12 Things to Do in Yosemite in Winter

From stargazing and hot stone massages to snowshoe hikes and holiday celebrations, there is an array of things to do in Yosemite in winter – especially when visiting Rush Creek Lodge. Along with daily activities that change seasonally, the winter schedule at Rush Creek is packed full of mountain fun and snowy scenes. 

Stargazing in Yosemite National Park at Rush Creek Lodge.


Far from light pollution, the dark skies surrounding Rush Creek Lodge are perfect for stargazing. After watching a beautiful Yosemite sunset, bundle up and embark on a stargazing tour with the lodge’s expert Star Guides, where you’ll see the cosmos through a digital telescope with clarity like never before. Star Guides will direct you around the night sky, pointing out constellations, star clusters, and other beautiful features of the Milky Way.

Wonders of Yosemite Hike & Tour

This full day hike is a great way to spend a winter day in Yosemite. The Wonders of Yosemite trip begins with a driving tour through Yosemite Valley, showcasing beautiful snowy views of the landscape as you approach the giant sequoia groves. The grove portion of the hike is done on snowshoes during the winter, winding 3 miles total through the giant sequoias that represent Yosemite’s natural history. 

Learn more about Rush Creek’s guided Yosemite tours.

Father & Daughter enjoying s'mores at Rush Creek Lodge.

S’mores at the Lodge

Join other Rush Creek Lodge guests nightly around the cozy fire pit for s’mores! Enjoy the warmth of a well-maintained campfire and indulge in the most classic outdoor snack, a delicious melty s’more. Meet your fellow guests, warm up by the fire, and head off to bed after your mountain dessert. 

Wood Ornaments

Rush Creek Lodge offers an impressive variety of activities for guests, including the chance to decorate your own wooden ornament. Paint your ornament and take it home to hang on your Christmas tree as a reminder of your awesome Yosemite adventure! 

Happy Snowshoeing the Merced Grove of Giant Sequoias in Yosemite National Park.

Giant Sequoia Snowshoe

The Giant Sequoia Snowshoe is a 3-mile hike, showcasing the beautiful giant sequoias. The largest living species on earth, seeing these gorgeous trees flanked by bright white snow is an experience you just can’t miss in Yosemite. This half-day excursion requires beginner to intermediate effort. 

Rim of the Valley Snowshoe Adventure

Venture out to one of the best overlooks in all of Yosemite with Rush Creek Lodge’s Rim of the Valley Snowshoe Adventure. You’ll snowshoe up and down forested ridges to reach Dewey Point, an idyllic outlook that provides breathtaking views of Yosemite Valley’s southern rim, El Capitan, Three Brothers, and other famous Yosemite landmarks. 

Snow swimming in the heated pool at Rush Creek Lodge Yosemite.


Heated Saltwater Pools

The pool at Rush Creek Lodge is heated and open year-round, weather permitting, as are both of the large hot tubs. Relax away tired muscles from your day of Yosemite adventuring, or turn your attention upward for sublime stargazing. 

Range of Light Yosemite Valley Tour

See Yosemite from an insider’s perspective on a driving tour of Yosemite Valley’s most famous wonders and hidden secrets. Perfect for the winter with short walks on flat, easy-to-navigate terrain, the Range of Light Yosemite Valley Tour features opportunities to take in the views from vista overlooks, bright snow and ice formations, and other classic Yosemite winter sights, supplemented by your guide with information about the Park and its natural history, wildlife, and more.  

Yosemite Valley snowfall.

Yosemite Valley Explorer Snowshoe

Don your snowshoes and follow one of Rush Creek’s expert guides through Yosemite’s hidden trails on the Yosemite Valley Explorer Snowshoe, one of the best things to do in Yosemite in winter. Your guide will take care of the driving so you can enjoy the views, and provide interesting facts about the area’s hidden wonders once you’re on foot and ready to explore 4.5 miles surrounding Yosemite’s most famous icons. 

Craft Classes at Rush Creek Lodge

Ready for some time away from the chill? Create a beautiful keepsake of your winter Yosemite trip in a gemstone bracelet class, stitch beaded earring class, or basket weaving class taught by traveling art educator and artisan Willow Polson. Class fees include all the materials you need to create your own masterpiece.

Family enjoying Christmas in Yosemite at Rush Creek Lodge. 

Christmas Activities at Rush Creek Lodge

December 22 – 28, 2023

If you’re joining us for the holiday season, we’re excited to provide you with traditional holiday celebrations in ways you’ve never experienced before. From live music and visits with Santa to our tree lighting and special Christmas menu, you’re in for an unforgettable Yosemite Christmas experience

New Year’s Eve Activities at Rush Creek Lodge

December 29, 2023 – January 2, 2024

Spend your New Year’s Eve at Rush Creek Lodge! Treat yourself to a delicious dinner by Executive Chef Lemens, a sparkling champagne toast, and late-night fun in the Tavern to ring in the new year right.  

Frequently Asked Questions about Yosemite in Winter

Deciding whether to take on Yosemite in the winter brings up a host of questions. Let the experts at Rush Creek Lodge answer your most frequently asked questions about winter in Yosemite! 

Is Yosemite worth visiting in winter?

Of course! Yosemite is worth visiting anytime, including the winter. You can take a snowshoe hike to access less-traveled parts of the park and see breathtaking views of the snow-covered landscapes, experience festive mountain holiday celebrations, stargaze from your private balcony at Rush Creek Lodge, and more. 

What not to miss in Yosemite in winter?

Christmas Week at Rush Creek Lodge is a can’t miss Yosemite winter event. In addition to unforgettable views of Yosemite’s iconic landmarks blanketed in snow, winter in Yosemite brings magical mountain experiences like campfire s’mores, stargazing, snowshoeing, and chef-curated dining. 

What to do in Yosemite when it snows?

There are plenty of fun things to do in Yosemite when it snows. Embark on a snowshoe hike guided by one of our expert naturalist guides and see the Park’s most famous landmarks in their wintery beauty, gather around the fireplace with a classic board game in your Yosemite villa, or even visit our Yosemite spa for a dip in the Warm Waterfall Coves to contrast with the cold outdoors. 

At Rush Creek Lodge, you’re just minutes from the best things to do in Yosemite in the winter. From expert-led snowshoe hikes to relaxing soaks in our heated granite waterfall mineral hot tubs, an amazing Yosemite winter experience is at your fingertips when you choose Rush Creek Lodge.