Yosemite National Park is a very popular and oldest nature preserves in California US. It is often visited by visitors through out the year. It is located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains and around 5 hours drive from Los Angeles. It can easily be a weekend gate away for people living in LA and near by areas. The park is very famous for its waterfalls, spectacular views, easy/moderate/difficult trails, the granite cliffs. Each season offers a number of things-to-do at the park.
We (myself and my husband) have been to Yosemite both in summer and winter and here I am sharing the camping experience we had in the winter of 2017.
So if you are an outdoorsy person then you might already experienced camping. For me camping with friends is super fun and thrilling. Note here for any camping you need to plan a little bit if you are going on your own and the check lists are also different for a summer camping Vs winter camping.
Coming to when to plan a camping trip in Yosemite, depends on your interest or the particular outdoor activities you are aiming for. For us, choosing the third week of February was mainly for following reasons :-
- Catching a glimpse of the famous natural phenomenon over the Horsetail Fall on the east side of El Capitan in Yosemite, popularly known as “Firefall”. If the fall is flowing in February ( The fall does not flow through out the year) and the weather condition is just right, then the setting sun illuminates the waterfall in bright orange and red color making it a spectacular view.
- To get an experience of camping in sub-zero temperature.
- Camp sites are easily available during winter.
- Trails are less crowded in the winter season.
- To get a different view of Yosemite with snowy mountains and freezing water falls.
- Chances of seeing the beautiful reflections of the Yosemite cliffs in the Mirror lake and in the Merced river.
Coming to how to plan it, the first thing to do is book the camp site weeks or even months before your trip. Campsites in Yosemite are very busy and gets booked quickly. The booking can be done online at link :- https://www.recreation.gov/
Yosemite can get really cold in winters and temperature goes negative during night hours. So staying warm is the most important thing.
Here are some top camping essentials you must carry for overnight camping :-
- A Tarp that can be put beneath your tent
- Lanterns with backup batteries as you may have to set up tent in the evening.
- Head Lamps to keep handy for day or evening hikes.
- Insulation Pads
- A good quality subzero sleeping bag as temp goes negative during the night.
- Warm cloths & shoes such as hoodies, light jackets, hiking socks, shoes. Try to layer your cloths instead of wearing heavy jackets. Always carry extra set of cloths and socks.
- Lighters and match box to start fire.
- Wood coal and fuel to make fire ( either you can bring with you or can be bought from the store before evening. you need to check the store hours from before). Fire at Yosemite camp grounds is allowed in winters.
- Icebox if you are bringing any cooked or perishable food items.
- Small stove for cooking and cooking essentials such as uncooked food material, utensils, cooking oil, spices, knives, scissors, bottle openers etc. Although most of camp grounds has fire place and most of times they can be used to cook/bbq as well, however bringing own stove helps.
- Eating bowls, glasses, spoons, forks and snacks for day hikes. trail mix, dates, chips, chocolates are some great options.
- Yosemite trails map if you want to hike around and a compass for direction as Phone might not work at some places.
- Always carry plenty of water and some extra water.
- A day backpack with water bag in case you want to hike long duration during the day.
- Toiletries such as tooth paste, brush, dry shampoo, makeup stuff, disinfectant wipes, face or multipurpose wipes.
P.S : Photo Courtesy :- My best friend/husband Suman Ghosh(Instagram – @artbyabong)and in some cases myself and my very good friends. I have obtained their approval for sharing it here.
A short video by my very dear friend to sum up the trip! Hope you enjoy and plan for a winter camping soon !!