The Yosemite Badger Pass Ski and Snowboard Area is located 17.6 miles (about 30 min. drive one way) from Wawona inside Yosemite National Park. Conditions permitting, it is open from mid-December through mid-March, and brings many visitors to visit and test out its slopes each year. With an elevation difference of 7,200-8,000 feet, and a vertical drop of 800 ft, it offers 88 acres of groomed ski area, 10 ski runs, and five chairlifts. It’s ideal for all-levels of snowboarding, downhill and cross country skiing, tubing, and much more. Plus, it’s affordable and family-friendly. Here are some other fun facts about this Yosemite hot (err cold) spot!
1. It’s the OLDEST “original” ski resort in the state of California!
It was established in 1933 as Badger Pass Ski Resort, as a result of increased interest in winter sports in the 1920’s.
2. It’s the only National Park to put in a bid to host the Winter Olympics and it is home to the west’s first ski tow/lift
Yosemite put in a bid for the 1932 Winter Olympics, but unfortunately lost to Lake Placid. The park, however, still hosted ice skating tryouts for those same games. Neat stuff, right?
In 1936, Yosemite lit the way for not having to schlep your ski equipment up the slopes. It was called the “Upski,” and it moved up and down on a cable, and could carry six skiers at a time. Thankfully, they’ve come a long way since, now offering five (1 handle tow, 3 double-chair and 1 triple chair) chairlifts.
3. It’s the perfect place to learn how to ski or snowboard, or simply practice your skills!
There are 10 runs total for beginner (35%), intermediate (50%) and advanced levels (15%). Whether you are planning to learn, or improve your ski or snowboarding game, you’ll be in good hands as many of the professional instructors are also members of the Professional Ski Instructors of America.
4. It has a great sundeck for overlooking the Sierras
You can sit here and people watch, bask in the sun, take selfies, and if you’re a parent, you can watch your children learn the ropes.
5. You can cross-country ski to Glacier Point
Glacier Point may be closed to cars for the season, but not to skiers! Of the more than 90-mile network of ski trails, you can complete the 21-mile round trip trek to Glacier Point.
6. It is one of only three National Parks that has a ski lift
Yosemite has it all. The only other two national parks with ski lifts are Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio and Olympic National Park in Washington.
7. There are activities for more than just skiing, and snowboarding and sometimes you can even access at night!
There is snow tubing for the entire family, or maybe you would rather hang out at the deck or in the cafeteria. There are also NPS snowshoe guided tours. If you can’t get enough of it during the day, there are overnight skiing excursions to the Yosemite backcountry and Glacier Point.
Looking for a cabin near the slopes?
Our Redwoods In Yosemite cabins and spacious vacation homes are located in Wawona, 6 miles from the Southern entrance of Yosemite and from the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias parking area. Relaxing and private, our fully equipped vacation homes border the wild and scenic South Fork of The Merced River, the Wawona swinging bridge, and Chilnualna Falls (the second-highest vertical drop waterfall cascade in Yosemite)!
Our Event Center includes full use of a Fireside Room and adjacent deck with fireplace, an audio & visual equipment, a catering kitchen and able to accommodate groups and events comfortably up to 120 people. Many of our cabins are pet-friendly too, some feature spa tubs, and all have private decks with BBQ’s and upgraded linens for that, “Home Away from Home” experience.
Relax, explore, and escape in Yosemite!
text credit: Christina P. Kantzavelos
Important note for 2024: Yosemite National Park is requiring reservations to enter the park on weekends during the Firefall/Horsetail Fall event season, however guests staying at The Redwoods In Yosemite Vacation Home Rentals, are not subject to the reservation system because all cabins are in Wawona, inside the park. If you have a valid Redwoods In Yosemite cabin reservation, simply show a copy of your booking confirmation (a screen capture is OK too), and a photo ID matching the reservation. You’ll be able to pay the entrance fee at the gate with a credit or debit card.
What makes for perfect conditions?
