Things To Do In Yosemite in Winter

Yosemite In Winter Things To Do

To ring in 2018 this year, we packed our duffle bags and drove to Yosemite National Park! Originally, we wanted to go to Tahoe to snowboard during New Years weekend, but hotel prices were just ridiculous (think at least $100/night for a Days Inn) and all the affordable AirBNBs were already booked. Plus, there were a couple of major events happening that weekend that meant too many people and too much traffic.

Then, I had an “a-ha” moment and thought–what about Yosemite?

Yosemite is a common destination year round, but so many of us have the notion that Yosemite is no fun and absolutely unbearable in the winter. Typically during winter, there is snow which makes skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing possible. Fun alternative, right?

Things To Do in Yosemite in Winter

Meadow // Things To Do in Yosemite in Winter

There actually wasn’t any snow for our trip since there had been a month-long dry spell in California. In fact, everyone was pretty concerned that our winter was going to look pretty dry like it did during the drought. Though snowboarding, skiing, and snowshoeing were basically ruled out for us, we ended up having a lot of fun hiking and exploring Yosemite Valley. In fact, the “warmer” than usual weather made it possible for us to really enjoy walking around in nature while breathing in the crisp fresh air.

I wanted to put together a list of winter activities you can enjoy in Yosemite so you can see what they have to offer during a quieter and less crowded time of year. Specifically, I’m going to focus in on the valley since that’s mainly where we were and one of the most popular areas of the park.

Bridalveil Falls // Things To Do in Yosemite in Winter

Bridalveil Falls // Things To Do in Yosemite in Winter

Hike to Bridalveil Fall

Calling this a hike is a bit of an exaggeration since it’s such a short walk from the main road and the parking lot. In fact, you can get a beautiful view from the parking lot itself, but it’s worth the short and slightly uphill trek (again, a bit of an exaggeration) to the rocky base of the falls. Here you’ll see some ambitious and adventurous hikers climbing on rocks to get closer to the falls. Depending on when you go and how much water there has been during the season, Bridalveil will look just like what you think it should look like–a bride’s veil.

Hike to Mirror Lake

The hike to Mirror Lake was well worth the view. The way we saw it, there were two ways to hike to Mirror Lake–one included taking the real trail full of stepping stones and slightly rocky terrain, and the other included walking along the street. The two diverge as you get closer to Mirror Lake, but we ended up taking the real trail which just let us immerse ourselves further into Yosemite’s beauty. Bring a snack and some water, as it’s about a 3 mile hike there. It’s a good idea to give yourself at least 2 hours to walk there and back (unless you are taking the bus) and a half hour to rest and enjoy the beauty of the lake.

Yosemite Falls // Things To Do in Yosemite in Winter

Hike to Yosemite Falls

The hike to the upper falls is much longer than a visit to the lower falls, so we just walked to the lower falls to the bridge and saw families enjoying the falls and kids climbing all over the rocks. Getting that closeup view of the waterfall was nice and it gave me a good idea of what the height of the full waterfall is like–pretty tall! If you have the time and the energy, you’ll get some fantastic views of the falls and of the valleys if you hike to the upper falls.

The Majestic Yosemite Hotel // Things To Do in Yosemite in Winter

Dinner, Drinks, and Downtime at The Majestic Yosemite Hotel (Formerly the Ahwahnee Hotel)

I felt like I was walking into a magazine when I stepped foot into this hotel. It’s conveniently located right in the middle of Yosemite Valley and offers hotel guests and other visitors a good bar to grab a drink, an upscale dining experience, and a giant yet cozy lounge you’ll never want to leave. If you plan to have dinner here, make sure to make reservations (you can make them online) and bring the right clothing as there is a dress code and your hiking gear isn’t going to cut it.

Chapel // Things To Do in Yosemite in Winter

A Visit to the Yosemite Valley Chapel

This chapel is too cute to not see in person. Resembling a tiny home, this chapel is in regular use for and has services. Other than that, there’s not too much to do or see here but I had to point it out because I loved it.

Half Dome // Things To Do in Yosemite in Winter

Ice Skating in Half Dome Village

Yes, you can ice skate just about anywhere, but can you ice skate in a place with view of Half Dome anywhere? Didn’t think so! It’s a fun winter activity you can do at Yosemite regardless of whether it has snowed or not!

The Ansel Adams Gallery

Paying a visit to this gallery is a must for photography fans. If you have an interest in photography, you can also partake in an Ansel Adams Photography Workshop to help you learn to use your camera better and let you know of the best spots to shoot some of Yosemite’s most popular points of interest.

