see the real Yosemite in winter, but who wants to combine the joy of hiking with a wondrous freshly-fallen snow pack? Not to mention the child-like excitement of being the first one to put footprints in the fresh snow? Sounds terrible.
3. Haze and smoke get in your eyes.
Park rangers will oftentimes mimic natural forest fires in the winter to promote forest health and reduce fire danger later in the year. I don’t know about you, but this so-called “haze” is just the worst for taking photos. See below for a painful example.
4. The sights are pretty painful.
I mean this? This just hurts my eyes.
5. Camping in the winter is a total hassle.
With all that cold air, you’re going to need extra layers in your pack, which will weigh you down. I guess at least your one pair of mittens can pull double duty: keep your hands warm and provide a heat barrier between your digits and your morning coffee mug, which of course, was brewed over a snapping campfire. Watching that steam rise from your cup into the crisp air around you as you listen to the sounds of nature is a real bummer, amirite?
6. There’s actual water coming from the falls.
After a good snow, the falls in Yosemite start flowing again. But more water in the wet winter means more — annoying — mist coming off the falls when you visit. Be sure to pack some protection for your camera. I know, even more things to pack (eyeroll).
7. Snow is real hard to photograph.
Taking photos in the snow is much different than it is in non-winter months. Not only does your gear (and your hands) run the risk of freezing up, you’re probably going to have to futz with your settings if the sun is out and bouncing off all that bright white light. So much work.
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