- Lots of snowfall and rain, and warm temperatures which means lots of snow melt and water flow! (2023 is definitely checking these boxes so far!)
- Visiting during the two-week window of time, which generally starts around Valentine’s Day, so that the sun is in the right spot in the sky. Check out this great resource for condition predictions from Aaron Meyers Photography.
- Clear skies! Clouds or fog may block the sun from transforming the water into what seems like red-hot lava.
- Check the weather conditions before you travel! There will be designated viewing areas and parking.
Don’t be discouraged if the conditions do not turn out perfect. You are still spending time in one of the world’s best national parks! And there is plenty to do in Yosemite in February beyond visiting Horsetail Fall at sunset.
When preparing, be sure to bring very warm clothes and extra batteries or chargers for your camera equipment. Speaking of equipment, the conditions are low light, so DSLR cameras with tripods take the best (non-blurry) pictures – though just sitting down to enjoy the spectacle is reward enough for the effort. You may also want to consider bringing a chair, and snacks and water. It will be chilly, so dress warm!
We wish you a fire-y experience!
Are you looking for a Yosemite rental cabin near the action?
Enjoy a crackling fireplace in one of our stunning Redwoods In Yosemite cabins located in historic Wawona, at the Southern entrance of Yosemite. Relaxing and private, these fully equipped vacation cabins border the wild and scenic South Fork of The Merced River, the Wawona swinging bridge, and Chilnualna Falls (the second highest vertical drop waterfalls in Yosemite)! Plus, with a Redwoods In Yosemite cabin rental inside the park, no additional reservation is required to enter during 2023. That’s one less thing to worry about as you plan to enjoy the sights and sounds of Yosemite’s natural “Firefall” at Horsetail Fall. Many of our cabins are pet-friendly. Some homes feature spa tubs, and all have private decks with BBQs and upgraded linens for that, “Home Away from Home” experience.
Bringing a group? Our Event Center includes full use of the Fireside Room and adjacent deck, with audio and visual equipment and a catering kitchen.
Relax, explore, and escape in Yosemite!
The Grizzly Giant is the most renowned giant sequoia in Yosemite National Park. Standing at a solid 209 feet (63.7 m) it is the second largest tree in the Yosemite, and one of the most photographed. You’ll need to take a panorama to capture that in one image!
We can’t know for certain how old this tree is until we are able to count the annual rings in the wood – something we can’t do now without harming the tree. However, based on its diameter in comparison with other trees, researchers estimate that it could be around 2000 to 3000 years old. That’s long enough for this gentle giant to have a story or two to tell.
Ready to visit? Check out these must-know facts about this wonder before you get to meet in person!
The Grizzly Giant Ranked the 26th Largest Tree In the World!
In the world of trees, Giant Sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum) live up to their name. They are the largest trees in the world by volume. The Grizzly Giant, when measured in 1990, was 34,005 cubic feet (962.9 m3) in volume and roughly 2 million pounds in weight. That’s as heavy as a tower of 145 elephants standing on top of each other.
Even the branches of this mighty tree are noteworthy in their own right. The largest branch growing about 95 feet overhead is more than 6 feet (2 m) in diameter. If it were an independent tree growing out of the ground, just this branch would be much larger than many other non-sequoia trees. However, in context of the massive main trunk, it hardly attracts any notice.
Does that make you feel like a tiny pine cone in comparison? Consider that these massive trees all start their life as a small seed about the size of a flake of oatmeal.
These trees have done a lot of growing already, and unlike us humans, sequoias continue to grow larger with age. Expect generations ahead of us to be even more in awe.
Snag a Front Row Seat for a Sequoia’s Hardiness
As the Grizzly Giant aged, a snag formed at the top – those dead stems at the top of the tree. This is a feature that many mature giant sequoias share.
What causes those snags?
In its life, likely spanning thousands of years, the Grizzly Giant weathered many hardships that might have been the end of lesser trees. It has likely been hit by lightning more than a few times, and withstood droughts as well as both wind and snow storms.