Skiing & Snowboarding

We obviously didn’t do this one but we had planned on it just in case it did end up snowing magically and opened for the season. This one is a bit self-explanatory, but the Yosemite Ski & Snowboardarea is actually a bit south of Yosemite Village so if you plan to go there, make sure to note its location. You can cross-country ski, snowboard, rent snow tubes, and rent snow shoes. There are also ski and snowboard lessons for first-timers or those who want to improve on their basics before heading down the slopes.

Camping

I’m a pretty inexperienced camper, so I was shocked to see people camping in winter! But it was so popular, all of the campsites were full! If you’re open to the idea of camping in the valley which is a cold area due to it’s geography, book a campsite that will let you get close to nature and still stay close to the action.

Events

Check out the events calendar to see what’s being offered at the park! During our stay, we saw a tour of the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, a photography workshop, a guided hike, and snowshoeing as just a few of the activities and events they were putting on. Plus, other activities that involve food and wine! If we had a longer stay at the park, I would have jumped on the photography workshop.

Things To Do in Yosemite in Winter

Things To Do in Yosemite in Winter

Footpath // Things To Do in Yosemite in Winter

El Capitan // Things To Do in Yosemite in Winter

Other notable spots

At the beginning of the valley loop, you’ll have so many opportunities to take photos of the valley. Be sure to stop here for some breathtaking views. It’ll be the best area to get photos of El Capitan and Half Dome at the same time. Also, some of the bridges have beautiful views. And, all of the meadows are great spots to stop by.

That’s my list! Remember that when traveling in Yosemite, if there is a slight chance of snow, it’s best to have chains for your car. Also, be mindful when planning that some sites might be closed due to weather/construction, and same with roads. Be safe and have fun! There are truly some beautiful sites to see, even if they are topped with some pretty white snow.

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The Best *FREE* Printable 2018 Calendars

There no feeling like letting your pen glide across a pretty calendar, filling in the empty boxes with all sorts of plans like dinners, concerts, movie nights, weekend getaways, and other appointments. 

One of my favorite things to do during the new year is sit down with a nice hot drink and calmly fill out my calendar. It’s a ritual for me. I’ve done variations of this ritual since I was a kid where I would probably eat candy while filling out a free animal calendar my parents got in the mail, but it’s now as an adult I have really come to appreciate what the ritual does for me. It centers me and gives me a clear sense of what lies ahead for me, which is really nice and welcome feeling after a hectic holiday season where we spend so much (can I say too much) time with family and just away from our regular routines. 

Some of us have been ready for 2018 since the very beginning of 2017, and some of us still haven’t really wrapped our heads around the idea that it’s a new year. Wherever you may be on that spectrum, I wanted to give you a list of free calendars to look at to help you plan your year and inspire you. 

I usually pin my favorite printable calendars to a private board so I can keep coming back to them and print out more. It’s very helpful for when I’m planning multiple things and would like to have access to multiple calendars. 

I love these designs–floral, minimalistic, or brushstroke, all of these designs speak to me. I hope you like these calendars, too!

Modern Calendar by Lindi at Love Create Celebrate
Modern Calendar by Lindi at Love Create Celebrate

 

Minimalist 2018 Calendar at Paper Scribbles Co.
Minimalist 2018 Calendar at Paper Scribbles Co.

 

2018 Floral Calendar by Andrea at The Cottage Market
2018 Floral Calendar by Andrea at The Cottage Market

 

Moon Calendar by Caro at Sodapop Design
Moon Calendar by Caro at Sodapop Design 

 

Free Printable 2018 Calendar by Home Printables
Free Printable 2018 Calendar by Home Printables

 

 

 Free Printable 2018 Watercolor Dog Calendar by The Cottage Market
Free Printable 2018 Watercolor Dog Calendar by The Cottage Market
Free Printable 2018 Kawaii Coffee Journal Card Calendar by The Cottage Market
Free Printable 2018 Kawaii Coffee Journal Card Calendar by The Cottage Market
Minimal 2018 Calendar by Foreign Rooftops
Minimal 2018 Calendar by Foreign Rooftops

 

2018 Printable Calendar at Lovely Indeed
2018 Printable Calendar at Lovely Indeed

That’s my list! If you found this list helpful, I hope you pin it or save it for later!

Last-Minute Gifts You Can Pick Up At Target

Christmas is merely hours away at this point, but I know some of you haven’t quite crossed off all the names on your shopping list. For me, I always have someone on my list where I just don’t know what to gift! And at this point, it’s a little too late to rely on shipping or the convenience of online shopping. If you want to get something to give in time for Christmas, you have to bundle up and trek to the store. 