It’s thick, spongy bark is estimated to be about 2 feet (0.6 m) thick. The tree is filled with tannic acid which increases its resistance to threats from fungus, insects and fire. Still, if you look at the base of the tree, you will notice charred hollows, fire scars that are probably hundreds of years old. The Grizzly Giant survived these lightning fires – a good thing since fires are an essential part of the Sequoia lifecycle. However, fire scars interrupt the flow of water from the roots to the tree tops. When this happens the top of the sequoia dies back to reduce the water requirement, producing a snag top. A new branch can take over as the leader, only to die back again when another fire comes through, or during an extensive drought.
For a giant sequoia, the presence of a snag in the top is a proud banner of its ability to endure across millennia.
The Grizzly Giant Gets A Little Help From Its Friends
As long-lived as giant sequoias are, they couldn’t do it without help from their neighbors. If you walk all the way around the Grizzly Giant, you’ll notice that it has a pronounced lean. The trunk lists almost 5 degrees to the south and 1.5 degrees to the west. Even with the 96.5-foot (29.5 m) circumference at ground level, that puts the roughly 2 million pounds (907 metric tons) of weight decidedly off center.
It looks so precarious that in 1904 supporting cables were proposed to help the Grizzly Giant remain standing. Though the cables were never installed, they have so far been unnecessary.
Do sequoia trees have a secret power that helps keep them upright?
Sequoia root systems don’t plunge deep into the ground with a tap root – instead they reach out to the side, remaining close to the surface. You can see this shallow root system in toppled trees like The Fallen Monarch. As the roots grow out to the side, they interlace with the roots of their neighbors so the trees can help hold each other up.
This shallow root system appears to be one key to the Grizzly Giant’s longevity. It’s also the reason that walking around the base of the tree and compressing the soil around these fragile roots can be so harmful to these ancient trees.
The Coolest Kid in the Grove
The Grizzly Giant Loop is one of the most popular trails in the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. By now, you can probably see why. Who wouldn’t want to meet the Grizzly Giant in person?
The numbers and photos can’t do justice to this rare and ancient tree. You have to see it in person, tilting your head back – way back – to look into its massive branches, and contemplate all that it has seen in its lifetime.
The Mariposa Grove is home to more than 500 mature sequoias. Named after the county that it’s in, Mariposa, the Mariposa Grove was first visited by non-natives in the 1850s. Over the next few years, the Grizzly Giant would become a poster-child for this magnificent area, posing with such notables as Yosemite’s first guardian, Galen Clark, as well as President Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir. These famous photos were sent back east and became viral in their own way, helping to make a case for preserving this grove of trees for us to enjoy today.
If the Grizzly Giant were the only giant sequoia in the grove, it would be worth visiting, but luckily for you, it is surrounded by other notable giants that you’ll want to stop and greet along the way. Say hello to the Bachelor and Three Graces, and elegant grouping of giants that you’ll pass on the way. And don’t forget to continue a short distance beyond the Grizzly Giant to walk through the still-living California Tunnel Tree.
If you make it even further up the trail, you’ll encounter even more tree-mendous characters. The Faithful Couple Tree is united into a single trunk at the base, though overhead you can see that it is two sequoias that have grown together over time. Also keep your eyes open for the Clothespin Tree, the Telescope Tree and many many more.
Stay Nearby at The Redwoods In Yosemite
One of the best places to stay to explore the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and see the Grizzly Giant is in a private vacation home in Wawona. Be sure to explore the biggest selection of vacation cabins offered by The Redwoods In Yosemite.
Relaxing and private, these fully-equipped rental cabins are conveniently located in the charming community of Wawona. There are many things to do in Wawona itself. Plus, your cabin is inside the park gates, making it easy to explore other parts of Yosemite, as well as the Mariposa Grove.
Many cabins are pet-friendly, some feature spa tubs and all have private decks with BBQ’s and upgraded linens for that ‘home away from home’ experience.
If you’re planning a trip for a group, be sure to also check into the convenient Event Center for a centrally-located place to gather. The Event Center includes the use of the Fireside Room and the large adjacent deck, along with access to state of the art audio and visual equipment and a catering kitchen.
Yosemite’s winters are simply enchanting – a breath of clean crisp air and soaring granite cliffs decorated in snow. While this season is going to be a little different than usual, there is still plenty to do, and many ways to take advantage of this extraordinary season change in Yosemite. Here are some of the best reasons to make plans for a magical snowy getaway in Yosemite this winter.
Cross country ski or snowshoe to Dewey Point. Yosemite has some of the most scenic cross country terrain on the planet. The downhill ski and snowboard area at Badger Pass is not operating this year, but you will still be able to drive up and experience winter’s elegance and pristine beauty. You can get plenty of slip-sliding fun under your own power with a pair of cross country skis. Dewey Point is a 7-8 mile round-trip ski, but rewards the effort with spectacular views overlooking Yosemite Valley. From Badger Pass you can also tap into some of the shorter trails through the forest and out to views of snow-capped sierra peaks or wide open snow-covered expanses. Note: NPS is going their best to keep this area open for all of us to enjoy. Please take extra good care of it, so that the privilege isn’t revoked. Be respectful of other users, and especially careful to pack out all your trash.
Cuddle Next to the Fireplace. No matter where your winter adventures take you, it is absolute luxury to return to your private cabin and curl up next to a blazing fireplace. Add in a cup of tea or hot cocoa and a board game to enjoy amazing quality time with your loved ones. Guaranteed to make lasting memories.
Witness Frozen Waterfalls and Rivers. Once we get the first rains of the seasons, the waterfalls and rivers become recharged with flowing water. On cold nights, the waterfall spray turns into a delicate lacework of ice that melts again in the warmth of the sun, and the river begins to trace frosty patterns across its surface.
Go Ice Skating at an Outdoor Rink. While beautiful, the rivers in Yosemite Valley rarely freeze enough to skate on. Instead, we recommend gliding across the ice at an outdoor ice skating rink. This winter, Curry Village and all the activities there, including ice skating, are going to remain closed for the season. However, if you rent a home from The Redwoods In Yosemite, there is a beautiful alternative nearby at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite. Take a few laps, or practice your triple toe loop with wide-open views of the Sierra National Forest. Once you’re done arcing across the ice, it’s time to unlace and unwind. Make sure you have supplies for s’mores. Gather around the fire pit with your family and roast a few marshmallows for a post-ice-skating treat.
Ski or Snowshoe Through the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. Here is yet another uniquely winter experience not far from the doorstep of your Redwoods In Yosemite vacation rental cabin. Wander in awe through these red giants blanketed in white snow. Rental snowshoes are available locally at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite
Set your Inner Child Free with Snow Tubing and other Snow Play. Take it from us, a fun sledding hill is a delight at any age. The Goat Meadow Snow Play Area, less than 15 minutes from your Wawona cabin, provides a great sanctuary for snow tubing, building snow people, or having a spontaneous snowball fight. Laughter and snow go hand in hand here in Yosemite. In the right conditions, you can even go sledding right in Wawona on the golf course.
Explore Yosemite’s Hiking Trails in Peace and Quiet. While snow is the name of the game at higher elevations, you can often find perfectly hikeable trails at lower elevations. Yosemite Valley trails and boardwalks are often plowed to make exploring easy, and you’ll find there are still many gorgeous places that walk to. We do recommend waterproof hiking boots if you have them, or a warm change of socks if not.
Perfect your Winter Photography Skills. Yosemite is easy on the eyes in any season, but winter holds a particular beauty all its own. With a sky full of ever-changing clouds and a landscape blanketed in white, the scene is perfect to post on social media. Just be sure to check the weather and layer up while waiting for those ideal panoramic shots.
Horsetail Fall: The Natural Firefall. Speaking of photography skills, there are a few weeks in the later part of February when the sun can strike the edge of Horsetail Fall, turning its waters into a stream of molten gold. This event typically draws photographers from around the world, but you don’t need a camera to enjoy its otherworldly beauty.