For me this year, Target has been my go-to for inexpensive gifts. They have so many gift dupes for a fraction of what you would pay at other stores (think travel cocktail kits, emergency beauty pouches, and cute mugs). Plus, you can still shop online and do an order pickup which is just brilliant. 

Here’s a list of my favorite last-minute gifts you can get at Target!

The Oregon Trail Card Game – $14.99

This game takes me back to elementary school when we would play Oregon Trail on the colorful iMacs in the computer lab. Instead of playing a digital version, these cards take the game analog and make it fun to play in a group!

Google Home Mini – $29.00

For those who aren’t afraid of “Big Brother”, the Google Home Mini is a great way to make someone’s life a little more futuristic. Ask Google for hands-free help in any room with this device.

Women’s Faux-Fur Slipper Socks – $6

Yup, at only $6, you can buy a bunch of these in a bunch of different colors (some include feather peach, black, red, navy, and white). You might even want a pair of these for yourself!

Keurig K50 Coffee Maker – $69.99 On Sale

Someone who appreciates the ease of making coffee in the morning with little cleanup will probably enjoy a Keurig! The single serving size means that it’s perfect for someone brewing coffee for themselves and that the machine is quite compact. Good for small kitchens!

Women’s Sidney Over The Knee Boots – $39.99

This boot is a steal if you know the recipients shoe size! Over The Knee boots a go well with anything and are very much in fashion this year.

Me! Bath Bath Bomb Land of Milk n’ Honey 6ct – $10

Yup, even bath bombs are now available at your local Target store! No need to shop for them at boutiques. Buy a pack to gift someone who needs a little “me time.”

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Camera – $59.99

Personally, I love my Instax camera. Even though it requires purchasing film, it’s really fun to compose shots and wait for them to develop. You don’t really know what you’re going to get until the shot has developed and you learn to appreciate the imperfections in the photography, which is totally unlike digital photography on our phones. Check out my post here on Instax Cameras for more info on how to make the most of your Instax Mini!

Clay Art Stackable Mug 15oz Porcelain – $5.99

$6 coffee mugs are the perfect low-cost gift at Target! There are so many at Target with so many messages, you’re sure to find a cute one with adorned with a phrase you love!

Women’s Cable Any Day Pullover – $13.98

Spending about $14 on a women’s sweater is a good price! With so many colors to choose from, you can choose one that suits the recipient.

Plaid Sherpa Throw – $13.49

Who couldn’t use a new warm and cozy blanket to keep them toasty? This is the perfect time to give someone something they could use all season long. Plus, these trendy designs make it so that they aren’t just “Christmas” blankets. 

Game of Phones Card Game – $19.99

Ever find yourself with that friend who just can’t seem to put their phone down? Or someone who gets irritated at people who can’t be without their phones for a little while? This game makes everyone use their smartphone to play, so it’s the perfect way to get those who would rather scroll through Instagram and take selfies involved.

Maverick 18oz Stainless Steel Portable Tumbler – $10

This stylish portable tumbler will make sure your coffee/tea won’t cool off before you can take your first sip!

Women’s Faux Fur Stole – $19.99

Instead of gifting a scarf, why not gift a faux fur stole? It’s extra warm and definitely in style! Plus, it goes with just about anything!

Christmas Bar Essentials Assorted Cocktail Mixes – $14.21

Why not gift someone all the ingredients they’ll need to put together some good cocktails? These kits help you make it happen!

Women’s Credit Card Wallet – $5

As someone who uses a credit card wallet like this, I must say it’s very convenient and I’ve never seen a price like this!

New View 12″x12″ Black Letter Board with Gray Trim – $12.99

Have a friend who loves inspirational quotes or letter board quotes on Instagram/Pinterest? This gift is perfect for them!

Mini Essentials Emergency Beauty Kit Purple – $7

This emergency beauty kit will help you out when you’re in a pinch! Put it in your purse when you’re out with your friends or keep with you when you travel, just in case you need something!

Sugarfix by BaubleBar Letter and Heart Earring Gift Set – $10

A pack of two pairs of cute earrings for $10? I want some for myself!

Men’s Value Striped Hat – $6.99

Beanies are a great gift for men and boys in the winter! Grab a few in different colors.

Wristlet Pouch in Rose Gold – $10

Who would want to carry their phone, wallet, and keys in this cute pouch for New Year’s Eve?! At only $10, it’s pretty affordable.

That’s my list for you! There’s just so much you can get from Target, it’s impossible for me to list everything. I hope my list helped you find something you might be able to gift!

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