Take a moonlight stroll and look for moonbows. The sun sets early in the winter, but between blankets of soft white snow and the pale granite cliffs, Yosemite all but glows in the light of the moon. If you get the conditions and the angles just right, you can even catch moonlight forming shimmering moonbows across some of Yosemite’s refreshed waterfalls.
One more for good measure. You know another thing that is magical here in winter? The great deals on Yosemite winter lodging! The Redwoods In Yosemite cabins are located in Wawona, close to snow play, ice skating, and the winter adventures at Badger Pass. The Mariposa Grove is so close that you can practically ski or snowshoe from here! Relaxing and private, these fully-equipped vacation homes and cabins border the wild and scenic South Fork of The Merced River, the Wawona Swinging Bridge and Chilnualna Falls (the second highest vertical drop waterfall in Yosemite). Many of our homes are pet-friendly, making it possible to bring the whole family for your winter retreat. You can also look for cabins that feature spa tubs, private decks, and BBQ’s for a true home away from home experience.
Yosemite with a Furry Friend
Story, text & photo credit Claire F. Meyler, yosemiteconservancy.org
When we visited Yosemite for my husband’s 30th birthday, we wanted to bring the whole family – and that meant our pup, Samurai. With a few rare exceptions (noted below), Dogs are only allowed on paved trails and developed areas, to ensure the safety of Yosemite’s wildlife. But don’t let that stop you from bringing your furry friend! Yosemite Valley is a lovely place to explore with a dog in tow.
We enjoyed a leisurely walk along the Valley Loop Trail, a paved path that includes boardwalks over fragile meadows and lovely views of many Yosemite icons: Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, El Capitan and other granite giants. The access path to Lower Yosemite Falls is also paved, with picnic areas and benches. For the rare unpaved treat, bring your leashed dog to the Wawona Meadow Loop, an easy 3.5 mile hike that begins at the Wawona Hotel. Visit in winter for beautiful snowy vistas, or come in spring for colorful wildflowers.
Other hidden dog-friendly paths include; Chowchilla Mountain Road; Wawona’s Four Mile and Eleven Mile Fire Roads; Carlon Road from the trailhead to Hodgdon Meadow; and on the Old Big Oak Flat Road from Hodgdon Meadow to Tuolumne Grove parking lot. For breathtaking views of the valley, drive to paved overlooks at Tunnel View or bring a picnic to Olmsted Point.
We chose to camp in the valley, but plenty of local hotels just outside Yosemite allow dogs for a small fee. Be sure to ask ahead when you make your reservations. Check out all the pet guidelines to make sure you have a safe and happy trip – and remember to store your dog food in the bear-safe food lockers!
Tips for the Trip
Make sure you pack enough water and snacks for yourself and your dog – you will both need extra water in the high elevation. Pack a 6-foot stationary leash, portable bowl, and enough waste bags to clean up after your pooch. To stay safe, never leave a dog unattended in a campsite or car. If you want to explore unpaved trails on your own, kennel services are offered in Yosemite, and at most pet-friendly hotels. Enjoy!
Wawona is blooming! Here are a few photos taken this morning on the way into Yosemite National Park.If you have photos you would like to share on our ‘Wawona In Bloom’ slideshow you can submit them using the form below. Be sure to bookmark this page to see what’s blooming! Your photo may also be featured on our Facebook page so be sure to ‘like’ us by clicking the Facebook icon on the top right of your screen.
Story by Ralph Harder of Cabin 3A
From the Recollections of Life and Events in Wawona series
Although I am an “Original 73”, I was not part of the core group that formed the Corporation. You, hopefully will hear/have heard from Bob Dunn, Elmer Green, and others still living about that. In fact, for the prior two years I was renting my cabin through the Mays, having become fed up with Dick and Wanda Moore. It is a shame that we have no complete history of the founding of WPMI (Wawona Property Management Incorporated), let alone the history of The Moore’s Redwoods, which preceded it. I’ll provide what I can.
Our logo states: CIRCA 1949. I can’t vouch for that but I know that in the 1950’s there were several cabins surrounding River Road. The Mays had a cafe and gas station (where the Honeymoon Cabin is now), plus their cabins. I visited Wawona twice while working summers for Yosemite Park & Curry Company in the Valley, in the 50’s. Richard (RD) Moore and his wife Jewett ran The Moore’s Redwoods. RD had a contractor’s and a broker’s license. He sold the lots and built the cabins –solid redwood logs—with the help of his son, Jerry. Jewett handled the rental business. In the 50’s and 60’s, allegedly, they were building 20 homes a year and renting most of them out for the owners. The lumber yard and hardware store was where the library is today.
After staying twice in Redwoods cabins, I bought a lot (from RD) in 1968 and started construction (by RD) that year—the second year for frame rather than log construction. All went well until late 70’s (I don’t have the date), when the Moores decided it was time to retire. I am sorry to say, that I was approached by RD, asking me to get a group together to buy him out. He may have approached others. He may have been asking $250,000. I tried several months, unsuccessfully, to interest enough owners to make the purchase. So then our troubles began. He sold his holdings to the National Park Service and took a lease-back. He turned the business over to his other son and daughter-in-law, Dick (Jr.) and Wanda Moore. We soon knew we were in trouble when we learned that Dick Jr.had been working for a bank in Fresno that fired him because of suspected embezzlement. There are many stories of poor management, culminated by theft of our deposits. I became fed up (not even knowing about the theft) and cashed out about two years before the end of “The Moores”. The Mays were easy to work with but weren’t used to working with anything “as big” as my 1500 Sq. ft. 4 bedroom cabin. I was happy to go to WPMI when it was formed.
There is more history that needs to be told…
My name is Carl and I have worked for The Redwoods In Yosemite for a little over two years now. In all that time, for some reason or another, I was never able to find the time to actually explore some of the amazing spots right here in our own backyard until recently.
These spots are never the same as the seasons change, but if you’ve visited us before then you know where they are. If you haven’t visited then I will discontinue using words to define what the following images describe so beautifully about how lucky I felt to capture them.
Most people who have had the opportunity to venture through Yosemite National Park, have driven through the famous and historical Wawona Tunnel. It is part of three main roads in Yosemite Valley, transporting you down to Tunnel View and Yosemite Valley, or up to Wawona and Mariposa Grove on California State Route 41, towards on the south entrance. There isn’t anything more spectacular than driving through Wawona Tunnel to reach one of the most stunning views in the park. The spectacular Tunnel View looks eastward into Yosemite Valley, including the Half Dome, El Capitan and Bridalveil Fall. Here are other great facts about the tunnel:
Construction of the tunnel began in 1930, and was dedicated in 1933. And everyone who worked on its construction survived.
It cost $850,000 to construct at the time, equivalent to a cost of 12.5 million today.
The tunnel was blasted through solid granite bedrock on the mountainside, requiring 275 tons of blasting power.
It is the longest highway tunnel in California at 4,233 feet (1,290 m) long, or 0.8 miles long, and was once the largest tunnel for vehicles in the west.
Although not a popular spot, people like and are able to rock climb the tunnel.
Looking for a cabin near this engineering marvel?
Our stunning Redwoods In Yosemite cabins are located in Wawona, at the Southern entrance of Yosemite, and just a few miles from the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. Relaxing and private, these fully equipped vacation cabins border the wild and scenic South Fork of The Merced River, the Wawona swinging bridge and Chilnualna Falls (the second highest vertical drop waterfalls in Yosemite)! Our Event Center includes full use of the Fireside Room and adjacent deck, with audio and visual equipment and a catering kitchen. Many of our cabins are pet-friendly, some feature spa tubs, and all have private decks with BBQ’s and upgraded linens for that, “Home Away from Home” experience. Relax, explore, and escape in Yosemite!